June 6, 1970
Evanston, Illinois, United States
|Subject||Young adult literature|
Early life and education
Sarah Dessen was born in Evanston, Illinois, on June 6, 1970. Dessen was born to Alan and Cynthia Dessen, both professors at the University of North Carolina. Her only brother is a musician who resides in California with his wife and daughter. Sarah was inspired by her parents' professions long before she even started writing.
When Sarah was around 8 or 9 years old, she received a typewriter as a gift and began to write her own stories.
As a teenager, Dessen was very shy and quiet. She became involved with a 21-year-old when she was 15 but cut all contact with him shortly after. She has admitted in an interview that "for many years afterward, I took total blame for everything that happened between me and T. After all, I was a bad kid. I'd done drugs, I'd lied to my mom. You can't just hang out with a guy and not expect him to get ideas, I told myself. You should have known better."
She worked at a children's shoe store when she was in high school at Chapel Hill High School (Chapel Hill, North Carolina). She was fired during the annual summer sidewalk sale.
Dessen dropped out of Greensboro College in Greensboro, North Carolina, and later took some classes at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, graduating with highest honors in Creative Writing.
Dessen waitressed at the restaurant Flying Burrito in Chapel Hill while launching her writing career. She would write during the day and waitress at night. Her first book, That Summer, was published in 1996.
Some of her novels have been among the ALA's "Best Fiction for Young Adults" selections: That Summer (1997), Someone Like You (1999), Keeping the Moon (2000), Dreamland (2001), This Lulluaby (2003), Just Listen (2007), and Along for the Ride (2010). Someone Like You was also one of the two winners of the 1999 "School Library Journal Best Book" award, and Keeping the Moon was the sole winner the next year.
Most of Sarah Dessen’s novels deal with the change in youth’s personality as they go through some sort of tragedy or loss. The general themes that run through her novels comprise isolation, emotional distance among family members, and a progressive change in people’s personality.
She resides in North Carolina with her husband, daughter Sasha Clementine, two dogs, a few lizards, and quite a few chickens.
- 1996 – That Summer
- 1998 – Someone Like You
- 1999 – Keeping the Moon
- 2000 – Dreamland
- 2002 – This Lullaby
- 2004 – The Truth About Forever
- 2006 – Just Listen
- 2008 – Lock and Key
- 2009 – Along for the Ride
- 2011 – What Happened to Goodbye
- 2013 – The Moon and More
- 2015 – Saint Anything
- "Sarah Dessen". TV.com. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
- "Sarah Dessen: Biography". Puffin Books. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
- Official Site
- Works by or about Sarah Dessen in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Sarah Dessen at the Internet Movie Database
- "Along for the Ride Book Review" – ChickLovesLit.com