Monday, July 19, 2010

Summer of Sarah: This Lullaby (+ Contest)

This summer Sarah-land, Sarah Dessen's social networking site, is hoping to better connect readers to her, generate discussion and interest in her backlist titles, and help her fans with the anticipation of  her next title in 2011, What Happened to Goodbye, by launching Summer of Sarah, a nine week long event.

This week's book is This Lullaby, one of my favorite Dessen books, and to celebrate this not only will I be giving away a copy of it here, but on Sarah-Land there will be trivia questions and quotes specific to This Lullaby for a chance to win a signed copy of the novel. (Sarah-Land also has additional chances to win Lock & Key necklaces in challenges throughout the summer!)

Though, before we get to that, here's Sarah talking about This Lullaby (source:
Raised by a mother who's had five husbands, eighteen-year-old Remy believes in short-term, no-commitment relationships until she meets Dexter, a rock band musician.

Okay. So that, in one sentence, is how my publisher sums up This Lullaby, my new novel. It’s funny how someone else is so able to do that. Whenever anyone asks me what any of my books are about I find myself fumbling and mumbling like an idiot before delivering some really long boring explanation that always begins with “Well, it’s about this girl….”. The above sentence is much, much better. Trust me.

There are few things I can tell you about this book. First, I think it’s different from the others. Most of my other narrators are quieter, more introspective types: they hang back watching everything, processing it, and reporting on the drama of their showier, more outgoing friends. (Think Casey in That Summer, Rina in Dreamland, Isabel in Keeping the Moon, that kind of thing.) I was kind of struggling with my writing last winter and one of my friends, trying to help, said something about how maybe I should try something different. “You know,” she said, “you always have these dynamic friends in your books. Maybe you should write from that point of view, just for a change.”

I thought this was the stupidest thing I’d ever heard. God, I was NEVER the dynamic friend, I thought, I was a total wall-hugger, like I’d ever know how to do that. I was so annoyed, in fact, that I couldn’t stop thinking about this, and within a few weeks I had something. Just a little germ of an idea, but it was more than I’d been able to come up with in a while. So I sat down, tossed up one of those Oh Well looks that always precedes a novel, and out came Remy. Just like that, I could see her. Hear her. She was kind of bitchy, kind of cold, and was sure she had everything figured out. I couldn’t wait to see her proved wrong.

This Lullaby is also, essentially, a love story. And while I’ve had subplots about relationships and their ups and downs in other books, in this one I really wanted to see if I could take love, and all the crap that goes along with it, and make it the center. Plus it’s a summer book: set in that wonderful stretch from June to August when it just seems like everything is possible. Dreamland, my last book, had been so heavy, so emotional. I was ready for something a little lighter, but that still had something to say.

Basically, this is a story about faith. Faith in love (bear with me here) and just faith in general. Remy’s tragic flaw, of sorts, is that she’s afraid to take a chance on something she can’t guarantee. She wants hard proof, facts, a mathematical equation where X equals Y, before she’ll even begin to think about taking any kind of risk. But what she learns---what we all learn, eventually---is that the living is in the leaping. Sometimes, you just have to close your eyes, and jump.

So. There you have it. Five paragraphs to say what someone else can summarize in a single sentence. (But then again, I always overexplain. It’s my trademark.) What else can you expect in This Lullaby? Well. There’s some songs about potatoes. Diet Coke comes up quite a bit. And oh, yeah, a character from Someone Like You turns up to make a little cameo appearance, a thank you to everyone who has written to ask if I’d ever go back for a sequel. As for the rest, you’ll just have to read the book. And when you do, let me know what you think it’s about.

I’ll be waiting.
And once again, if you are a Sarah Dessen fan be sure to check out Sarah-land! It really is an awesome website, plus it's having a bunch of really great challenges and contests this summer. You can click below to join or look around.

Visit Sarah-land

*For any Twitter mentions the hash is #sarahland *

Also, here's a summery type video with Sarah giving us all a tour of Emerald Isle, the town where she based Along for the Ride's setting on:

If you would like to win a copy of This Lullaby, please fill out the following form.

Also, as with any contest there are rules:

~ Must be 13 or older to enter.
~ Open to participants with an United States mailing address only. (international readers can enter if they have a friend in the States who can accept their prizes by mail)
~ Don't comment below to enter or you will not be entered!
~ This contest will close on July 26 with the winner being announced July 27 or 28.

(And don't forget to head over to Sarah-land as well for an extra chance to win!)


  1. Thanks for the contest, this one sounds great, I've never read any of her work before.

  2. I just bought this book last week so I don't need to be entered into the contest (which is great by the way) but I wanted to stop by and say that I'm loving all of these Summer of Sara Dessen posts.

    I have this book coming soon and cannot wait to read it. I've read and loved all of the SD books that I've read and am a huge fan of hers now.

    Keep up the good work!

  3. Great post! I love reading about how an author got their ideas.


  4. Yay-I love This Lullaby (one of my favorite books) and I'm glad for this insight to how Dessen wrote it

  5. Hi Sara, Enjoyed your interview and your words as to how you wrote this book (Lullaby). Thanks for dropping by to chat.

    Thanks for this great giveaway and opportunity to enter.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com


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