Dessen, Sarah. Once and for All.

NY: Viking, 2017.

Dessen’s latest YA novel easily maintains the high standards set by its predecessors. The protagonist in each of her books is usually part of an unusual setting, which adds interest for the reader in addition to her romantic adventures. At seventeen, Louna Barrett has been deeply immersed in the wedding business for nearly a decade, thanks to her mother’s busy schedule. “A Natalie Barrett Wedding” is always a big deal and usually pretty expensive, so the pressure is always on.


Published in: on 29 December 2017 at 9:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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Dessen, Sarah. That Summer.

NY: MacRae Books, 1996.

I discovered Dessen’s Young Adult novels awhile back and was taken with her abilities as a storyteller. She’s done about fifteen of them now, all of them very popular, and I had been reading them pretty much at random. I decided it was time to go back to her first published effort to see how her work had evolved.

Haven McPhail is fifteen, a high school sophomore somewhere in the southeast U.S., and she’s very tall. It’s now late summer and she’s grown four inches just since April, putting her a hair under six feet. This is one of the three main facts of her life.


Published in: on 8 August 2017 at 5:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Haddon, Mark. A Spot of Bother.

NY: Doubleday, 2006.

I was very impressed with Haddon’s first novel, the award-winning Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. This one is about as different as it’s possible to be, and it’s also pretty impressive. George Hall is in his sixties, a retired builder of playground equipment, who has always been a little off-center in his method of dealing with life. Mostly, he tries to ignore things that make him uncomfortable — even more than your typical Englishman. Things like potential jetliner crashes and the possibility of dying of cancer.


Published in: on 10 April 2011 at 5:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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