A big congrats to Sarah for her becoming number one on the New York Times Bestseller List with Along for the Ride.
Read Sarah’s reaction here.
The fantastically awesome Khy from the YA review blog, Frenetic Reader, videotaped some of the signing in LA. She also managed to do something truly magical for me and I have to admit to having watched it 4 times. If this blog makes Sarah feel like the ultimate narcissist, then my actions make me the uber-narcissist.
Enjoy Sarah reading of some of the book plus her answers to some audience questions.
So what are you waiting for? Go and get yourself a copy before I send the Dessen Book Cops after you.
Seriously though, Along for the Ride is available for the masses today in all fabulous book stores! Make sure you get your hands on it and revel in the adventures of Auden and her glorious (but growth inspiring) summer in Colby. (Yes, that would be Sarah’s second favourite setting!)
I was lucky enough to receive a review copy a few weeks back and posted a review over at my book review blog, Persnickety Snark if you are interested.
I would like for this blog to be a place where Sarah can read people’s thoughts on Auden’s summer. So if you’d like to write an open letter to Sarah, a list of things you loved, a poem in honour of a character or a piece of fanart/vlog etc then please send them into me at sddiarist AT gmail DOT com. Sarah drops by every now and then to see what’s happening and I would love to continue the community feel of this blog.
My Just Listen thoughts will continue from next week. Along for the Ride chapter posts will continue after that. Thanks for continuing to drop by the blog. You are all lovely!
The Sarah Dessen Birthday Celebration finished up over a week ago but this was a late submission that was too good not to post. Since this is the release day of Along for the Ride, I thought it was very appropriate to hear straight from the horse’s mouth (or in this case teen’s typing fingertips) what is so special about Sarah Dessen’s writing.
Thank you to Emily for writing this in such a chaotic and sad time for her. My best wishes to her and her family.
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Sarah Dessen’s magic first found its way to me on a weekend shopping trip to the mall. I was wandering around the book store, trying to find something—“anything, Emily”—because my family was starting to get impatient. I hadn’t gotten lost in a good book for a while, and I didn’t want to rush my choice because I really wanted this one to be a good one.
Just Listen was the perfect find. I’ll admit it was the cover that first caught my attention, (which is ironic considering one of its many themes is the whole “not judging a book by its cover” thing) but the title held it, the back of the book pulled me closer and that short blurb at the beginning, my first real taste of Sarah’s words were what really drew me in and decided it. I had to read this book.
While I was reading, I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was that had captured me. It could have been Annabel’s soft voice with its beautiful lack of confidence or the rhythm of the story and the way it moved so fluently until it seemed as if I was living it myself. Maybe it was the amazing way this Sarah Dessen had of connecting every tiny detail so her story all balanced and laced back to its center. It could have been Owen who I loved from his first moment on the page or the all-you-can-eat bacon or maybe the music. In truth, it was all of this which I loved individually and altogether and other things that completed it in a way I can only hope to one day accomplish.
Either way, I knew I loved it by the way I never wanted to put it down, and yet I always did just so that I could make it last a little longer.
It was when I was reading it for the second time, though, out loud to my sister during a week long power outage on some of the hottest days of June that I realized one of Sarah Dessen’s most powerful ability: she has an undeniable talent at connecting every one of her readers in some way to each of her stories.
“You know what, Emily?” My sister said once during that week. “Annabel reminds me of you. You are just like her.” And I realized it was true. From her hesitant tendencies to her confrontational phobia, the girl was a fictional me. Even her relationship with her two sisters bore a resemblance to mine and it hit me why the book had touched me on such a deep level. Annabel’s flaws and struggles were the same ones I found myself facing.
So of course, after a practically life changing reading experience, I sought out more. I came to learn that a movie I’d been particularly fond of, “How to Deal” was based off two of this woman’s books, one of which (That Summer) I even owned and had yet to get around to reading.
I also discovered that Just Listen wasn’t just one of those one hit wonders you sometimes see with authors, but that every one of her published pieces had all the amazing qualities I’d appreciated of my first experience with her work. Sarah Dessen was consistently remarkable from her realistic characters that either jumped right out of the pages or pulled you down into them and their emotional stories that sucked you in. They all had that balance, that center which everything led back too and they were so full of different ideas, pains and lessons, it’s impossible to not find something you could link back to yourself. Love, loss, truth, family, confidence and friendship. It’s like she knows the secrets of the world, and shares a little bit of her wisdom with her readers with every book.
It’s all of this which I’ve come to admire and love about her art and one day wish I can pull off in my own writing. I know that if I ever get published in the future, it’ll be because of everything I’ve learned from watching this exceptional author and I will always appreciate her for that.
Can I just say that this is my favourite Sarah Dessen cover (US, UK or Australian) that I have seen.
“I am going to have to start over…God, I’m going to have to date again.”
Yes Morgan, that is truly mortifying. But then again, your chances of finding a worse guy aren’t likely.
The revelation that Isabel was the overweight girl with the frog necklace isn’t a shocker. I think enough clues were laid. Through Isabel’s own difficult high school years, she was able to reach Colie in a way many others could not.
I love that this book finishes with the four women beneath a moon. It seems fitting somehow. Moving, true and strong.
A Note from Adele
I haven’t received a copy of Along for the Ride yet (don’t ask me why, I can’t answer that) so I will be starting with Just Listen from tomorrow.
Reminder that Sarah-land (an online SD community created by Penguin) is waiting for you to join.
I am sorry about The Truth About Forever episode that is a big, fat fail. I have no idea what the problem is so I might have to re-record. I will try and get on top of some podcasting by the weekend! Thanks for sticking with me.
Persnickety Snark is my YA blog that reviews everything and I would love it if you’d stop by there. Also The Read Carpet podcast is 2 (soon to be 3) episodes strong. Please consider subscribing through iTunes. Cheers.
Sarah has had this video up on youtube for a couple of days now. I give her major props, reading to yourself on camera is tough. It’s bad enough when I catch myself in the mirror while recording the podcast. Eeeeek.
I want this book so bad.
I was just cruising the internet when this jumped out at me – the summary!
When Auden decides to spend the summer before college with her father and stepmother in a small beach town, she finds herself freed to discover a new world of friendship with other girls, as well as an unexpected romance with Eli, a rising star on the BMX circuit and a fellow insomniac, who joins her in exploring the late night world of the small town. As Auden struggles to turn from the path her mother has set for her and Eli tries to come to terms with the death of a friend for which he holds himself responsible, the two break out of their mutual self-imposed isolation and find one another.
I am intrigued. I love Eli as the love interest’s name as it’s quite different than all the others. BMX? Love it, if you can ever be bothered try and find some video of Nicole Kidman in an Australian, 80s kid’s movie- BX Bandits. My fascination started there.
Setting? A small beach town. Do we think this might be Colby? Location of Keeping the Moon and roundabout location of the Queen’s beach house? Or is it a new location?
I am sooooooo excited.
I was reading Sarah’s blog entry for today and I got really excited. Like totally out of my skin excited about what Penguin is doing for the launch of Along for the Ride next year. I am into all things online, if there is a community, wiki, blog or podcast I am totally there. It’s my new passion.
So straight from the author’s mouth-
In other news, I promised I would deliver news about Along For the Ride as I got it, and I try to keep my promises. So you are all (en masse) the first to know that my supercool publisher, Penguin Books For Young Readers, is going to create an entire online community based on the new book and my backlist. It’s still in the VERY early planning stages, but the idea is that you could go there to find stuff about the novels, message boards, maybe even an interactive map of all the places mentioned in the Lakeview Universe. When I was in New York last month, they were even talking about a wiki-style thing built around all the places, names and people that appear. As I said, it’s still in the early stages: in fact, they’re still coming up with a name for it. The Sarah Dessen Sisterhood was thrown out, but I think it would just make everyone think of pants. The Sarah Dessen Sorority, another suggestion, didn’t work either. I’m supposed to be brainstorming name ideas, but as I am still suffering from serious mom brain (15 months in!) it’s harder than I’d like. So if any of you have any brilliant suggestions, please pass them along and I will get them to the folks in the know over at Penguin. Link.
In the spirit of reading and my love of words I thought we could brainstorm some names for Sarah. I personally hit up thesaurus.com, one of my favourite online haunts. Words are fun people! I am assuming the title requires Sarah’s name so here are my ideas (good and bad):
Sodality meaning ‘fellowship, comradeship, an association or society.”
What are your suggestions?