Today we have a special summer edition of our feature So I Say Thank You For The Books…. Featuring the lovely Jess of Jess Hearts Books
I’d always loved stories from a young age particularly fantasy stories about faraway worlds like Narnia and Harry Potter. However when I hit my early teens I stopped reading. I was going through a typical case of “frenemies” at school and found that I couldn’t relate to my favourite stories anymore where friendship was true, and good always over came evil, so I simply stopped reading and instead would watch TV or read magazines. Partly due to depression with what was going on at school and partly because those kind of books where everything always turned out good in the end lost there appeal to me.
So it was summer time and I was so grateful not to have to go into school every day and face this group of bitchy girls who called themselves my friends. I particularly was thankful for my family’s 2 week planned holiday to Devon in England to escape from the town I was having so many problems in. I was a big reader of teen magazines and asked my mum to pick me up the latest edition of Mizz for me to browse through on the journey down there. It just so happened that in this summer edition Mizz were giving away a free summer read and that was Last Chance by Sarah Dessen.
I wasn’t that fussed about the book at first and put it aside whilst I read my magazine. An hour into the journey and I was done and so turned my attention to the book. At the time I’d never heard of nor read anything by Sarah Dessen before and wasn’t greatly aware of the contemporary teen fiction out there that didn’t base itself around fantasy worlds and was about teens facing real life problems. For those of you who don’t know Last Chance is about a girl called Colie who spends her summer at the beach town Colby. During that summer she gains confidence with who she is and makes true friends when she finally learns to let the right people in. I absolutely devoured this book and it became like my summer bible for the remainder of the holiday. Sarah Dessen writes beautiful coming of age stories with some amazing quotes that I could really relate to at that point in my life.
When I got home from my holiday where I’d been reading Last Chance and rebuilding my confidence. Through Colie’s courage I once again found my own and told these “friends” who were making my life miserable where to go and met a bunch of new friends who where TRUE friends. For the remainder of that summer I changed my life around, grew in confidence, meet new people and of course read all of Sarah’s other books and re kindled my love of reading as well as develop a passion for YA contemporary fiction which still remains my favourite genre to date.
Sarah Dessen is not only one of my very favourite authors but she also saved my life. When I was between the ages of 15 to 18 I was in a physically and mentally abusive relationship. Sarah has a novel called Dreamland about a girl who is being abused by her boyfriend and I cannot begin to tell you how much reading Dreamland effected me. It made me feel less alone in the situation and it also gave me the courage to tell my parents what was going on and to break up with my boyfriend. If I hadn’t of read Dreamland who knows if I would have found the courage and strength to get past such a horrible time in my life.
Sarah Dessen and her books have had a huge impact on my life right from the first book I ever read by her to years later with Caitlin from Dreamland to me feeling like the only person who knew exactly what I was going through with my boyfriend. I’ve literally grew up with Sarah’s books and my passion for books and blogging would not be what they are today without her. Hell my life probably wouldn’t be the same without her and for that I owe her the biggest thank you.
Wow, Jess thanks so much for sharing such a personal post with us. Amazing to hear how an author and books can have such a positive affect.