Last week I got a package from Amazon. This is always cause for excitement, but this particular package was special. It contained the latest Sarah Dessen novel.
As mentioned in a previous post, Sarah Dessen is my favorite young adult author and the person who inspired me to love the genre. She proves that books written for and about teenagers don’t have to be dumbed down. She fills her novels with humor and thoughtfulness and characters that I always remember. She even got a shout-out in my Comps talk — not to her knowledge, of course.
What Happened to Goodbye is her tenth novel, which honestly just makes me feel old. When I first read Keeping the Moon in sixth grade, she was only on her third. That was ten years ago! I continued to read each new book as it came out, developing an impressive collection on my bookshelves. When we’re talking about one of my favorite authors of all-time, I’m happy to pay the hardcover price.
Then in college I fell a little behind. Two more books were released between my freshman and junior year, and I never found the time to read them. I suspect there may also have been some English major guilt about still wanting to read young adult novels. Well, at some point I realized that was ridiculous. As a result, I spent a happy winter break reading both Lock and Key and Along for the Ride. When her tenth novel was released this spring, it started to feel like an embarrassment of riches in my YA world.
As always, reading Sarah’s novel feels like being with old friends. Being a long-time reader of her blog, I also notice plotlines that are drawn from her own life and interests, which makes me feel all insider-y. And you know, I miss having reading experiences like this. I read so much for my English classes that I rarely felt like doing it during my free time at school. Even during breaks, it would usually take a couple of weeks before I wanted to read for pleasure. Maybe that’s why I began to explore my interest in film: it scratches that same storytelling itch, but in a different form.
Now I can finally read books that aren’t assigned on a syllabus. Heck, I can write my own syllabus. Actually that sounds like exactly the kind of thing I would do. I shouldn’t be giving myself ideas.