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American writer (1970- )

You know, when it works, love is pretty amazing. It's not overrated. There's a reason for all those songs.

SARAH DESSEN, This Lullaby

Time wasn't a thing you could divide easily; there was no defined middle or beginning or end. I could pretend to leave the past behind, but it would not leave me.


I was actually pretty miserable in high school. I couldn't WAIT for it to be over. And when it finally was, I remember sitting at graduation with all these classmates getting nostalgic and emotional already and all I could think was, "Get me OUT of here. I never want to see you people again." So it’s ironic that I now spend half my day putting myself back there by choice. I think the voice clicks with me, though, because I WAS so unhappy. Those feelings of inadequacy and confusion … they’re not so easily forgotten. It also helps I still live in my hometown. Most days I drive past my high school on the way to drop my kid at preschool. So it's always there, whether I like it or not.

SARAH DESSEN, interview, Idaho Statesman, Jun. 2, 2013

Life is an awful, ugly place to not have a best friend.

SARAH DESSEN, Someone Like You

There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.

SARAH DESSEN, The Truth About Forever

Music is a total constant. That's why we have such a strong visceral connection to it, you know? Because a song can take you back instantly to a moment, or a place, or even a person.


What is family? They were the people who claimed you.

SARAH DESSEN, Lock and Key

I am coming to terms with the fact that loving someone requires a leap of faith, and that a soft landing is never guaranteed.

SARAH DESSEN, This Lullaby

What’s funny about becoming a mom—I got a lot of questions after my daughter was born, like, “How has it changed your writing?” And I said that before I had her, the mom character was always, you know, The Mom. And I had my character, and I was all about her, and the mom was the foil often, and the conflict and everything. I have so much more sympathy for the mothers now than I did. I think my mother characters have changed a lot since Sasha was born, just because I understand what a hard job it is now, and I’m coming at it from another angle—like you just love and care about this person so much, and just want to protect them from everything. And I understand why my own mother was so protective and everything—I get it now.

SARAH DESSEN, interview, Writer's Digest

Your past is always your past. Even if you forget it, it remembers you.

SARAH DESSEN, What Happened to Goodbye?

As far back as I can remember, I've been writing. I've always had this wild imagination, and I love to embellish stories to make them more interesting. When I was a kid I had all these intricate histories for all my stuffed animals and dollhouse families, which I would type out on this old manual typewriter my parents set up for me in the corner of our TV room. I kept writing all through middle school, and in high school I got diverted a bit, but I picked it up again in college. I really didn't think I'd actually be a writer until I graduated and found that I just couldn't stop and go get a real job. Every time I finished something, another idea would follow right behind. So I went into waitressing and just wrote like crazy. At times it seemed really stupid, since I was totally broke and there was no kind of guarantee that I'd ever see anything come of it. Luckily, it did. But even if I hadn't sold a book by now I'd still be writing. It becomes a part of you, just something you do.

SARAH DESSEN, Puffin Books interview

It's just that...I just think that some things are meant to be broken. Imperfect. Chaotic. It's the universe's way of providing contrast, you know? There have to be a few holes in the road.

SARAH DESSEN, The Truth About Forever

The truth is, I’m not really even sure what New Adult is! I guess it’s post-high school? Post-college? I’ve never been one for labels when it comes to what I write. I had a teenage narrator in my first novel, THAT SUMMER, but never thought of it was YA at all. When my agent suggested it was, I was really worried about getting stuck in a genre and never getting out. Shows what I know: I couldn’t be in a better place.

SARAH DESSEN, interview, Idaho Statesman, Jun. 2, 2013

Grief can be a burden, but also an anchor. You get used to the weight, how it holds you in place.

SARAH DESSEN, The Truth About Forever

I had no illusions about love anymore. It came, it went, it left casualties or it didn't. People weren't meant to be together forever, regardless of what the songs say.

SARAH DESSEN, This Lullaby

Family isn’t something that’s supposed to be static, or set. People marry in, divorce out. They’re born, they die. It’s always evolving, turning into something else.

SARAH DESSEN, Lock and Key

If you don't pay attention to the past, you'll never understand the future. It's all linked together.


Sometimes you lose. Nothing you can do but admit it.

SARAH DESSEN, Along for the Ride

It's funny how one summer can change everything. It must be something about the heat and the smell of chlorine, fresh-cut grass and honeysuckle, asphalt sizzling after late-day thunderstorms, the steam rising while everything drips around it. Something about long, lazy days and whirring air conditioners and bright plastic flip-flops from the drugstore thwacking down the street. Something about fall being so close, another year, another Christmas, another beginning. So much in one summer, stirring up like the storms that crest at the end of each day, blowing out all the heat and dirt to leave everything gasping and cool. Everyone can reach back to one summer and lay a finger to it, finding the exact point when everything changed.


The truth about forever is that it is happening right now.

SARAH DESSEN, The Truth About Forever

I don't believe in failure, because simply by saying you've failed, you've admitted you attempted. And anyone who attempts is not a failure. Those who truly fail in my eyes are the ones who never try at all. The ones who sit on the couch and whine and moan and wait for the world to change for them.

SARAH DESSEN, Keeping the Moon

I think I’m way too much of a control freak to co-author anything with anyone. I have a hard enough time writing with myself!

SARAH DESSEN, interview, Idaho Statesman, Jun. 2, 2013

Relationships dont always make sense. Especially from the outside.

SARAH DESSEN, Along for the Ride

This is what happens when you try to run from the past. It just doesn’t catch up, it overtakes … blotting out the future.


It's a lot easier to be lost than found. It's the reason we're always searching and rarely discovered--so many locks not enough keys.

SARAH DESSEN, Lock and Key


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