Top Ten Tuesday- Books for People Who Like Dessen

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week we are recommending books for people who like a particular author. I’ve chosen Sarah Dessen because her books are a perfect summer read (Who am I kidding? I love them all year, but she feels like a great beach read).

What I love about Sarah Dessen is that she writes books that are funny without being silly, romantic without having heroines who fall all over themselves to give up everything for a guy, and they tackle tougher issues without being depressing.  Her characters feel so real with their odd imperfections, their relatable pain and their underlying awesomeness. If you haven’t read a Sarah Dessen novel, you should get on it stat. Pronto. Like, what are you waiting for?

But if you’ve read her and loved her, here are a few books that sucked me in the way hers do.

1. The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson– This covers some tough stuff. Lennie is dealing with grief after the loss of her sister, she’s falling for a new boy, and she feels a painful connection to her sister’s boyfriend.  The writing here is beautiful and poetic and although there are some sad parts, Lennie made me laugh out loud so often, as did her quirky family.  I love this book.

2. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler– Again, this is a story about grief and first love and friendship. It’s so beautifully written.  The friendship in this story–one of Anna and Frankie– is vivid and felt so painfully real.  It’s such a good read.

3. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta– I know it seems weird for me to compare Melina Marchetta to anyone because she is fantastic in her own right, but this book had the same perfect blend of elements that I’m speaking of.  There was wonderful, quirky humor, absolute pain and distress, and a cast of friends who were all so oddly matched and yet so perfect for one another. And lets not forget the romance with Will, who is so imperfect you can’t help but love him.  The shining star in this book is Francesca.  She is beautifully written and feels like she could come walking through your door at any moment.

4. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson– This book has a great summer vibe, it has a cute guy, a girl grieving over the loss of her dad, and it has a road trip. There are a lot of fun moments and quirky things (like music playlists, photos and receipts plastered throughout making it feel like an actual scrapbook) and there is a good balance between the sadness and the “moving on” elements of this story.

5. The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith– This book has some wonderful, lovely romantic moments, but it’s the relationship between Hadley and her father that truly got to me.  As with many Dessen books, this one doesn’t leave you with the belief that the couple we’ve swooned over is necessarily going to live happily ever after forever and ever and ever, but it leaves you with the hope that something big is about to happen. It even better, she makes you want it.  She gives you hope.

6. Saving June by Hannah Harrington– This book also deals with grief and is perhaps the heaviest of the books I’m mentioning because Harper is trying to pick up the pieces after her sister’s suicide.  It’s tough to read at first, but when Harper embarks on a road trip with her BFF and a virtual stranger (a hot one, of course) on a journey to take her sister’s ashes to California, the heaviness of the subject matter is lightened here and there by their adventures.  This is an excellent book.

7. How To Save a Life by Sara Zarr- I love this one!  Out of all of Zarr’s books, this one, to me at least, had the lightest vibe. The subject matter is still serious— grieving the death of a parent, moving on, teen pregnancy, abuse—and yet, there so many moments of humor and joy and total hopefulness.  In fact, that’s the underlying theme here: life goes on.

8. I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan– I am constantly pushing this book because it is SO wonderful.  This explores love from so many angles and like a Dessen book, the romantic love is sweet, but it doesn’t overpower the entire story. It leaves you wanting more of every character.

9. Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald- This one leans more to the lighthearted side.  The main character, is getting over her love for her best buddy (I’ll let you guess his name) and in doing so, she discovers so much about herself. Everything takes place over the course of the summer while she’s working at this coffee shop and it’s the dynamics between Sadie and her coworkers that really reminded me of a Dessen book.

That’s all for now!  Happy Tuesday!

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15 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday- Books for People Who Like Dessen

  1. these are all such great books (though I haven’t read them all). great subject! i have been having I’ll Be There on my nook probably since your review of it, i really need to read it. ~dixie

    • You know I love that book but I totally get you. There are too many good books to read!! I still haven’t finished my Spring reads!

  2. Ohhh – I love Sarah Dessen! She’s like one of my favorite authors! This list is really helpful for me – I need to get Getting Over Garett Delaney soon and Twenty Boy Summer and How To Save a Life actually already sit on my shelf – waiting to be read 🙂

  3. Oh I’ve heard nothing but good things about Sara Zarr and her books! I love the cover for Howmto Save a Life too! I must read it!

  4. Why, why, why have i not read The Sky is Everywhere or I’ll Be There yet? You’ve mentioned them so many times and you’ve obvs got great taste in books so why have i not followed your lead? It’s quite the mystery. 🙂 Great list btw.

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