Musings

Sarah Dessen Week: My favorite crossovers

REJOICE, LOVELY READERS. I own a copy of Saint Anything, and finished it today, and it was amazing. I read it really fast though, so I think it might be time for my first re-read of the year. With that in mind, my review will come later in the week.

BUT. It is still Sarah Dessen Week, and today we’re here to talk crossovers. Regular readers of Dessen know that, starting in This Lullaby, the author began inserting little bits of previous books in her new ones, just so we knew her previous characters were doing okay. We got to see how Scarlett, one of her main characters from Someone Like You, was adjusting to parental life. For me her crossovers are also fun because I enjoy seeing how time has progress. I like knowing that Dessen’s universe moves in (mostly) the same way the real world does. Time is not stagnant, people grow and change (or don’t). It makes her world all the more real to me – even more so than her repeated settings.

Remy & Dexter: This Lullaby, where we first met Remy and Dexter, was the first Sarah Dessen book I ever read, so it holds a very special place in my heart. So you can imagine my IMMENSE joy when Owen and Annabel, in Just Listen, run into the two of them at Bendo. Truly, it was a pairing of my favorite Dessen stories, and it warmed my heart. In October 2013, I actually flew down to Nashville to see Dessen (and many others) speak at the Southern Festival of Books. She shared that Just Listen had been really hard for her to write, and that Remy and Dexter gave her some comfort during a hard story. I was shocked – how could that amazing book have been so hard to write?! I cannot tell you how glad I am that she did – or how glad I am that Remy & Dex made a stop in to say hey, and let us know that everyone still Hates Spinnerbait.

World of Waffles: Also in Just Listen, there’s a trip to World of Waffles – a massively important place that I TOTALLY SHOULD’VE LISTED BUT FORGOT ABOUT YESTERDAY. And it’s super important in The Truth About Forever. It’s the place where things come together and fall apart. So I loved that, when Owen took Annabel there, we get a glimpse of “a blonde girl with a hairband around her wrist” and a “guy with a tattoo on his arm” in running clothes: aka Wes and Macy. It makes me so happy to know that Macy runs again after TTAF. Love that chick. (Also, World of Waffles is seen in This Lullaby).

GOTCHA: Another TTAF reference, particularly regarding Wes and his younger brother, Bert. When this game was introduced – one person hides and tries to scare another by yelling “Gotcha!” – I laughed throughout the book. So childish, so simple, yet oh so fun. When these two guys were mentioned briefly in The Moon and More, it just felt nice to hear their names – even if I did think making them Luke’s cousins was a tiny bit of a stretch. But I digress. This reference happened very early in the story, so it really gave me something to hold on to. It had been a while since I’d read a Dessen book (I didn’t reread her previous one much), and it was exciting to have that bit of creature comfort right from the beginning. Luckily, Emaline was a badass, and the book continued on comforting me. And now, my favorite:

Jason: Macy’s initial boyfriend, Jason, is pretty much a big douche in TTAF. When we first see him again in Along for the Ride, he’s still a self-centered douche who bails on Auden last minute – TWICE! But then we get to see him again in What Happened to Goodbye. If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m not a huge fan of WHTG (which devastates me to say). I didn’t really connect to McLean or her story. What I did love about that book, though, was Jason. Jason, Type A-extraordinaire, super genius, is now a cook. A COOK. He’s still a genius, but he’s a Harvard dropout. I LOVE that twist on his life. I love that he got a clue. He decided he wanted more than just intellectual success, and he chased that – whatever it meant. For me, he provided such a spark to WHTG. And it made me so happy to know that he did achieve happiness, even if it wasn’t in the way he expected.

Well, I blew through Saint Anything – and upped my page total to over 5,000 on the year! – and loved the crossovers and reminders Sarah Dessen gave in the book. I won’t spoil them here, you’ll need to read to learn! There’s only 12 books of hers, easy peasy!

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