We recently-ish did a post about a Top 100 YA fiction list, in which Sarah Dessen featured strongly. So what about Sarah Dessen then? Who is she and why is she so popular? Here’s a very brief summary.
Sarah Dessen is the writer of (currently) nine novels for young adults, all of them stand-alone (which is unusual, since it seems everyone thinks you have to write series to be popular). We have them all! She studied creative writing in college (lucky her) and her first book, That Summer, was completed while she was waitressing (good job for writers: write during the day, wait at night).
Sarah Dessen fans (wittily called dessenites) love her for her realism, her focus on interpersonal relationships (the catch-all subject for fiction), and, yes, her books are a little bit romantic. Of Just Listen, possibly her most critically well received novel, one reviewer wrote, “Annabel and Owen’s finely limned connection alone gives this novel staying power”.
If you’re wanting to make a serious study of Sarah Dessen’s works then the place to go is the Literature Resource Centre. This is one of the online databases you can get at through MyGateway.info. The Literature Resource Centre is a fantastic resource: there are reviews (separated into reviews and more highbrow literary criticism), biographical articles and interviews, plus much more. Great for your NCEA reading log.