Tag Archives: Sarah Dessen

Someone Like You

By Sarah Dessen
Classification: YA Literature
Genre: Realistic fiction, chick lit
Age Level: 13+
Subjects: Friendship, mothers and daughters, self-discovery, teen pregnancy

Reader’s Annotation:  In her first serious relationship and with her best friend pregnant, Halley needs to grow up quickly.

Summary:  When Halley’s best friend Scarlett finds herself pregnant in the weeks following her boyfriend’s tragic death, Halley suddenly finds herself needing to be strong for the friend she used to lean on.  And Halley needs to learn her own strength quickly, since her shady boyfriend Macon is pressuring her to have sex with him and encouraging Halley in behavior that strains the already tense relationship she has with her mother.  Balancing family, school and her social life, Halley learns for the first time how tough it can be to reconcile who she is with who she wants to be.

Notes:  The emotional depth of the characters is what makes this simple story shine.  Halley is a very accessible and believable heroine.  Content to be aware of—underage drinking, drug use.
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Just Listen

By Sarah Dessen
Classification: YA Fiction
Genre: Realistic fiction, Chick lit
Age Level: 13+
Subjects: Friendship, family, eating disorders, sexual assault, bullying

Reader’s Annotation:  Annabel has a secret and her unwillingness to share it is costing her the trust of her most-needed friends.

Summary:  Keeping her assault by her best friend’s boyfriend a secret, Annabel Green finds herself ostracized at school.  Annabel is also losing interest in the modeling jobs her mother keeps pressuring her to book.  Unfortunately, Annabel does not feel comfortable speaking up at home because her older sister’s eating disorder has already caused tension in the family.  Annabel slowly becomes friends with Owen Armstrong, whose passion is music, but their relationship is threatened by Annabel’s inability to open up and confide in others.  Annabel continues to hold her tongue and alienate those who would help her until a friend inspires her to share her story.

Notes: Just Listen is not quite as harrowing as Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, but compelling and just as honest.
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