If you’re a Sarah Dessen fan, then meeting her is considered a big deal.
When I was twelve years old, my mom gave me my very first Dessen novel. After reading it, I immediately fell in love with her writing style and the stories in which she told. I knew then, at a young age, that if I were to ever meet an author, should would be the one I would want to meet.
Fast forward several years and at the age of 22, just days before my 23rd birthday, I had the opportunity to travel to her home town of Chapel Hill, NC (only a few hours away from where I live) to see her make a guest appearance along side author, Jenny Han.
To say I was excited would be an understatement (just ask my friend & fellow blogger, Dizneeee, who accompanied me on this grand adventure). I managed to contain my excitement (for the most part) as we drove the 3 hours it takes to get to Flyleaf books, but the second I walked into that book store, I realized my dream of meeting Sarah Dessen was about to come true. And…I cried.
Yep, I did indeed. I stood by the table with all of her books and just started crying. Now, it wasn’t a nasty cried, just a few tears here and there. Make fun of me if you will, but those who really know me, know just how special this moment was to me. Let me explain…
As a young girl, tween, and into my teenage years, I was always shy & kept to myself. I didn’t make a big deal out of things because I didn’t like to be the center of attention. I was one of those kids who mostly watched what was happening all around me and kept my thoughts and comments to myself. As I started entering those “awkward years”, I started to feel invisible & like I didn’t matter. At school, I had a few friends, but didn’t feel the need to be popular or stand out. I enjoyed reading and did so whenever I had the opportunity. Whether it was before class started, during lunch, and even during free period. I preferred to be at the back of the room with my nose in a good book. Sarah Dessen’s books helped me through a lot of struggles I had to overcome during those teen years. Her characters were ones I could relate to and felt as if I could call them my friends. Her books were home to me and now, as a 24 year old, I still consider them so.
Sarah Dessen gave me a voice when I felt like I didn’t have one. Her books inspire me & have encouraged me to pursue my dream of writing. To this day, I will always look forward to one of her books & one day, when I have a daughter of my own, I cannot wait to share my Dessen collection with her.
Now, back to my very first Dessen meeting.
After I composed myself from my little crying session, I sat front row while Jenny and Sarah discussed all things Carolina Tar Heels, Jenny’s new book (at the time) and what Sarah was working on. I was on cloud nine. I’m sure I had a stupid grin my face, but at least I was enjoying myself & taking in everything happening.
When it came time for book signings, Lisa and I sat back and chatted while others got their books signed. We did this on purpose so I could really enjoy meeting her and talking to her before we got back in the car to drive home. Finally, after what seemed like forever, it was our turn. I managed to say hi and introduce myself without tripping over my words, however I did tear up a bit. Lisa stepped in and helped explain how much meeting her truly meant to me. Sarah was so incredibly kind! We hugged, bonded over our shared love of GMA and Target, and talked books. It was fabulous! And then time came to take a picture and I froze. So in my very first picture with Sarah Dessen, I look happy, yet a little frightened of getting close to her. (Remember: I’ve always been shy).
Since that fabulous first time meeting Sarah Dessen, I’ve had the opportunity to meet/see her three other times! And each time I get a little more comfortable, but still can’t help but fangirl.
After all…it is Sarah Dessen.
PS. Stay tuned for my part 2 of the “I Love Sarah Dessen” Blog Tour on Wednesday when I share my thoughts her latest, Saint Anything!
Thank you so much to Joli @ Actin’ Up with Books for organizing this fabulous blog event & for hosting a giveaway!
Giveaway open internationally.