My Top 5 Favorite YA Authors: #3 Sarah Dessen
“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.”
Sarah Dessen books have monopolized quite a large chunk of my high school summers and perhaps that is why I always associate long, warm, lazy days with them. She has this way of capturing the quintessential balance between lightheartedness and teen angst. She takes all the problems young girls face (the doubts, the insecurities, the image issues, the list goes on!), takes all of the high school drama and rather than play on the clichés, she makes it fresh, relatable, and believable. Dessen truly shines in writing books with natural, raw emotion that makes you empathize with her characters. And the most important thing is that Dessen populate her books with fantastic characters that are always likeable. Each of her heroines is very distinct. It never feels like she uses the same cookie cutter stand in for her protagonists. Each girl has their own personality, their own passions, struggles, and it’s all utterly realistic. Not once have I read a Sarah Dessen book where I felt the heroine’s problems or motivations felt contrived. Her supporting characters are quirky, flawed, and marvelous. They might not have as much screen time the protagonist, but they never feel two-dimensional. And let’s not forget the boys. Dessen’s boys are SWOON-WORTHY. They can be sensitive, they can be brash, they are adorable, sexy, funny, and clever. Basically, these are the guys that made the teen boys around me during high school seem like utter swine. In sum, Dessen’s books are funny, smart, moving, heart wrenching, uplifting, inspiring, emotional, and beautiful.