Sarah Dessen: Hidden Gems in a Beach Read

BlogHer Review

When I first started working on my YA novel, everyone told me to read Sarah Dessen. I downloaded one of her novels to my Kindle, but I hadn't actually read it yet when I picked up What Happened to Goodbye.

To be honest, I wasn't sure I was in the mood. I was all vamped up from finishing A Discovery of Witches, and I hadn't shifted into beach-read gear. This novel is definitely a beach read, full of teenage angst, mother hating, divorce, moving, new friends and crushes.

However, as a writerly reader, I am satisfied any time a writer can work astute observations about the human condition into her book. I don't care what kind of book it is. And as I read What Happened to Goodbye, I realized that Dessen is just such a writer, and there were just such observations between the pink-and-green covers of this book.

For example, this gem pops up as two characters are deciding whether or not to have dinner together:

From this distance, in the dimness, the model looked surreal, made up of parts filled with buildings, bordered by long stretches of empty space. It reminded me of the way cities and towns look when you are flying at night. You can't make out much. But the places where people have come together, and stayed, are collections of tiny lights, breaking up the darkness.

There are more of them, but that's the one that was important enough for me to dog-ear the page. Beautiful.

The next time I get a chance, I'm going to see what's in that other Sarah Dessen novel in my Kindle.