Thursday, October 31, 2013

Author Review: Sarah Dessen

Hi guys!
I know it's been a while since I've posted (school! Need I say more? ;) ), and I'm super sorry about that! But things are starting to settle down now, so I promise I'll start posting more often, as I've read tons of new books worth squealing over! :)
Just to deviate from the usual single book reviews, I've decided to start this thing called Author Review, which is basically (despite it's semi-misleading name) reviewing all, if not the majority, of the books of a specific author in one neat post.  I'll mainly use this way of reviewing if the books are in a series that have been completed for some time now,  or (like in the case of Sarah Dessen books) I go on a book spree where the only thing I read for that week or month is just that one author.  

This time is a little different because I'm reviewing all her books in general, AND I'm also specifically giving a rating to What Happened to Goodbye (generally it won't be one specific book, but just the books of the author in general). I've also decided to address how I rate books because even though  my explanation below explains how I rate in general, it REALLY explains why WHTG deserved the rating it did.  

Happy readings!:)

 MAJOR/MINOR SPOILERS- NONE of the spoilers are covered up, so beware! MWAHAHAHAHA!  Happy Halloween! ;)

I have been in a Sarah Dessen mood lately. I've read one book by her back in 6th grade, and that was Lock and Key. I didn't really like it then, frankly because I couldn't relate to it, and my preteen self did not appreciate the beautiful writing and gentle rhythm. No, she wanted some hard core action with a side of slapstick humor (shameful... I know). So, I stopped reading her books and moved onto something less gentle and pretty- like 39 clues. 

So a few years later, after I had gone through my fairytale phase and Rick Riorden phase(actually, I don't think I've ever dropped this phase lol), I saw the cover of The Truth About Forever, and thought, What the heck? And so my Sarah Dessen craze had begun.

Now that I've finished all her books I thought it would be good to write a review about them in one go. (The rating for What Happened to Good bye specifically is 3 stars, and I'll address that later.)

Sarah Dessen is such a pretty writer. Her writing style is simple, as it has no "fancy" vocab, and it's real. Everyone of her books sound like they could be written by a teenager. They all have their own voice- even if their situations are really similar (mom/dad are dead or divorced, there's a guy, they share something special (could be running, a bike, music, etc)). And no one is perfect- not the guy, not the main character, and especially not the parents. They all have faults, and that's what makes her books so real. I feel like these people could be my next door neighbors.

And her themes. Oh my gosh! Her themes. She addresses everything from finding yourself (What Ever Happened to Goodbye) to abuse (Dreamland, Lock and Key) to the death of a parent (The Truth About Forever, This Lullaby- there was probably another book too but those two were the only ones I could think of). Everything a teenager may deal with or has dealt with, Sarah Dessen has probably written a book on it. 

If there's one bad thing about Sarah Dessen, it would be her book writing formula. They all have that same messed up background, and I can pretty much tell what's going to happen at the end. That's really the only thing I have a problem with, and even then it's so minor because her writing and character development make up for it 100x over.  

I LOVE LOVE LOVE how the romance is like a real life romance- no insta love!- and how it's really gentle and quiet. Sarah Dessen almost never addresses the romance until the end(she drops hints and stuff, but the kiss is almost always at the end). 

The character development in each book is simply amazing. All her characters change slowly, with the help of friends, family, and life, and in the end they finally start to heal. I also really like that she leaves the ends kind of open ended- it fills me with an odd feeling of completion. And her Easter eggs in a few of her more recent books help to keep all those characters alive (especially Jason! ) and show us their lives don't end when the book does. 

Ok, so my rating on What Happened to Goodbye:

I rate my books on a really different (read: weird) scale. Five is like extra credit. If I absolutely love them(and I'm really really picky about that... it takes a lot to please me lol) and they're memorable, I give them a five. (So basically, I find that book perfect with no faults, or the faults make the book even more perfect. It's possible! :)). 
My rating scale really starts at four. Fours are for the books I love, and there's a few things iffy about them, but they are still memorable- just not incredible enough to be a 5.
 Threes are for the ones I liked, they were good, but they were just a fun read for the moment. They were still really good, but are sometimes unmemorable,and, most of the time, I won't think about it days after. It was average.
 Twos are the ones I just read and toss without another glance. I sort of liked it (sometimes bordering on the I didn't like it line), and it was ok, but I definitely won't linger with it. Ones are just bad. I didn't like it at all, and it can die in a hole for all I care (better yet, it can donate itself to Shrek the Musical). 

With that being said, my rating was a three because I liked this book, and I love Sarah Dessen, but I doubt I'll think about this book for days after. 

Thanks for reading!~

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