Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Sarah Dessen  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Young Adult;

Born: 1970 in Evanston, Illinois

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Illinois Connection

Dessen was born in Evanston, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Sarah Dessen is one of the most popular writers for young adults. She is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of many novels, which have received numerous awards and rave reviews, and have sold more than nine million copies. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied under writers including McCorkle and Doris Betts. Her books, ''Someone Like You'' and ''That Summer'' were the inspiration for the 2003 film ''How to Deal'' starring Mandy Moore.

Selected Titles At Your Library

Someone like you /
ISBN: 0142401773. OCLC Number:

. .

Halley's junior year of high school includes the death of her best friend Scarlett's boyfriend, the discovery that Scarlett is pregnant, and Halley's own first serious relationship.

Keeping the moon /
ISBN: 0142401765. OCLC Number:

. .

Fifteen-year-old Colie, a former fat girl, spends the summer working as a waitress in a beachside restaurant, staying with her overweight and eccentric Aunt Mira, and trying to explore her sense of self.

Dreamland :
ISBN: 0142401757. OCLC Number:

Viking,. New York :. 2000.

After her older sister runs away, sixteen-year-old Caitlin decides that she needs to make a major change in her own life and begins an abusive relationship with a boy who is mysterious, brilliant, and dangerous.

This lullaby :
ISBN: 0142501557. OCLC Number:

. .

Raised by a mother who has had five husbands, eighteen-year-old Remy believes in short-term, no-commitment relationships until she meets Dexter, a rock band musician.

The truth about forever /
ISBN: 0142406252. OCLC Number:

Viking,. New York :. 2004

The summer following her father's death, Macy plans to work at the library and wait for her brainy boyfriend to return from camp, but instead she goes to work at a catering business where she makes new friends and finally faces her grief.

That summer /
ISBN: 0670061107. OCLC Number:

Orchard Books,. New York :. ©1996.

During the summer of her divorced father's remarriage and her sister's wedding, fifteen-year-old Haven comes into her own by letting go of the myths of the past.

Just Listen.
ISBN: 0756982707. OCLC Number:

Perfection Learning Prebound. . 2008.

Lock and key :
ISBN: 0142414727. OCLC Number:

Viking,. New York, N.Y. :. 2008

When she is abandoned by her alcoholic mother, high school senior Ruby winds up living with Cora, the sister she has not seen for ten years, and learns about Cora's new life, what makes a family, how to allow people to help her when she needs it, and that she too has something to offer others.

Along for the ride :
ISBN: 0670011940. OCLC Number:

Viking,. New York :. 2009

When Auden impulsively goes to stay with her father, stepmother, and new baby sister the summer before she starts college, all the trauma of her parents' divorce is revived, even as she is making new friends and having new experiences such as learning to ride a bike and dating.

What happened to goodbye /
ISBN: 0670012947. OCLC Number:

Viking,. New York :. 2011

Following her parents' bitter divorce as she and her father move from town to town, seventeen-year-old Mclean reinvents herself at each school she attends until she is no longer sure she knows who she is or where she belongs.

The moon and more /
ISBN: 0142425818. OCLC Number:

Viking,. New York :. 2013.

"During her last summer at home before leaving for college, Emaline begins a whirlwind romance with Theo, an assistant documentary filmmaker who is in town to make a movie."--

Saint Anything :
ISBN: 0451474708. OCLC Number:

. .

Sydney's charismatic older brother, Peyton, has always been the center of attention in the family but when he is sent to jail, Sydney struggles to find her place at home and the world until she meets the Chathams, including gentle, protective Mac, who makes her feel seen for the first time.

Once and for all :
ISBN: 0425290336. OCLC Number:

. .

Louna's years working at her mother's wedding planning business--as well as the tragic end of her first love--have shaped her cynical views on romance, but the arrival of serial-dater Ambrose may start to change Louna's mind and give her a second chance at love.


That Summer

  • Best Fiction for Young Adults, American Library Association
  • Someone Like You

  • Best Fiction for Young Adults, American Library Association
  • Best Book, School Library Journal
  • Keeping the Moon

  • Best Fiction for Young Adults, American Library Association
  • School Library Journal Best Book
  • Dreamland

  • Best Fiction for Young Adults, American Library Association
  • This Lullaby

  • Best Fiction for Young Adults, American Library Association
  • Just Listen

  • Best Fiction for Young Adults, American Library Association
  • Bestseller, New York Times
  • Along For The Ride

  • Bestseller, New York Times
  • Best Fiction for Young Adults, American Library Association
  • The Moon and More

  • Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
  • Saint Anything

  • Bestseller, New York Times
  • Kids' Indie Next List Pick, Summer 2015
  • Top 10 YA Book of the Year, TIME
  • Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

    Other Awards

  • Margaret A Edwards Award - Lifetime Achievement in writing for young adults, American Library Association, 2017

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (No)