Thursday, April 25, 2013

Author Event & Giveaway - Sarah Dessen of The Moon and More

As far as YA Contemporary authors go, Sarah Dessen ranks at the top of my favorites list. When it comes to this genre, Dessen just gets me and always seems to deliver exactly what I’m looking for when I’m in the mood for a light contemporary fix. I’ve been reading her books for a few years now and when her recent titles hit the shelves, I find myself looking forward to what she has to share. So, imagine my surprise when I heard she would be at my local bookstore??!! Pure excitement!

I was fortunate enough to meet Sarah Dessen when she visited B&N in Huntington Beach on Saturday, April 20th.  Before the Q&A and signing portion of the event, she read from her upcoming release The Moon and More. Then, she took questions from the audience and answered them with the same humor and grace she infuses in her novels. You can tell she was enjoying her time with us, as evidence of the smile on her face the entire time.

It was fun to learn about her characters that she most relates to (Haley from Someone Like You) and least relates to (Remy from This Lullaby). It was also interesting to hear about the editing process she experiences for each of her books, and how her agent is considered her "one true voice." I was bummed to learn that she has no immediate plans of writing in a guys perspective, which despite what she says... I think she'd be great at it! 

After the reading and Q&A, we were offered the opportunity to meet her face to face and she was gracious enough to sign my entire Dessen collection!! Also, be sure not to miss out on the SIGNED giveaway below.

But before we get to that, I’m excited to share with you My Top 3 Favorites by Sarah Dessen. So here you go…

Number 1 Favorite
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Penguin Group
Publication Date: May 11, 2004
Read and Reviewed on May 2009
My Thoughts:
The Truth About Forever, by Sarah Dessen, is my favorite book by this author thus far. I’ve become a fan of Dessen’s stories, and I feel she knocked it out of the ball park with this book. Her main characters are extremely likeable and easy to associate with and the plot is captivating and well developed. This is such a great story that starts, develops and ends the way it should. My fave Dessen book by far.

Macy Queen has a strained relationship with her mother after the sudden death of her father. They are grieving in their own way and have yet to talk about and deal with their loss. During the summer, Macy takes on a job with Wish Catering, which begins to change her life and allow the healing process to begin for her. In this job, she meets Wes, Delia and some great friends, and as her mother notices the changes in her daughter, she tries to bring back the old Macy, which isn’t a good thing. During this summer with Wish Catering, Macy realizes the importance of communication, friendship and love.

Macy is such a mature and sympathetic character, which the reader can’t help but care for. Her relationship with her mother, sister and friends is refreshing to read as I really liked the way she treats those she cares for by trying to do the right thing. I truly enjoyed this story and would recommend it without hesitation.
 5 Snowflakes

Number 2 Favorite
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Publication Date: May 10, 2011
Read and Reviewed on September 2011
My Thoughts:
My deep like for What Happened to Goodbye comes down to one thing... the protag McLean Sweet. I liked her for lots of reasons and not just because I can relate to her determination to not look down until she identifies a constellation or two when looking up at a starry sky, or because like McLean I’ve never been one to just put myself out there on day one. Also it’s not just because we both have a name you’ve got to live up it, yeah some days it’s not all sweet and lovely. :/ When it comes down to it, it was McLean’s philosophy on people and life. Plain and simple. She hit home for me in so many ways that at the end of the day, I could relate on so many levels and that’s what made her a compelling character in my eyes.

McLean and her dad have moved from town to town for the past few years. There was a messy, public divorce along with a gut wrenching betrayal that led McLean’s dad to close his restaurant and take a consulting job that has them packing their suitcases about every six months. McLean doesn’t mind. She loves being on the road with her father and changing her identity at every stop, but all that takes a turn when they come to Luna Blue. There she meets some great friends and becomes part of a community where hiding behind someone she’s not is no longer an option.

The majority of this story revolves around McLean’s strained relationship with her mom. There was a heated moment in the book where she tells her mom to just “own it”... own the fact that their mother/daughter relationship is fractured because her mom did something pretty shitty. McLean owed her nothing because if you screw up, down or inside out, you can’t just expect an apology to fix everything that’s wrong. Life just isn’t that way. Actions have consequences, and more so selfish actions destroy relationships. When this scene was unraveling before my eyes, I was so much on McLean’s side that I felt myself rooting for her all the way.

Funny thing with books; a character can do or say one small thing to claim your allegiance and that’s exactly what happened here.

This book is made especially for Sarah Dessen’s true fans. With her you’re not going to get a rushed story, but rather a slow and steady development of a situation. Dessen doesn’t play the love triangle game and most importantly you won’t come across a guy and girl that have a chance meeting with tireless declarations of love, but rather a girl that has so much crap going on in her life that the last thing she wants or expects is a guy that’s going to sweep her off her feet and spew love sonnets. So when she meets “the one,” he’s the guy that’s there for her, that challenges her to be who she really is and not hide behind false pretences, the guy that’s there when you need him… and when the clouds and cobwebs are lifted, he’s the one that she sees as her 2am. ;) Beautiful and real! Now that’s what I call awesomesauce. Give me more...
4 Snowflakes

Number 3 Favorite
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Publication Date: June 16, 2009
Read and Reviewed on September 2009
My Thoughts:
Along for the Ride, by Sarah Dessen, is a fun and enjoyable read. I have to admit, at first I could not stand the main character, Auden. She was self-centered, clueless about others feelings, snobbish and down-right annoying. I almost put the book down and called it a day because if I don’t like the main character, chances are I’m not going to enjoy the book. However, all that altered by mid-book and the story took a sharp turn down Enjoyable Avenue. I feel Dessen’s technique was deliberate, well timed and executed with precision.

The story is about Auden who decides to spend the summer before her college freshman year in the beach town called Colby, where her father now lives with his new wife and newborn baby. Auden’s parents had a rocky marriage and were divorced a few years prior, forcing her to take on an adult role and missing out on the luxuries and experiences of childhood and adolescence, which had a negative impact on her personality and approach with people. When Auden arrives in Colby, it is obvious she has no intention of bonding with anyone or making any friends during her stay. All that changes when she gets a job at a clothing boutique meets Maggie, Leah and Esther and a great guy named Eli that show her how much she’s missed out on during her childhood. The summer she spends in Colby drastically changes her way of thinking and acting, and it is refreshing to see her transformation.

I really enjoyed this book, but it took me a while to get there. So if you read it and find yourself annoyed with Auden, don’t give up on her. Great book that I recommend as a light read.
4 Snowflakes

What!! That's not all!!

As I mentioned, I was so excited to get my collection of books signed by Sarah Dessen... AND... I also got TWO SIGNED BOOKS which I will be offering to one lucky WinterHaven follower. So if you fill out the rafflecopter and share a thoughtful comment about the author, event or her books you'll have a chance to win a SIGNED copy of these two books:
Good luck!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I read Along for the Ride a few years ago and really liked it :) I also read Just Listen and enjoy it!

  2. Keeping the Moon has a special place in my heart because it was one of the first YA books I've ever read and my first Sarah Dessen book. I think I've read all of them and would consider The Truth About Forever, This Lullaby, and Just Listen to be my favorites. I hope to have the chance to re-read a couple of them this summer because they are PERFECT summer reads.

  3. That's so exciting that you got to meet her! :) The Truth About Forever is probably one of my faves, along with Just Listen and What Happened to Goodbye.

    Great post and thanks for the chance to win signed copies!

  4. I only read two Dessen books (This Lullaby and Just Listen) and the prose is amazing. I've read lots of good things about The Truth About Forever and I would definitely love to read it.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    Charlie @ Letter Trails

  5. I just read my first Sarah Dessen novel and it was What Happened to Goodbye! I wrote a review on it and I really liked it! Definitely planning to pick up more of her novels. Great Giveaway! x

  6. I think The Truth About Forever is almost everyone's favourite Dessen book. It's one of mine as well but I love This Lullaby more. It was also my first Dessen book so maybe it has a little bit to do with that? Anyways, I'm so excited for The Moon and More. Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. I first learned about Sarah dessen when I was in my high school library and I just happened to pick up dreamland! After that book I was sold! She quickly became my favorite author of all time! The way she writes her stories just suck me in! I haven't had the chance to meet her yet but I am hoping that she stops near me on her June tour for the moon and more! My favorite book is this lullaby followed by the truth about forever and then just listen! Those books always get me through a rough time! My This Lullaby book is so worn out that it lays flat the minute you open it! I just love Sarah and I hope someday I am lucky enough to meet her!!!

  8. I am so ashamed to admit that I haven't read a Sarah Dessen book yet. I need to rectify that asap! Her books sound like just my kinda reads and all the new covers of her books are absolutely gorgeous! I would LOVE to own signed copies of them :) Thank you so much for the giveaway!

  9. love reading this recap. sarah dessen is such a YA staple

    i have four fave dessens: just llisten, the truth about forever, this lullaby and lock and key :)

    I loved Eli in along for the ride. he is such a great guy. (he made the book, IMO)

  10. I haven't read any Sarah Dessen books yet but they all look and sound great I most definitely have to check her books up and add them to my tbr list

  11. Thanks for the awesome event recap and giveaway Arlene! I have still to read a book by Sarah Dessen, but your enthusiastic reviews have me hopeful that I will love them just as much too! :)

  12. Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite authors. Her writing is beautiful and her stories are all awesome... I’d kill to meet her! But unfortunately, that won’t happen any time soon… there are not a lot of authors who come where I live (in the south of France)
    You’re so lucky :)
    Thank you for the chance to win these books! And for making your giveaway international :D

  13. I have to admit that I've never read any of her books, but I've heard great things about them and from what I can see, they sound like the type of books I would love to read! :)