Top Ten Things I Love About… Sarah Dessen

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

Sarah Dessen books always remind me of the life changing potential of summer. Colie learns to see herself as greater than the identity her bullies have assigned her. Auden gets to be something other than lonely. Macy emerges from her grief-cave and falls in love with a sexy artist.

These book covers. They are just so pretty!


The places! The Last Chance Cafe, the pizza parlor, the 24 hour laundrette, WRUS Community radio station! These are the places where communities form. I am always trying to wish them into existence.

The interconnectivity of her universes! While all of her novels are standalones, Sarah inserts scenes with characters from previous books appearing in passing. It always makes me so happy to see her characters in a moment after the novel dedicated to them ended. Like when Annabel and Owen from Just Listen end up having a drink with Remy and Dexter from This Lullaby.

The boys. Obviously. I have fallen in love with every. Single. One.

The families. Family is a vital aspect of all of Sarah Dessen’s work. They are the comforters and the torturers of her protagonists. I have fallen in love with difficult siblings (Whitney!) and wanted to punch parents (Auden’s dad! I hated him so much I regularly had to stop reading and go and rant to whoever was nearest). Families in Sarah Dessen’s work are authentic. I adore reading them.

The idea that music sounds better inside a car wash. To this day I have never tried it, but when I own a car I like to think that cranking my stereo, easing back my seat and rolling into the car wash is the first thing I’m going to do.

Female coming of age stories. So, I just had the slightly horrifying realisation that my obsession with Sarah Dessen started getting on for ten years ago.  I’M OLD. Anyway, before Sarah, stories of girls overcoming difficulties, whether those were related to family or school that I could relate to, weren’t something I had much of. Seeing tricky family situations and friendships that I could actually recognise – and seeing the characters I related to so deeply overcome them, was (and honestly, continues to be) important to me.


The friendships. In Sarah Dessen’s world friendship means growing together. It means pulling each other out of the darkness, and when that’s not possible, squinting at the map together. Sarah Dessen never wrote a character I wasn’t desperate to be friends with. These books are BEAUTIFUL, guys!!!!

Sarah herself. Sarah Dessen has always been totally honest about the hardships she faces when writing. She has talked openly about having to start books over, and the tears she has shed over plots that just weren’t coming together the way she needed them to. Just Listen, one of my favourite books of hers and of books in general, apparently nearly killed her. As someone who is always struggling to write with the insight and beauty Sarah freaking OOZES, it comforts me to know that it doesn’t come easy.


Author: Lydia Tewkesbury

27. Loves a good story.

7 thoughts on “Top Ten Things I Love About… Sarah Dessen”

  1. Our TTTs are twins! I’m totally with you on the car wash thing (though I’ve never tried it either). And I also know what you mean about feeling old! This past year I reread This Lullaby and I realized that I’m older than Remy! I think I’m even older than Chris! Anyway, that made me feel super old since Remy seemed like this older, more mature girl to me the first time I read it and Chris was like WAY old.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. YES TO SARAH DESSEN! I also love that her stories are interconnected — it’s a bit of a treasure hunt for me each time I read any of her books to see if I recognise characters from other books. I’ve also read Sarah’s blog and I love how honest she is about the writing process, just like you said. ❤


  3. Pingback: June Wrap-Up

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