Sarah Dessen Week

It’s Sarah Dessen Week!!!!!!!!

We’re following suit with a couple of blogs we love, The Reading Housewives of Indiana and YA Bibliophile,  in celebrating Sarah Dessen Week.  Sarah’s new book, What Happened to Goodbye comes out tomorrow (holla!) and we are pretty much freaking out over here.  For the rest of the week we’ll deconstruct Dessen’s themes and distinct voice and analyze the strengths of her protagonists ( Snort.   I can’t even type that with a serious face).  Okay, actually we’re gonna spazz out about the awesomely awesome heroines, the totally swoony boys and pretty much slobber all over her books.

As our first order of Sarah Dessen-y business we are going to repost a review of one of our all-time favorite books, The Truth About Forever.  If you have not read it, please check it out…like now.  One word: Wes.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

(originally posted November 26, 2010)

The truth is, I love this book

Sixteen-year-old Macy Queen is looking forward to a long, boring summer. Her boyfriend is going away. She’s stuck with a dull-as-dishwater job at the library. And she’ll spend all of her free time studying for the SATs or grieving silently with her mother over her father’s recent unexpected death. But everything changes when Macy is corralled into helping out at one of her mother’s open house events, and she meets the chaotic Wish Catering crew. Before long, Macy joins the Wish team. She loves everything about the work and the people. But the best thing about Wish is Wes—artistic, insightful, and understanding Wes—who gets Macy to look at life in a whole new way, and really start living it.

Here’s the scoop:

When Macy’s jerkface of a boyfriend,  Jason,  asks her for a summer break—via e-mail, no less—she is understandably shocked.  He doesn’t break up with her exactly, but he wants them to take the summer to review their goals so that when he returns home they can commence to make a decision regarding their future.  Yeah, I know.  Macy shouldn’t have put up with that.  But girlfriend did, though instead of pulling a Bella and acting half-dead, she surprises herself by accepting a job at Wish Catering.  The chaos and frenzy she experiences there offer a reprieve from her disappointment over Jason, and more importantly, over her father’s recent death.

Dessen is such a gifted writer. It feels as though the words flow from her books with such ease and simplicity.  She’s never overwritten and never tries too hard to honestly capture moments of sadness, embarrassment or humor.  She has the innate ability to transport her readers to normal places with normal circumstances while somehow making them all seem truly magical.  And with this book more than any of her other novels, she has created characters who are so wonderfully vivid and charming that I can’t help but wish I could crawl inside their world and live there.

Outside of Macy—who is so realistic in her need to have a perfectly planned life—there is Wes, the artistic Dreamy McDreamerson (Sa-woon!).  Wes is a boy who has a bit of a troubled past but is now responsible and devoted to helping care for his younger brother, Bert.  And Bert, oh Bert.  It’s impossible not to love that adorable dork head.  He drives an old ambulance (which he refers to as the Bertmobile.  Hello Cuteness!) and is all about Armageddon and end of the world stuff—and he’s serious about that crazy biz.  Wes and Bert have neighbors (who are also co-workers at Wish because it’s run by the boys’ aunt) Kristy— who encourages Macy to forget her bonehead ex so she can find a truly extraordinary boy— and Monica, Kristy’s little sis (I mean, how can I not love someone who mumbles phrases like “Donneven” and “Bettaquit?”    She’s like the freaking Donnie Brasco of Sarah Dessen books.  Fuggetaboutit).

Macy’s interaction with her new co-workers quickly goes from catering jobs to solid friendship.  She tries at first to be anti-social, preferring to go home and study for her SATs,  but finally bends to the pressure of Kristy’s constant invitations to join the group when they hit the town (meaning good old-fashioned keggers).  Since they’re together so often, Macy and Wes start playing an ongoing game called Truth (like Truth or Dare without the dare) and, as a result, they develop a close relationship.

This isn’t a story with intense physical action or complicated plotlines.  It’s about life, recovering from loss—both of Macy’s dad and of her perfectly mapped out expectations—and finding love;  not only the sweet romantical  kind, but the stuff that comes from being stripped down to your truest self and knowing you’re still accepted.  And even though there isn’t lots kissing, this book is still Swoon City.

Crush Intensity: 5/5  This is a perfect, sweet book that will always remain one of my all-time favorites.

Soundtrack: Oh man, the Strokes are the stuff eargasms are made of.  I think “Someday” is a perfect fit for The Truth About Forever.

Memorable Quote:

“Wes, come on,” I said. “Are you seriously not aware of how girls stare at you?”

He rolled his eyes, leaning back on his palms.  “Let’s get back to the idea of you being perfect.”

“Seriously, what’s it like?”

“Being perfect? I wouldn’t know.”

“Not being perfect.” I sighed. “Being…”

As I tried to come up with something, he flicked a bug off his arm.

“…gorgeous,” I finished.  Two weeks earlier, this would have mortified me: I could just see myself bursting into flames from shame.  But now, I only felt a slight twinge as I took another sip of my beer and waited for him to answer.

“Again,” he said, as the parking lot girls passed by, eyeing both of us, “I wouldn’t know.  You tell me.”

LOVE. THIS. BOOK!

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12 thoughts on “Sarah Dessen Week

  1. This review is fabulous! Seriously it is hilarious but so very true. The Truth About Forever is by far my favorite Sarah Dessen book. The characters are so different and unique but I love every single one of them!
    -Katelyn

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