The first time I read a book by Sarah Dessen, I was in the 5th or 6th grade. I'm not sure which grade exactly, just the school I was at and thus the grades I was in while I attended there. I remeber looking through the Young Adult section for a book I thought sounded interesting. As luck would have it I happend to pick up the book with the following cover:
A few years later, I picked up another book at a different place, a different school. A few chapters in, I suddenly realized that the story sounded a bit familiar. Turns out, it was the same book I had read a few years prior.Instead of tossing it aside, like I assume most people would, I finshed reading the book again.After reading That Summer for the second time I knew I had to read more of Dessen's books.
As everyone learns by reading more than one of her books, I found it unique that although none of the main characters had been explicitly repeated in the next or previous book, the world that they lived in contained every place, person, and thing that had been in other books whether or not that were specifically mentioned. The universe of Sarah Dessen's books, Sarahland, has always been unique.
One of the things I love most about her books, as a person who does not have a common name (although it seems to be coming more common) it was nice to see that the characters in her book did not have "plain jane" names. They had names like Remy, Auden, Haven, Annabel and so on. I mean even the guys had not so common names.The thing I liked most though is that they have real issues, Things that you wouldn't think would happen but happen more than you think.The books I like the most are Just Listen and What Happened to Goodbye.I identified with Annabel because she had a secret she felt she could not tell anyone for fear of being judged and not believed. Then Owen comes along and gives her a sense of confidence and strength by showing her the power of music. To say the least the power of music has been therapuetic and essential to my daily functioning and coping of life's events.
I identified with McLean because she went to so many schools and had to start over each time which is not as easy as its looks.Trust me, I went to at least 12 different schools since I started pre-k until I graduated high school. There are many reasons why I moved around a lot, but still it happened. I love how finally she can not get away from who she is and has to accept that she is who she is and that she learns to love the final place she lives in.
Over the years since the first time I read That Summer, I have managed to acquire all of her books although they aren't all the same cover series, unfortunately. Its nice to get excited about her having new books come out though.