Authors Like Sarah Dessen (11+ Fantastic Fiction Recommendations)

Sarah Dessen is a successful American author. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She was born and raised in Illinois before graduating from the University of North Carolina.

Authors Like Sarah Dessen (11+ Fantastic Fiction Recommendations)

She started writing novels in the 90s and her first novel named That Summer was published in 1996. She has published over a dozen novels since then.

Sarah Dessen has won a few awards for her work. She won the Margaret Edwards Award and the film How To Deal was made from adaptations of two of her novels.

Dessen’s novels were popular from the start of her career, but it wasn’t until the 2006 release of the novel Just Listen that she was able to become a full-time writer.

She is best known for the novel Along For The Ride which was published in 2009 and made the New York Times bestseller list. She is known for writing a lot of best-selling novels.

If you love Sarah Dessen’s work then you will also love the work of some similar authors. Some authors similar to Sarah Dessen are Morgan Matson, Jessi Kirby and Sarah Ockler.

Books By Sarah Desse

That Summer

Sarah Dessen is a young adult author. She has been writing books in this genre for many years.

Her novels are mostly based on teenagers, and the language that the books are written in is very easy to read and heartwarming. The novels are light and have very memorable endings. 

Dessen has won lots of awards for her novels over the years. 7 of her novels have been in the selection for the Best Fiction for Young Adults by ALA.

This includes her first novel That Summer. Along For The Ride was also one of these selections in 2010. 

She was also a winner of the School Library Journal Best Book Award for Keeping The Moon.

Sarah Dessen’s Themes And Writing Style

Sarah Dessen’s Themes And Writing Style

Dessen has spoken about the themes in her books and she describes them as ‘effortless perfection’.

This refers to the idea that the girls in her book have the chance to have friends, be good students and look good very easily.

The novels all start off with you relating to the main character, but as the book progresses, the reader will realize that it is okay if you don’t have everything together. 

The themes in most of her novels center around honesty and trust. This is clear in her book Just Listen. In this book, you see Annabel having lost friendships due to not being truthful. She learns that it is important to be honest.

Authors Like Sarah Dessen

There are many authors similar to Sarah Dessen.

Morgan Matson

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour

Morgan Matson is a New York Times bestselling author in America. She usually writes under her pseudonym which is Katie Finn. She is very similar to Sarah Dessen.

If you are a lover of Sarah Dessen’s work then you will definitely love Katie Finn! 

Morgan Matson used her pseudonym a few times but she started releasing novels under her own name, too.

Her most successful novels have been the ones that she released under the name Morgan Matson. Matson has won many different awards for her work.

If you want to read some of Matson’s work you should start off with Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour.

This novel was published in 2010 and it made the ALA list of the best books for young readers. It was also shortlisted for the Waterstone Award. 

Second Chance Summer is another novel that was very successful by Matson. It was inspired by her own experience of summers in Pocono Mountain and she won a few different awards for this novel.

Like Sarah Dessen, Morgan Matson writes in the young adult fiction category. You will see many of the same themes running through both of these works.


  • Morgan is still releasing many novels and she has two lined up for the next two years. If you want to read novels similar to Sarah Dessen, Morgan Matson will continue to provide this for you.


  • Morgan Matson sometimes involves themes in her novels that are a bit different to the themes of Sarah Dessen. If you are looking to experience this then you should ensure that you are aware of the themes in these novels.

Themes: young adult, finding love, finding yourself

Jessi Kirby

The Other Side of Lost

Jessi Kirby was an English teacher and librarian before becoming a full-time writer. She lives in California with her two children and her husband. She likes to write stories and spends a lot of time on the beach.

Jessi Kirby’s first work Moonglass was named ABA New Voices Pick. Kirby has written 6 books in total including The Other Side Of Lost and The Secret History of Us.

Jessi gets most of her inspiration from the beautiful scenery that she lives around. She was drawn to the beach which is where she finds that she has the most creative power.

She relocated to a small beach area known as Crystal Cove where she set her first novel Moonglas. This is when she was able to stop her work as a teacher and transition to become a part time librarian.

From here, she could follow her dream as a writer. 

The Secret History Of Us was published in 2017 and it follows a girl who wakes up after an accident.

Jessi Kirby writes in the romance genre. While this is not the same genre as Sarah Dessen, these books are aimed towards young adults.

You can see many of the themes of Sarah Dessen run through the work of Jessi Kirby as well.


  • Jessi Kirby is a very passionate writer and she brings a lot of interesting ideas to the role.
  • She has been writing and releasing novels for a while now and she has written 6 over the years for you to enjoy.


  • Jessi Kirby writes in the romance genre so if you enjoy her work because of her young adult aim, then these books may not be for you.
  • While her books are still suitable for young adults, they lean more towards the romance idea.

Themes: romance, finding your way in life, secrecy

Sarah Okler

Twenty Boy Summer

Sarah Ockler is a bestselling American author who lives in New York City. She has written 6 young adult novels. She is best known for the novel Twenty Boy Summer.

This novel was very successful and it has been translated into many different languages. 

Sarah has won several different awards including the ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults. She has also been on the Girls’ Life Top 100 Must Reads list.

Sarah has been writing for many years. She wrote her first novel at the age of 6. This was an adaptation of Steven Spielberg’s E.T. Sarah lives in New York and spends a lot of time in nature.

She finds her inspiration from going on cross-country road trips and she loves spending time with her husband, Alex.

Like Sarah Dessen, Sarah Okler writes in the young adult fiction genre. There are many themes that crossover and run through the work of both of these authors.


  • Sarah’s writing is very creative and she has won lots of different awards for her work. She is a very powerful writer in this genre.


  • Sarah Okler has only written 6 novels. If you are looking for someone with a wide range of work then you may want to look elsewhere.

Themes: young adult, fiction, friendship, summer fling

Final Thoughts

There are many authors similar to Sarah Dessen. These include Sarah Okler, Jessi Kirby and Morgan Matson. In this article, you will have explored the work of Sarah Dessen, as well as the works of the similar authors listed.

If you love the work of Sarah Dessen and you’re looking for something similar to read, you should give some of the novels in this article a read! I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Authors Are Similar To Sarah Dessen?

There are many authors that are similar to Sarah Dessen. These include Sarah Okler, Morgan Matson and Jessi Kirby.

They all write novels that are fairly similar to other authors of the same genre and contain the themes of other Sarah Dessen novels.

What Genre Does Sarah Dessen Write?

Sarah Dessen is a young adult fiction author. Her novels often have aspects of romance and other themes, too. 

Where Was Sarah Dessen Born?

Sarah Dessen was born in Illinois. She was born in 1970 to her parents Cynthia and Alan Dessen. They were both professors at the University of North Carolina.

They both taught Shakespearean Literature and classics at this university.

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Anna Davis