Everyone has their suggestions for summer reading, but for my money, you can’t do much better than a Sarah Dessen novel. Most of her books are set during the summer, several of them in beach towns. (Basically, if you can’t actually escape to the beach for the summer, you might as well read about it.) But that doesn’t mean that her books are light, fluffy reading. Sure, there’s often fun and romance, but Dessen balances that out with family drama, struggles with friends, grief, and insecurity–everything that touches real teens.
Last night, I had the opportunity to see Sarah Dessen read at the Morse Institute Library, hosted by Wellesley Books, which always has fantastic children’s/YA author events. Dessen read a little from her latest book, The Moon and More, answered some excellent audience questions (seriously, local readers, way to bring your best Q to the Q&A), and did a trivia contest with t-shirt prizes (way to know your Dessen, guys).
A few other fun points:
- In talking about a favorite writing experience, Dessen mentioned that she feels like she can write her best when no one knows she writing. I can relate–outside of my critique group, I don’t talk a lot about the details of a particular project while I’m working on it.
- One audience member asked Dessen what YA novel she wishes had been published when she was a teen. Dessen went with Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (such a powerful book).
- Dessen liked my dress and “tar heel blue” nails.
- At the bookstore table, you could pick up a CBY stickers to celebrate fictional beach town Colby. What a fun idea!
- I was sitting next to one woman, who mentioned she was there to get a book signed for her daughter, who’d been reading Sarah Dessen’s books for years and was now 22. Love hearing about teens who grow up with these books.
- I started to read The Moon and More in line, and actually gasped when I got to one part early on in the book. Totally hooked!
Thanks to Sarah Dessen for sharing her work with us, and thanks to Wellesley Books and the Morse Institute Library for hosting such a great event!