I was so excited when Adele asked me to participate in the Sarah Dessen celebration… (even though it took me a year to reply to her email and send her my post… because I am the worst person to respond timely to an email! sorry!) but I’m super excited to be participating because I love Sarah Dessen!
Sarah was one of the first “teen issue” YA author, that I’d ever read. Sure I’d read some fantasy YA authors, but Sarah was the first author I took a chance on to read something “real” and then after that it was an addiction. Does that woman not have a way with words! Needless to say Sarah is one of the big reasons that I enjoy reading YA.
Back in January, I did a post about some of the books that have had an effect on me as a reader. Books that have made me feel better as a person, books that have reminded me what’s important in life. My post was entitled The Truth About Me: Why I read YA. The Truth About Me… The Truth About Forever… could there be a connection! Anyway, I used Sarah’s novel Dreamland as an example of how books can help heal, or ultimately how books helped me heal. Here’s the excerpt from that post:
“Books can help heal. Dreamland by Sarah Dessen was a book I wish I didn’t relate to. I had a crush on, we’ll call him Dick, since the eighth grade. We sort of ran around in the same social circle, but I never saw him out of school, because I was very antisocial, this is where the shyness comes into play. Lucky me, our sophomore year, Dick and I became an item. It wasn’t bad at first. Actually it was a lot of fun. I had my first kiss among other things, but when drugs came into the picture our Junior year, I saw Dick gradually start to change. He wouldn’t call for months, and I wouldn’t see him except briefly at school. Unless of course, I wore something he thought was inappropriate or I said something that he didn’t approve of, then he’d be sure to find me. It’s easy to judge someone, and say why didn’t you just break up with him, but I was afraid. Our senior year is when everything went down. We had the same guidance counselor, I happened to help out in the office in my study hall, because I went to church with the office secretary. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who noticed a change in Dick, and she (our guidance counselor) was worried about me. I went shopping with some friends one weekend, Dicks cousins actually. But one of the friends (cousins) was a guy and on Monday my friend (Dick’s cousin) got his nose broken by Dick. That’s when everyone put two and two together and I got out. I have the best parents in the world, so don’t think they didn’t care enough to talk to me and ask me about my life. It’s not hard to hide things when you want to, and it’s easy to act like everything is okay. But ultimately, to look on the bright side of things, I think that made me a stronger person today.”
If you’ve ever read Dreamland, or if you haven’t it’s about an abusive relationship in high school and it also deals with drugs. Although my story had a different ending, the similarities were scary. I understood exactly what Caitlin was going through and how she felt. It was the “that could have been me” that really made an impact. It’s a story I’ll never forget, and not only because I’ve lived it. So, thank you Sarah for helping me heal.
I can’t say enough good things about her as an author. I always recommend Sarah’s books and she has secured a position in my all time favorite authors list. She rocks my socks off!
Here is the link to my Why I read YA post… if you want to link it.. you don’t have to. http://www.thestorysiren.com/2009/01/truth-about-me-why-i-read-ya.html
Kristi is one of my favourite people that I have met in the blogosphere this year. If you’d like to check our more of her great reviews, interviews and issue posts then check it out here.
Tomorrow – Emily Gale, debut YA author who’s novel is forthcoming from Chicken House.