My Goodbye Letter To Sarah Dessen

There has been a lot of speculation about Once and For All being Sarah Dessen's final novel, and as much as I want to completely deny the claims I've been seeing, I think the time has finally come -- but there's always still hope. After all, Saint Anything was supposed to be her last book, and then we got surprised with Once and For All. So let me just be clear here: I, in no way, shape, or form, know if Sarah Dessen is done writing novels. But based on the speculation, I just wanted to write a goodbye and thank you letter just in case. If any of you are Sarah Dessen fans, I'm sure you'll agree with how amazing and adorable (and yes, even heartbreaking) her books have been over the years! So without further ado, here I go:

Dear Sarah,

You have no idea who I am, but I still have so much to thank you for. My name is Jessica, and I'm almost twenty years old, but I have been a fan of your stories for as long as I can remember. I even remember when I first read one of your books -- it was a pristine copy of Lock & Key that a neighbor picked up for me and left on my coffee table because they knew I loved reading and figured I'd enjoy it. (By the way, said neighbor was right, because she introduced me to an entire world of your stories that I would come to know and love.)

Growing up, while my friends were eagerly racing to record stores to get copies of their favorite bands' newest albums, I was at our public library, excitedly watching the (somewhat annoyed) librarian unbox copies of your new books to put out for patrons -- and I had to be the first one to grab it, of course. I spent countless summers toting well-worn paperbacks with your name stamped on front to beaches, festivals, backyard parties, and secret reading spots where nobody would bother me. I spent countless hours of my life with your stories, emerging myself in the dramatic, romance-filled lives of all of your characters. I gasped, I laughed, I cried, and most importantly, I loved them. I loved every single story, every ounce of drama, every swoon-worthy romance, and read each book to its very last page. And then, when the time came, I forced myself to part with some of your stories and pass them on to other friends and readers that I thought would enjoy them. After all, I'm a firm believer that one of the points of books is to read them, love them, and then share them with somebody else so they can have the same experience. So, naturally, your books have traveled through my little island neighborhood multiple times while I grew up. (And to be entirely honest, I don't know where they all are anymore. They can be halfway across the world at this point -- because everyone I know who loved them continued to pass them on too!)

You were, in a sense, my childhood hero. I've wanted to be a writer from the minute I learned how to spell my name, but I grew up thinking that it wouldn't be possible to be truly successful in the field, and that nobody would ever love my stories and much as they loved John Green's or J.K. Rowling's...but boy, was I wrong. Seeing you come out with story after story pushed me to further myself as a writer, and as friends around me starting picking up your books and falling in love with them too, I found myself surrounded with people to talk to about your latest stories -- people to cry and laugh over the words with. 

I read my first book by you when I was just nine years old -- and now, I'm almost twenty. Sarah Dessen books have been a constant as I grew up, changed schools, finding my way in the world, graduated, headed off to college, and even as I started falling in love. I grew up alongside your books, always reading them, loving them, and anticipating the next one. So thank you for that.

So if Once and For All really was your last book, I'd just like to thank you for all of the years of stories, laughter, drama, and love that your writing has given me. And if it wasn't...then I'm eagerly anticipating your next read, and I can't wait to be standing at my library's circulation desk once again, bugging the elderly librarians to give me your book first, because, like I've said, your stories were my childhood -- and even as I grow up, I want to take my childhood along with me.

Thank you for everything.


What Happened to Goodbye Along for the Ride Lock and Key Just ListenThe Truth About Forever This Lullaby Keeping the Moon Someone Like YouThat Summer Once and For All Saint Anything The Moon and More

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