The Summer of Sarah Dessen Challenge

At this point I’ve already gotten some of my first Sarah Dessen books and summer has already started, but I decided to make my quest to read all or most of her books this summer an official challenge, at least one for me anyway, complete with a nifty little banner!


Here are all of her published books, including the recently released The Moon and More:

9780142401729_ThatSummer_CV.indd 9780142401774_SomeoneLikeY_CV.indd 9780142401767_KeepingTheMo_CV.indd 9780142401750_Dreamland_CV.indd 9780142501559_ThisLullaby_CV.indd 9780142406250_TruthAboutFo_CV.indd JustListen LockandKey 9780142415566_AlongForTheR_CV.indd WhatHappenedtoGoodbye TheMoonandMore

At this point, I’ve already read three of her books…

9780142406250_TruthAboutFo_CV.indd LockandKey 9780142401767_KeepingTheMo_CV.indd

…and, so far, my opinion of Sarah Dessen and her books has been quite good (4.5 stars, 4.5 stars, and 4 stars respectively).

After enjoying my first three books from her so much, I’m not quite sure why I waited so long to read her books. When I was in middle school, I think I remember seeing some other girls read Sarah Dessen books and I definitely remembering seeing them at the library, but I just wasn’t interested in even picking them up to see if they sounded any good. I think this is mainly because I just recently became more of a contemporary reader in the past couple of years. My bookshelf in my room probably has more paranormal/fantasy books right now, but my number of contemporary books is definitely getting bigger and the number of contemporary reviews on this site is inching its way closer to the number of paranormal reviews.

I’m not quite sure why I like her books so much so far. Two of the books I’ve read are quite summer-y, thanks to their setting, of course, but even Lock and Key doesn’t seem that different. They all seem to have the same basic formula so far – girl with family issues, gets an interesting job (catering gig, jewelry stand, and diner), meets a group of interesting secondary characters, and meets and falls for a guy. I don’t know if the rest of her books are like this, but I kind of figure they are.

So, why do I enjoy them so much if they’re so similar? Simple: because they don’t seem quite as similar when I read them.

Macy seems different from Ruby who seems different from Colie. Wes seems different from Nate who seems different from Norman. Catering seems different from jewelry stands which seems different from working at a diner. The formula is basically the same, especially the idea of screwed up families (although so far they’ve differed, from dead father to missing mother to single mother away in Europe on a fitness tour), but the characters and the settings and the adventures seem different. I can tell that they come from the same person, but the stories are different enought that they interest me no matter how many similarities they have.

I really hope my good experience with Sarah Dessen lasts with the remainin eight books she has out. Even if they don’t, I’m sure I’ll find at least a few other gems from her that I’ll want to add to my growing collection of stand-alone, contemporary books. Hopefully, by the end of Summer 2013, I’ll have read all of her published books. Either way, expect a recap post hopefully singing her praises come August or September.

And to all other Sarah Dessen newbies also finally reading her this summer, good luck and great reading!

EDIT: So, how did I do? Check out this end-of-summer recap to see if I read all of Sarah Dessen’s books and what I thought of them!


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