Tag Archives: Sarah Dessen

Thanks, Mom!

Pippin and book stack!

Just wanted to share a bit of my life with everyone!

I moved out of my parents’ house last January, and it was originally to a small apartment in Florida. I drove from California to Orlando in a Subaru, so naturally I couldn’t take everything I owned with me. Now I’m in a larger house in Atlanta, and my mom has slowly started sending me my things.

She managed to fit all those books into that small box! (My corgi, Pippin, is included for size reference.)

I’ve already read all of them, but if you’re interested in one but unsure and would like me to review it, let me know in the comments!

Here’s a list of the books featured (excluding the two Sailor Moon manga, because duh).

  • The Silmarillion – J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Uglies – Scott Westerfeld
  • Pretties – Scott Westerfeld
  • Specials – Scott Westerfeld
  • Extras – Scott Westerfeld
  • Maybe A Miracle – Brian Strause
  • Someone Like You – Sarah Dessen
  • That Summer – Sarah Dessen
  • White Oleander – Janet Fitch
  • Hard Love – Ellen Wittlinger
  • Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
  • Shay’s Story – Scott Westerfeld
  • Along For the Ride – Sarah Dessen
  • Dreamland – Sarah Dessen
  • The Truth About Forever – Sarah Dessen
  • Deadline – Chris Crutcher (reviewed!)
  • The Last Days – Scott Westerfeld
  • Just Listen – Sarah Dessen
  • Lock and Key – Sarah Dessen

I didn’t even realize it until I’d written it all out, but the stack is mostly Scott Westerfeld and Sarah Dessen. If you’ve never read any of their work, I highly recommend both of them!

Westerfeld’s Uglies series is one I was lucky enough to stumble upon it when they first came out. These books are hailed as paving the way for the entire dystopian genre! (Well, the modern one anyway– of course you have your classics like 1984 and Brave New World.) I think they’ve had a few cover redesigns since then, so don’t be surprised if your copies don’t have strange eyeballs on the spine! Specials is my personal favorite. I loved the idea of the strength and ferocity they were given. I wish I could have that.

Dessen’s novels are generally centered around romance and high school, but they aren’t your traditional love stories, and I think that’s the main reason I loved them (and continue to love them well into my 20s). Each one features a strong female character, who is strong not because she’s Macho Woman but simply for being female and all that it implies. They live, they learn, and they love, sometimes fiercely and sometimes to a fault. My personal favorite is This Lullaby (which is one of the few not in the stack because I DID bring it with me when I first left home), but that’s because I identify very strongly with the main character. We share very different upbringings, but very similar personalities. I encourage you to pick up some of her books and see which one resonates with you!

In other worldly news, I finished Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl a few days ago. I’ve been flat on the couch with a tension headache for a week, but I look forward to getting that review up for you soon!

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Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Title: The Moon and More
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: YA Fiction
ISBN: 0-67-078560-1
Published: 2013, Viking Juvenile

TheMoonAndMore_082312_1

Main Characters: Emaline, Theo, Benji, Luke

Synopsis: It’s the last summer before everything changes, and the change has already started. Emaline and her family run a realty business in Colby, renting out fantastic beach homes to rich families seeking the vacation of their dreams. Theo is among them, and from the moment they meet, everything changes. Emaline had been dating Luke since freshman year, but when he cheats on her, that relationship goes down the hole (surprise). Also, her birth-father rolls into town unexpectedly, toting along Emaline’s ten-year old half-brother, Benji. Emaline spends the summer with Theo and Benji, and along the way she realizes that only she has control over who she becomes, and that perhaps giving everything The Grandest Title Ever leaves no room for improvement.

Memorable Quotes:

  • “‘Yeah. Thanks. This lug nut’s being a bitch.’
    Of course it was a female. I sighed.”
  • “When you’ve never gotten love from someone, you don’t know what it might look like if it ever does appear. You look for it in everything: any bright light overhead could be a star.”
  • “Sometimes, when it came to events and people, it had to be okay to just be.”
  • “‘Life is long. Just because you don’t get your chance right when you want or expect it doesn’t mean it won’t come. Fate doesn’t punch a time clock or consult a schedule.'”
  • “She was dressing for the life she wanted, not the life she had.”

Review: Let me preface this by announcing that I am a huge Sarah Dessen fan. I have been, ever since I stumbled across This Lullaby at my local Borders’ outlet. Presumably, I always will be. I wish she could turn out a new book every week, that’s how much I long to desire them. However, I know that’s a sightly ridiculous goal, so… keep doing what you’re doing, Ms. Dessen. That being said, this novel certainly did not disappoint!

Even at the ripe old age of 24, it’s quite easy for me to relate to Dessen’s characters. She’s spoken of her love for the 16-18 age group before, and that she has no plans (as of yet, anyway) to move beyond it. She claims nostalgia. That’s fine with me, though, because she writes about the sort of loves and lessons that transcend age boundaries. She writes Strong Female Characters without having to drop them into such tropes as warranted by the TV/movie world, for example. (You can either be pretty and feminine, or ugly and an unfeeling warrior, etc.) Emaline works hard: she works full-time for her family’s business and somehow still managed to balance the studying required for an acceptance to Columbia University. She loves hard: she and Luke were together for more than three years before life just got in the way. She’s a feminist: she calls out Morris on his use of the word “bitch,” albeit subconsciously. (Thank you, Ms. Dessen, for that!) But Emaline is not afraid to cry, as evidenced when she disappoints her mother, or when her birth-father disappoints her. She feels lonely and not special, which are feelings everyone battles with, be they a teenage girl or not.

In a deviation from most of Ms. Dessen’s other books, this one does not end with the Girl Getting the Guy! Spoilers. Theo turns out not to be the one from her, and she goes off to East U free of romantic entanglements, ready to start again with someone new. This clearly doesn’t happen right off the bat, though, because at the end of the book we run into Emaline taking Benji to New York City for an art show. Not a boyfriend, but her half-brother. You go, Emaline.

If I had to give this book a big, capitalized Moral, it’d be You Don’t Need A Man to Be Happy. You might even be able to through an “especially” in there, in regards to her birth-father. Emaline learns that she had no obligation to be with Theo if he wasn’t making her happy, regardless of how many Best Dates Ever they had (or didn’t have). She also learns that sometimes parents really do know best, and that their love is truly unconditional: no matter how many times you disappoint them, they’ll forgive you and welcome you back with open arms. And that, even when you’re only two hours away, your mom still worries.

Rating: ★★★★★

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