Ranking Sarah Dessen's Books

I have read almost Sarah Dessen book (minus two), and I have loved every single one. So, I decided to rank them. This ranking does not include her novella or her newest book, as I have not read them. Every other book is fair game, however. The ranking is done from best to worst, with 1 being the best and 12 being the worst. 

  1. 1. Just Listen 

    This was the first book I read of hers and for that, it will always hold a special place in my heart and hold the number one spot. Annabelle's journey throughout the book and her realization of what friendship and sisterhood means are breathtaking. Her romantic relationship with Owen is a major plus, too. 

    Book Summary From WikipediaJust Listen follows Annabel who seems to be the girl who has everything: a best friend, a good reputation and she models. After a misunderstanding between Annabel and her best friend, she loses everything and has to start the new high school year alone. This is when she meets Owen who helps her out of her comfort zone and reveals her true self.

  2. 2. Lock and Key

    Like Just Listen, I have reread this book a thousand times over. It never gets old. Ruby's experiences are not relatable to my own, but her spirit was so interesting and inspiring. The story of what family really means, and having families of choice, is the best part of this book. It rests at two because Just Listen really is that good. 

    Book Summary From WikipediaLock and Key introduces Ruby who was abandoned by her mother and sent to live with a family member where she learns the difference between being given help and being able to accept it.

  3. 3. What Happened to Goodbye

    Listen, all of the top three books chosen are just really, really good. What Happened to Goodbye is probably the most relatable, as McLean's way of dealing with her issues is a dream some of us have. This book also discusses families of choice and what family can really mean when you have divorced parents who don't get along. It rests at three because Lock and Key and Just Listen have slightly better readability. 

    Book Summary From WikipediaWhat Happened to Goodbye allows us to take a look at Mclean Sweet's life and why she would like to make things different. She lived in a small town with her family when they found out her mother had been having an affair, and ever since all Mclean wanted to do was change the things about her life she didn't like, but couldn't do so easily because everyone knows everything in her hometown.

  4. 4. Along for the Ride

    Along for the Ride speaks directly to my insomniac heart. Auden deals with a bunch of family drama - a common theme in Dessen's books if you haven't gotten that already. Auden's relationship with her parents and how it shifts and grows is so rewarding to witness. It's one of my favorites and her wild lifestyle is one that I strive to achieve. 

    Book Summary From Wikipedia: Along for the Ride is focused on Auden, whose life starts to fall apart left and right and is losing her sense of direction. She forms a new bond with her baby half-sister and takes her on many midnight walks where she learns that there is a whole other world out there when the rest of the world is sleeping


  5. 5. Someone Like You

    This one was really hard to place, and I almost switched it with Dreamland. This story features Halley and Scarlett, and their inseparable friendship in times of hardship. Halley's and Scarlett's friendship is so inspiring and it shows, in all of its cheesiness, what family and friendship truly are. 

    Book Summary from WikipediaSomeone Like You was based on a true friendship that gets tested when life takes a turn for the worse. Halley and Scarlett have always been best friends but their friendship is tested when Scarlett's boyfriend is killed and she learns she is carrying his baby, which is when she needs Halley more than ever. 

  6. 6. Dreamland

    Dreamland,  I think, has the best message out of any of her novels. Caitlin, the main character, is a girl that everyone knows in their real lives. Her experiences and relationship with her abusive boyfriend serve as a warning to women everywhere that distracting yourself doesn't solve your problems - and that you deserve the world.

    Book Summary From WikipediaDreamland explores the life of Caitlin and her chaotic relationships between her family, friends, and boyfriend. She eventually learns that, despite looking up to her, her older sister is not perfect, being her boyfriend's victim does not mean she is weak, and that being herself is the best thing she can do.

  7. 7. Keeping the Moon/Last Chance

    This book always flies under the radar for me, and I often forget how good it is until I reread it. Colie's journey in this book is a necessary one, as it confronts how when everything in your life sucks, telling life that it sucks may not be the most effective strategy. It also teaches the strength of female friendships and how society may tell you one thing about yourself, but you don't have to be what society tells you to be.

    Book Summary From WikipediaKeeping the Moon (also known as Last Chance) focuses on self-esteem issues that children experience when they are different from others. Colie has been bullied for being overweight but it takes others' kind words to help her realize she is beautiful inside and out.

  8. 8. The Moon and More

    Now, here's the point where we get to the books where I either a) don't remember the plot or how I felt about it or b) was meh about. This book seemed a little too cliche because of Emmaline, the main character, whose main conflict is that she meets a guy who says that her life is too perfect and she should leave. It's kind of a dumb story, but the ending is pretty sweet, so it stay at number eight.

    Book Summary from WikipediaThe Moon and More introduces Emaline who has lived in Colby her whole life with her 'perfect' boyfriend until she meets Theo, an ambitious outsider from New York, who thinks Emaline is too smart for Colby. He tries to convince her that she needs to leave Colby and move to where she fits in, but if she already has perfect, why would she want more?

  9. 9. The Truth About Forever

    I always forget this one of her books. It has a very important theme, but every time I reread it, I forget all about what happened. It's an interesting tale about grief and how grief changes a person, but I somehow always manage to forget it. That being said, Macy's journey from grieving continuously for her father to changing to living for her father, is really sweet. 

    Book Summary From WikipediaThe Truth About Forever is about a character going through the loss of her father. It takes her perception of the way her peers live their lives to understand that she was shutting herself out from the world and she wants to start living for her father.

  10. 10. Saint Anything

    This is one of her newest books and it's this low because I can't really remember anything super big about it. The premise is by far the most creative on this list - Sydney's older brother is in prison for drunk driving and manslaughter - but nothing particularly happens until the end, when Peyton's best friend appears. I won't spoil anything, but that's where the story really gets good. Additionally, Sydney's family of choice is such a sweet one. 

    Book Summary From WikipediaSaint Anything shows us that Sydney's older brother, Peyton, used to be the star child of the family until he was involved in a drunk driving accident and everyone is worried about him while Sydney's the only one worried about the victim of the accident. It isn't until she meets Mac who makes her feel like she's noticed for the first time.

  11. 11. This Lullaby 

    This Lullaby was interesting, but I found Remy very annoying and I also found her mother annoying. Remy spends most of the book struggling with whether or not love is real because of her mother's multiple failed marriages, but the whole thing is kind of eh. It misses the last spot, but only because I remember what happens in this book. 

    Book Summary From Wikipedia: This Lullaby introduces us to eighteen-year-old Remy who learns to have faith. At the beginning of the book, she is afraid of taking chances because she is unsure of the outcome. Throughout the book, she learns that sometimes you have to leap to take a risk, and she enjoys the rush that comes from the leaping

  12. 12. That Summer

    Oh, That Summer, I literally don't remember reading you at all. Like, at all. Apparently, the main character is Haven, who is dealing with her sister's engagement, but I learned that from Wikipedia. It's also Dessen's first novel, so I'm going to guess it is probably not as good as her other books. 

    Book Summary from Wikipedia:  That Summer was the novel fixed upon teenagers living with changes they could not control. The moral of the story is to help influence the audience come to terms with their past, accept the present and look forward to the future.​

I would recommend any of Sarah Dessen's books to everyone because they all have really great messages that feature excellent, strong, flawed female protagonists. If you haven't read a book by her, please change that.

Have you read any of Dessen's books? Do you agree with my ranking? Let me know down below!