(Re)Reading Sarah Dessen | Wrap-Up – Once and for All and Dessen Favorites

Posted June 28, 2017 / Book Lists, Features / 4 Comments

Everyone knows that Sarah Dessen is the queen of contemporary romance and adorable, coming-of-age summer stories. I have read and loved most of her books already, but I made it a point recently to read (or in a lot of cases, reread) all of her books. Her books are important to so many people and really are what got many of us into reading contemporary romance books. This summer, Cristina from Girl in the Pages and I have teamed up to talk alllllll about Sarah Dessen – when we started reading her books, our experiences with rereading, and other fun discussions, recommendations, and personal stories. Our feature will take place over four weeks this June, starting today for me and tomorrow for her. Here’s the schedule:

Introduction, Our Sarah Stories, and Discussion of Someone Like You
June 7th on Bookmark Lit – June 8th on Girl in the Pages

Dessen Recommendations and Similar Stories
June 14th on Bookmark Lit – June 15th on Girl in the Pages

Blog Features: Cover Colors (BL) and Event Recap (GitP)
June 21st on Bookmark Lit – June 22nd on Girl in the Pages

Once and For All, Dessen Favorites, and Wrap-Up
June 28th on Bookmark Lit – June 29th on Girl in the Pages

For the final week in our Dessen feature, we wanted to highlight Once and for All, as well as discuss some of our favorites! I’m still in the middle of my reread so I’m not sure I could give a full rank order of my favorite books (like I originally planned), so we pulled together some fun questions about our favorites instead! But first, let’s highlight the reason for this summer of Dessen…

I’d obsessed over this cover for a veeery long time, so I was eager to highlight it yet again. I already reviewed the book, so I thought a small collage would be nice! It did base the outfit on the book cover mostly, with the pale colors and floral print on the shoes. I didn’t connect it much to the book itself, except that they mentioned “blending in” at the weddings. I thought this pale dress and muted accessories would be perfect for a Natalie Barrett Weddings associate to hide in plain sight during someone’s big day.

Once and for All


Cristina and I did a lightening round of questions about our favorite books and elements of Dessen books. I also snuck in a few “would you rather?” questions about the stories for fun.


Favorite Book: Along for the Ride – There’s something about this story that just hits me. I used to have a few others I loved but again, I’m not done with my reread yet. We’ll see how they all get ranked later but I love this book so much.

Favorite Love Interest: Ambrose or Eli – I’m sorry, but I have to include two. I don’t know why but Ambrose really hit me after I finally warmed up to him. He was so unexpectedly sweet beneath his player persona. And, of course, my favorite Dessen book wouldn’t be complete without mentioning my original #1 Dessen crush – Eli.

Favorite Protagonist: Sydney from Saint Anything – I think I choose her here just because I related to her the most. In my review, I discussed how frustrated I was a teen when my mom didn’t trust me. I never did anything wrong and yet I was still observed like crazy.

Favorite Best Friend: Morgan and Isabel from Keeping the Moon – I loved how friendship took center stage in this book. Colie was very secluded and the Last Chance Cafe opened her up so much. She developed complex and strong friendships with Morgan and Isabel, which I loved reading about.

Favorite Setting/Business: Last Chance Cafe – I don’t know why but this setting has always stuck out for me in Dessen’s books. I think it has something to do with the fact that many of them involve this restaurant in one way or another, between characters working there or going out to eat there as a little easter egg.

Favorite Character Name: Auden – My sister is obsessed with Auden’s name for some reason and it’s stuck in my head for that reason. Dessen always has interesting and unique MC names!

Favorite Cover: Once and for All – I just looooove the colors and the flowers and how cute this cover is. I could stare at it forever. Clearly I liked it enough to make an outfit above as well.

Would you rather…

…live in Colby or Lakeview? I’d definitely have to say Colby! It feels like coming home every time I read a book set there. The beach town vibes are my favorite. I want to visit Emerald Isle, NC this year just to experience what inspired Colby for Dessen.

…work for Natalie Barrett Weddings OR with McLean’s dad in restaurant consulting? This is a tough one! I love the idea of helping restaurants succeed and trying out new foods…but I don’t think I could do all of that heavy, dirty work. Cleaning and working with stubborn employees or owners sounds terrible. So, I have to with Natalie Barrett Weddings. I absolutely have always loved wedding planning and thought about event planning as a career. It’d be so fun to work in that industry.

…eat fried pickles at Luna Blu OR pizza and fries at the Chatham’s pizza place? This is sooooo hard because pizza is my all-time favorite food and I also LOVE fried pickles. I have to pick the Chatham’s pizza place though because PIZZA plus my favorite Dessen family dynamic. Sold.

…have no more Dessen books but be able to reread these forever OR have new books but never be able to reread old favorites? This is really tough. I honestly think I’d pick the new books. I’m really bad about rereading. I love comfort rereads and nostalgia, but I don’t prioritize that as much as I’d like. I would be happy with a brand new Dessen book every year forever to keep her words going.


I can’t believe our month of Dessen is over! I’ve loved collaborating with my book twin on a big event. I’ll always love Sarah Dessen’s books, regardless of how much I relate to the characters or enjoy the premise. Her writing is like coming home and remembering my early YA days. I’ll appreciate her work for basically creating the entire genre, and creating so many timeless stories!

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4 responses to “(Re)Reading Sarah Dessen | Wrap-Up – Once and for All and Dessen Favorites

  1. So once again I read one of your posts and realize we are even MORE alike, I can definitely relate to you- my parents were SO strict when I was in high school even though I NEVER did anything bad (I was too scared of getting in trouble, hahaha!) Also, ELI <3 I thought I was in the minority since I've never heard of anyone mentioning him as one of their favorite Dessen love interests but I looooove him. He's just so quiet and intense and IDK just more broody that other Dessen love interests but he's just so perfect for Auden. And I LOVE the dress you chose for your feature- it's a perfect match for the cover!

    Cristina (Girl in the Pages) recently posted: Rereading Sarah Dessen | Once and For All Review + Dessen Favorites!

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