High school senior Ruby is abandoned by her alcoholic mother and ends up living with and learning more about Cora, the sister she has not seen for ten years.inative stories on an old manual typewriter her parents gave her when she was eight or nine years old. So it was only natural that after college she would forego a real job, choosing instead to support herself by waiting tables at a local eatery while trying to publish a novel. In 1996, just three years after graduation, she sold her first book, the witty, wry coming-of-age story That Summer. A second novel, Someone Like You, followed two years later. (In 2003, these two books were loosely adapted into the movie How to Deal, starring teen sensation Mandy Moore.) Dessen claims she never set out to be a YA writer, but somehow her memories always bring her back to high school, a time and place that resonates strongly for her. Living in her hometown where she is still in contact with many childhood friends, she finds it pretty easy to get in touch with her inner teenager. In addition, the books she read from that time have a special, magical staying power. She explains it this way on her website: While I couldnt tell you complete plots of novels I read even six months ago, I do remember even the smallest descriptive details from Lois Lowrys A Summer to Die or Judy Blumes Are You There God? Its Me, Margaret. I think it was because back then books were still somewhat new to me, and when I found an author who seemed to say just what I was feeling, it really struck me and resonated. I hope that my books do that for the people who read them. If one can judge from her growing fan base and continued presence on the bestseller lists, Dessen can safely say mission accomplished.
Good To Know
Here are some fun facts about Sarah Dessen: Most of Dessens books are set in the fictional town of Lakeview and feature recurring locales and characters. Dessen also teaches creative writing at her alma mater, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Among her confessed addictions, Dessen counts the Gap clearance rack, Starbucks mochas, multiple magazine subscriptions, and a penchant for black pants. Dessen sometimes waxes nostalgic about her days as a waitress. It was a great job for a writer, she says. Endless conversations to eavesdrop, tons of material, and fast money without ever taking work home. In Just Listen, the character of Owen Armstrong was named for the young protagonist in John Irvings A Prayer for Owen Meany, as well as for Lance Armstrong, one of Dessens proclaimed crushes. Concerning her tendency to embellish, Dessen says: I think its just a weakness of fiction writers. Once you learn how to make a story better, its hard not to do it all the time.