North Carolina author Sarah Dessen has been writing for teens since 1996, long before high-profile books like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games pushed young-adult literature into the hands of adults and onto movie-theater screens. Along the way, Dessen has won a slew of awards and climbed to the top of The New York Times bestseller list, cementing her status as queen of contemporary teen literature. This week, just days after the release of her 10th novel, What Happened to Goodbye, Dessen will visit Utah for the first time for a reading and signing.
Goodbye follows McLean, who, in the wake of her parents’ high-profile divorce, has moved with her father from town to town, reinventing herself at each new locale. Dessen’s books feature well-drawn, realistic female protagonists, and while she’s not afraid to tackle the tough issues that face young women—domestic violence, eating disorders, teen pregnancy—she avoids the “problem novel” label, thanks to her unerring ability to capture day-to-day conversations, observations and experiences that make stories whole.