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Sarah Dessen
The author of 11 YA books about various teenage protagonists as they deal with growing up.

Sarah Dessen's novels are, in order:

  • That Summer (1996)
  • Someone Like You (1998)
    • That Summer and Someone Like You became the inspiration for the 2003 film How to Deal starring Mandy Moore and Allison Janney.
  • Keeping the Moon (called Last Chance in the UK) (1999)
  • Dreamland (2000)
  • This Lullaby (2002)
  • The Truth About Forever (2004)
  • Just Listen (2006)
  • Lock and Key (2008)
  • Along for the Ride (2009)
  • What Happened to Goodbye (2011)
  • The Moon and More (2013)
  • Saint Everything (2015)

Sarah Dessen's books provide examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Ruby's mother Also Nate's father Blake from Lock and Key.
  • Academic Alpha Bitch: The girls at the library info desk, Bethany and Amanda.
  • Adults Are Useless: Annabel's parents have no idea Whitney has an eating disorder until she freaks out at a family dinner (and numerous hints were dropped by Kirsten. They also don't know Annabel was molested by Will Cash until near the end.
  • Affably Evil: Will Cash.
    • Nate's dad plays the perfect neighbour in public, but behind closed doors he verbally and physically abuses Nate. Ruby also catches him trying to hurt Cora's dog, Roscoe.
  • The Alcoholic: Ruby's mother.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Halley for Macon in Someone Like You.
    • Caitlin and Rogerson in Dreamland. At least, at first.
  • Alpha Bitch: Sophie from Just Listen.
    • Caroline Dawes in Keeping the Moon. Bea Williamson is an adult version.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: In-Universe in The Truth About Forever. Everyone views Monica as an unfeeling slacker. Her sister Kristy, however, believes that she purposefully closes herself off from people due to survivor's guilt for not being in the car crash that scarred Kristy and killed their mother. We are never given definitive answers for this, but it's implied that Kristy is right.
    • In-Universe in That Summer as the Mc Phail women attempt to decipher the actions of their father's new wife, Lorna. Haven thinks she's mostly mean with a hint of stupid, Ashley doesn't think she's mean at all, just really stupid.
  • Always Someone Better: Macy believes this about Amanda and Bethany, two other girls who work at the library, until Kristy points out otherwise.
    • Haven feels her older sister Ashley is this.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Halley's dad in Someone Like You gets a job hosting the local radio, where he tells humiliating stories about Halley that her school hears. Not to mention her mother publishes books about her and Halley's relationship. It's a large factor in why their relationship is so precarious.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Mallory, Owen's little sister in Just Listen. Owen thinks she's annoying, Annabel thinks she's cute. Also, even though she is only a baby, Thisbe in Along for the Ride.
    • Jake in Along For the Ride.
  • Anti-Hero: Auden and Ruby are the most obvious examples, particularly the latter.
  • Armour Piercing Question: Near the end of Someone Like You, Halley ends up in the hospital because of Macon's bad driving. When he shows up at Halley's house, she promptly breaks up with him, not only for that but also constantly pressuring her to have sex with him. When she goes back inside, her mother immediately starts yelling at her, telling Halley she won't let her ruin her life because of Macon and threatens to transfer her to another school. Halley interrupts her with, "Why don't you ask me what I said to him?"
    • In The Truth About Forever, Macy and Wes bond over asking one another these types of questions. Since she reveals her biggest secret to him so early on, Macy feels much more comfortable with him than anyone. Near the end she asks him what he would do if he could do anything and he doesn't answer her. Later she has him ask her the same question and her answer is to kiss him.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Clarke in Just Listen.
    • Subverted with Daisy in The Moon and More. She's super smart but is not very nerdy.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Averted.
    • Someone Like You: Scarlett faces being ostracized in school when she decides to keep Micheal's baby
    • The Truth About Forever: Delia's pregnancy causes problems for her catering business (and she sometimes neglects her toddler, Lucy, as well)
    • Along for the Ride: Auden is initially irritated and wary of Thisbe. Also, the stress of caring for a newborn is putting serious pressure on her dad and Heidi's marriage, especially because her father refuses to help with most of Thisbe's care.
    • What Happened to Goodbye?: when Mclean's mother has twins with Peter, Mclean feels rejected and resentful of them.
    • The Moon and More: Emaline's back story involves her mother giving up everything to have her while still in high school, including being ostracized by the town, being let down and heartbroken by Emaline's father, and being treated horribly by Emaline's father's family. Her life eventually got better after she grew up and married, but it was a long, painful journey.
  • Bait and Switch: Ruby's mother is reportedly found near the end of the novel, and for a little bit it seems like Ruby is thinking of finding her to confront her, but this never happens.
  • Bastard Boyfriend: Rogerson in Dreamland.
    • Will Cash from Just Listen, but in a different way.
    • Mark, Morgan's fiance in Keeping the Moon.
  • Beast and Beauty: Annabel and Owen in Just Listen are mocked for this when they first begin spending time together.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Subverted with Kristy. Kristy's beauty was completed tarnished by a car accident but the more Macy and others get to know her, they find her inner beauty shining through and don't even notice the scars anymore.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Some between Auden and Eli in Along for the Ride.
    • A whole lot between Mclean's dad and Opal in What Happened to Goodbye
  • Beta Couple: Clarke and Rolly in Just Listen.
    • Hollis and Lauren in Along for the Ride. Heidi and Auden's dad could also count.
    • Mclean's dad and Opal in What Happened to Goodbye?
    • Daisy and Morris in The Moon and More.
  • Big Sister Instinct: They may bicker from time to time, but Kristy does not like people slagging off her sister Monica and defends her at every opportunity, probably because she knows Monica won't.
    • Kirsten to Annabel and Whitney; She defends the latter when Sophie is mean to her the first day they meet, and she's the one who tell their parents about Whitney's eating disorder, even though the latter hates her for it for a while.
    • Cora went out of her way to protect Ruby when they were younger and spent years afterwords trying to get back in contact with her. Then she agrees to take care of her once it becomes clear their mother has abandoned her.
    • Wes is very protective of Bert and claims Bert is what he worries about the most.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Peyton from Lock And Key.
  • Black Best Friend: Olivia in Lock and Key.
  • Brand X: Ume.com, an obvious parallel to Facebook, is mentioned in several of her novels.
    • There's also Park Mart and Big Club, which are not Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.
  • Brainy Brunette: Auden.
    • This runs in her family, apparently.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Gervais in Lock and Key, but he grows out of it.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Yeah, Ronnie Waterman was not the brightest picking a fight with Owen, who knocked him out in one hit.
  • California University: "The U" that is mentioned in all her novels.
  • Camera Fiend: Adam in Along for the Ride.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : In Someone Like You, Scarlett and Michael have sex once. Not only does Scarlett get pregnant from the encounter but Michael dies the next day.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Macy in The Truth about Forever.
  • Catchphrase: Pick a Sarah Dessen novel. Any of them. In every single one of them, the phrase, "I just looked at him/her." will pop up. Also, female characters always seem to be tucking a piece of hair behind their ears.
  • Character Development: Happens in all of the novels. Jason Talbot noticeably develops between Along for the Ride and What Happened to Goodbye.
  • Character Overlap: Frequently. The ones listed below are rare in how explicit the cameos are.
    • Scarlett from Someone Like You appears in This Lullaby.
    • Remy, Dexter, and the The Truth Squad from This Lullaby cameo in Just Listen.
    • Jason Talbot from Truth About Forever reappears in Along For the Ride and What Happened to Goodbye.
    • Heidi and Thisbe from Along For the Ride in What Happened to Goodbye.
    • Auden, Heidi, and Maggie from Along for the Ride show up in The Moon and More.
    • Any story taking place in Colby (Keeping the Moon, Along for the Ride, The Moon and More) is going to have a lot of overlap (like the Last Chance diner, Clementine's boutique, Abe's Bikes, etc.)
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Belissa in Along for the Ride. The strange thing is, she's the one who broke up with Eli.
    • Heather from Lock and Key is an aversion. She broke up with Nate, but still expresses friendly concern for him afterwards to Ruby.
  • Cloudcuckoo Lander: Delia.
    • Clyde from Along for the Ride.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: Subverted with Wes. He is aware of all the girls who check them out, he's just not all interested.
  • Cinderella Circumstances: Ruby in Lock and Key comes from these; she has a poor home life that only gets worse after her mother runs off and abandons her. In something of an inversion of the actual fairy tale, Ruby is rescued from these circumstances in the first chapter and gets what most girls in her situation would give anything for - a better home, money, a new private school, and a cute neighbor who seems to take to her - but is initially resistant and uninterested to all of it.
    • Macy in The Truth About Forever jokes that she's like Cinderella in reverse. She spends her days as the quiet, perfect good girl then at night goes to a Wish catering job that is nonstop mess and chaos only to return home and become the good girl again by midnight.
  • Coming of Age Story
  • Completely Missing the Point: In The Truth About Forever, Jason does not seem to understand when Macy explains you can't know everything that's going to happen in life. He responds to her explanation with, "But of course we'll know. We have a list."
  • Continuity Cameo: See above.
  • Continuity Nod: Her books often mention characters from her previous novels.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Ruby from Lock and Key has an abusive mother, and then it turns out her love interest has an abusive father.
    • Macy from The Truth About Forever loses her father and can't find anyone who can understand her grief. She then takes a job at a catering company with five other people and all five of them have lost a loved one and understand her grief. Four of them even lost a parent.
    • In This Lullaby, Remy's mother has been married an absurdly high amount of times. She starts to bond with her love interest, Dexter, because his mother has been married even more times.
  • Control Freak: Harriet from Lock and Key, big time. It takes her forever to hire someone because she rejects all her applicants on trivial details, spends hours re-doing things she asks Ruby to do to make it "just right" and all she ever thinks about is her business.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Bert blasts Pink Floyd (which she hates) in the van after Kristy ends up making everyone twenty-minutes late. He turns it off pretty quickly, though.
  • Cool Big Sis: Cora in Lock And Key
    • Caroline in The Truth About Forever
    • Kirsten in Just Listen. Whitney takes awhile but eventually becomes this.
    • Emaline to Benji in The Moon and More. Her own older sisters are less cool but still loving.
  • Cool Old Lady: Emaline's grandmother in The Moon and More.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: Thisbe, so very very much. Justified, because she IS a baby.
  • Cry Cute: Invoked in-universe when Remy breaks down in front of Dexter.
    • Happens to Ruby in Lock and Key.
  • Daddy's Girl: Macy in The Truth About Forever.
    • Somewhat zigzagged with Halley in Someone Like You - she initially was very close to her mother but as she grew into a teenager and started drifting apart, her mother becomes more controlling, so Halley finds her father easier to deal with.
    • Ashley in That Summer. Haven is less inclined.
    • Mclean in What Happened to Goodbye?, mainly because she is still resentful of her mother's affair, to the point where she'd rather move around constantly with her father then live with her mother.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Kristy and Monica, surprisingly. Kristy ironically handles it much better then Monica, even though she was the one who was actually in the accident, as opposed to Monica's guilt complex.
    • Ruby in Lock and Key. Her neglectful and sometimes abusive mother treated her horribly throughout her childhood, routinely uprooted her and moved them around constantly, forcibly kept her and her kind older sister Cora apart, and then abandoned her. Ruby lived on her own for a year, supporting herself in near poverty. She finally gets a break when she's discovered and is put into Cora's custody. Cora shares some of this past, mainly the abuse, which she usually took on behalf of the young and defenseless Ruby.
    • Eli. His best friend died in a car crash, and Eli was driving. The accident scarred his arms and caused him to quit bike racing.
  • Declaration of Protection:
    • Cora to Ruby, who would step between her sister and their mother and take the brunt of her abuse. She even does this when Jamie is yelling at Ruby for ditching school and getting drunk, Ruby looks up to see Cora standing inbetween them.
    • Owen seems to have shades of this towards Annabel, especially as he punches Will Cash out after Annabel confesses to him about being molested.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Remy in This Lullaby
    • Macy's mother in The Truth About Forever
    • Auden in Along for the Ride. Same as her mother.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: A few of her novels end with the couple not getting back together.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Kristy is apparently a terrible driver, but we never actually get to see this because everyone in Wish refuses to let her.
    • Heather in What Happened to Goodbye has a reputation for not looking before merging and gets into wrecks frequently.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Ruby in Lock and Key when Cora points out that Ruby was not only abandoned by her mother, but she did everything she could to turn Ruby against her big sister, then left Ruby before Ruby could leave her.
    • Remy does this throughout This Lullaby but doesn't acknowledge it.
  • Dumb Blonde: Rachel in The Truth About Forever. She didn't understand the concept of odd numbers, according to Kristy, when Burt was tutoring her.
  • Dump Them All: On occasion.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Although they still have her signature style, some her early novels are quite different from the formula she would develop with her later novels. Most notable are That Summer, Someone Like You, and Dreamland.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Aunt Mira for Colie and Norman in Keeping the Moon.
    • Delia to Macy and the Wish Crew in The Truth About Forever.
    • Ivy eventually becomes this to Emaline in The Moon and More. She was originally this to Theo.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Auden.
    • Also, Esther from the same novel.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Auden thinks "Penelope" is one.
  • Everyone Can See It: Between Macy and Wes in The Truth About Forever, ignoring how much the former denies it.
    • This trope appears again in Along For the Ride, but interestingly, people seem wary of the potential relationship because of what Eli has already been through.
  • Extreme Doormat: Mclean, at least towards her Dad.
  • Fair Weather Friend: Peyton for Ruby.
  • The Fashionista: Kristy, The Truth About Forever.
    • Chloe in This Lullaby.
    • Daisy in The Moon and More.
    • Opal in What Happened to Goodbye
  • Female Gaze: Wes invokes this in-universe. Kristy dubs it the "Sa-woon."
    • Mclean's dad gets a fair amount of this.
  • Fiery Redhead: Leah from Along for the Ride.
    • Ruby is something of an inversion, being sarcastic and withdrawn.
  • Five-Man Band: The Wish Catering Crew in The Truth About Forever.
  • Former Friend of Alpha Bitch: Annabel and Sophie in Just Listen.
  • Formerly Fat: Colie and her mother in Keeping the Moon.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Caroline in The Truth About Forever.
    • Remy, to an extent.
  • Fragile Flower: Annabel's mother in Just Listen.
  • Genki Girl: Kristy in The Truth About Forever.
    • Maggie in Along for the Ride.
    • Owen's little sister Mallory in Just Listen.
  • Girl Next Door: Ruby is a subversion- she lives next door to Nate, but she does not have the typical personality.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: In Someone Like You, Scarlett is pressured to have an abortion, but she changes her mind at the last minute and keeps the baby.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Kristy's scars are apparently very noticeable and detract from her beauty. However, they are described as being only two, somewhat faded scars and they aren't described in any way that shows them to be all that grotesque. She apparently has other, much worse scars on other parts of her body but those are usually covered up.
  • Hair of Gold: Several of her characters.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Remy and Chloe from This Lullaby.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Halley and Scarlett inSomeone Like You.
    • Isabel and Morgan in Keeping the Moon.
  • Hidden Depths: A part of characterization of the supporting casts (All the people in the Wish Catering Crew in Truth About Forever, especially Monica and Kristy, Maggie and Heidi in Along For the Ride etc.). Debbie in What Happened To Goodbye is a neat example where her Hidden Depths aren't a surprise to Mclean so much as to the other characters who have known her longer.
  • Hot Teacher: Auden's mother teaches at university and has several students drooling over her.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Owen and Annabel, although Annabel isn't short by any means; she just looks so when sitting next to a guy over six feet tall.
  • Ill Girl: Whitney, sort of. She suffers from anorexia/bulimia and it's a major driving point behind the story.
  • Insistent Terminology: Emaline from The Moon and More has both her biological father and stepfather in her life; she calls her biological father "my father" and the man who raised her "my dad". It gets a bit confusing when the three of them are together.
  • Insufferable Genius: Jason Talbot in The Truth About Forever.
    • He shows up again in Along For The Ride and hasn't changed.
    • Looks like there may be hope for him as of What Happened to Goodbye.
    • Bethany and Amanda, the girls who work at the Library Info Desk with Jason.
    • Auden in Along for the Ride, at least at first. See Defrosting Ice Queen above.
  • The Ingenue: Emily in Just Listen, but she's not quite as naive as Annabel thinks.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Auden.
  • Kick the Dog: Almost literally in Lock and Key, Ruby sees Nate's father threaten Cora's dog. This is one of the first hints we get of something being wrong with him
  • Lady Drunk: Ruby's mother in Lock and Key.
  • Lady Killer In Love: This Lullaby is a Gender Flip.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Kristy's explanation for why neither she or Monica have ever gone after Wes, and similarly Kristy acts like an older sister to Bert as well.
    • Riley and Dave have this going on as well.
    • Emaline and Morris in The Moon and More. They are extremely close and devoted to one another, despite the fact that they drive each other nuts.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Kristy is this for Monica, who has a lot of trouble expressing emotion and tends to shut down when she can't handle things, and Kristy jumps to defend her at every opportunity and usually explains what Monica is feeling to others who can't tell the difference.
  • Loners Are Freaks: The opinion of Owen Armstrong held by most of Jackson High School.
  • Loony Friends Improve Your Personality: The Wish group for Macy. Even Caroline notices the change and she only visit sporadically.
    • Keeping the Moon, with Aunt Mira and the employees at the Last Chance diner.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Isabel in Keeping the Moon.
    • Heather in What Happened to Goodbye.
  • Love at First Sight: In This Lullaby, Dexter immediately falls for Remy and promptly tells her so. She, however, needs a lot more convincing.
  • Love at First Punch: Just Listen has a subplot, in which Owen's friend Rolly falls for Clarke when she punches him while he's working as an attacker at the mall.
  • Love Epiphany: Macy for Wes in The Truth About Forever
  • Malaproper: Kristy in The Truth About Forever; she's very fond of making up words like "tragical" and insisting they are proper words.
  • Man Child: Auden's father has definite shades; he is very selfish and he sulks and pouts if he doesn't get his own way, and he often pushes off responsibility for Thisbe onto Auden, despite Auden only being a teenager and supposed to be on vacation.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Dexter is a Guy version for Remy in This Lullaby.
    • The Wish Catering Crew from The Truth About Forever is this for Macy.
    • In That Summer, Haven believes Sumner was this for Ashley and their family and hopes he can be it again for her. She's wrong
  • Maybe Ever After: The ending of "This Lullaby."
    • However, they reappear in Just Listen to give you a definitive answer.
  • Meaningful Echo: Ssh, Annabel. It's just me.
  • Meganekko: Clarke from Just Listen, Olivia from Lock and Key.
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Inverted in Just Listen. Whitney, the middle daughter, is causing most of the family drama and thus Annabel, the youngest daughter, is overlooked. However, part of the reason Whitney had so much drama was because she felt overlooked as the middle sister.
  • My Greatest Failure: Macy quits running because she was five minutes too late to save her father, who had a heart attack right before she reached him.
  • My Beloved Smother: Halley's mother from Someone Like You.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Dexter.
  • Not Good with People: Both Ruby and Auden, at least at first.
  • Neat Freak: Remy in This Lullaby.
    • Morgan in Keeping the Moon.
  • Never My Fault: Not a direct example, but Sophie never blames Will Cash for cheating on her, she always blames the girl he cheats on her with. Including Annabel.
  • No Social Skills: Auden, at least at first. She actually goes to answer the question, "What kind of name is that?"
  • Opposites Attract: The whole premise of This Lullaby.
    • Macy's parents in The Truth About Forever.
    • Morris and Daisy in The Moon and More.
  • Parental Abandonment: Ruby's mother in Lock and Key which leads to...
    • Promotion to Parent: Ruby's sister Cora comes in and cares for her.
      • Ruby's father counts, as she only has a few vague memories of him before he suddenly left the picture.
      • In This Lullaby, Remy's friend Jess is one for her little brothers.
  • Parent with New Paramour: In What Happened to Goodbye, Mclean's mother marries the basketball coach of her father's favorite team after they had an affair.
    • Remy's mother in This Lullaby, who is a serial bride.
    • Auden's father in Along for the Ride, who has recently married and has just had a new child at the beginning of the novel.
    • Subverted with Emaline's parents in The Moon and More. They split up before she was born and remarried when she was young, so she is more than used to the situation.
    • Haven's father in That Summer cheated on her mother and then left her for 'The Weather Pet' Lorna Queen.
  • Parental Substitute: Cora takes on a maternal role for Ruby in Lock and Key, but Ruby isn't willing to accept it at first.
    • Delia provides as something of one to Macy while her mother is being emotionally distant in The Truth about Forever.
      • Delia in general is a Team Mom to the Wish Crew.
  • Platonic Life Partners: Dave and Riley in What Happened to Goodbye.
    • Emaline and Morris in The Moon and More.
  • Precision F-Strike: Sophie delivers plenty of cruel slurs to Annabel, usually either "bitch" or "slut" and almost always in a crowded place.
  • The Quiet One: Monica from The Truth About Forever is nicknamed Monotone because she usually only says two or three words at a time.
  • Really Gets Around: Remy from This Lullaby. She inherited it from her mother, who has been married 5 times.
  • Redheaded Hero: Ruby in Lock and Key.
  • Rape as Backstory: Annabel Greene in Just Listen
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Annabel's sisters fit this perfectly, with Kirsten being the red to Whitney's blue.
    • Also, Kirsty and Monica.
  • Same Story, Different Names: A criticism of her novels. The girl has an annoying, messed up family situation, girl doesn't know how to deal with it, girl meets boy, boy fixes everything in girl's hypothetical world, and then there's always that moment when Girl and Boy are going to have a falling out, but they'll be back together by the end. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing.
    • It got to the point, though, that when they made a movie out of her stories they went ahead and just combined two of the books.
    • Almost all of her protagonists fall into two categories: the quiet Type A perfectionist (Macy, Auden, Annabel, Emaline) or the cynical rebel (Remy, Ruby).
    • The Moon and More does make some noticeable changes to the formula, specifically Emaline not ending up with either of her romantic interests, and apparently Sarah Dessen got some flack for changing up the formula too much.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: This Lullaby is a Gender Flip.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Macy quitting her incredibly boring job at the library, particularly as two annoying, condescending girls were always undermining her and bossing her around.
  • Serious Business: In The Truth About Forever, Bert takes his Armaggedon programs very seriously, and Kristy will not tolerate anybody talking smack about her clothes.
    • This Lullaby Ted is incredibly fussy over musical lyrics, and pretty much anything related to the band in general.
    • Owen in Just Listen treats music as this.
  • Shipper on Deck: Kristy ships Macy/Wes from early on in the book, and eventually so do Monica and Caroline.
    • Lissa for Remy and Dexter in This Lullaby, but Remy contests this doesn't count because Lissa "likes everyone".
    • Somewhat hypocritically, Ruby gradually becomes one for Harriet and her co-worker Reggie, despite the fact Ruby herself is annoyed that everyone thinks she's involved with Nate.
  • Riley for Dave and Mclean.
  • Shout-Out: In Just Listen, a joke is made at Annabel's name by saying, "Annabel, Annabel, Annabel Greene."
  • Shrinking Violet: Annabel thinks she is one for a long time in Just Listen, but ultimately edges more into Silk Hiding Steel territory.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Halley to her mother in Someone Like You, when she gives Halley a speech about how she does not approve of her relationship with Macon or her new friends.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: The Truth About Forever has several. Wes and Bert, Kristy and Monica, Macy and Caroline, Delia and Wish, etc.
    • Quiet, loner Auden is pretty much the exact opposite of her brother Hollis in Along for the Ride.
      • Also Eli and Jake, one being quiet and thoughtful and the other...not.
    • Again, Whitney and Kirsten.
    • Haven and Ashley in That Summer.
  • Silent Snarker: Monica.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Whitney, Annabel and Emily in Just Listen. Whitney because it leads to her eating disorder, Annabel and Emily because they unwillingly attract Will Cash.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Scarlett has sex with Michael and finds out she's pregnant with his baby after he dies.
  • Spoiled Brat: Eli's younger brother Jake in Along for the Ride. Eli even lampshades it.
  • Stepford Smiler: Annabel and Macy, for different reasons.
    • Macy's mother Deborah is an even bigger one; At least Macy admits she's grieving, but it takes almost to the end of the novel for Deborah to do that.
    • There's also Deb in What Happened To Goodbye, she is constantly cheerful, helpful and organized but there are numerous hints that she's actually miserable about being a social outcast.
  • Stepford Snarker: Ruby.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Part of why people claim her books are just Same Story, Different Names.
    • Maggie from Along for the Ride is very similar to Lissa from This Lullaby.
    • Kirsten and Whitney from Just Listen are very similar to Kristy and Monica from The Truth About Forever especially as they're both described as attractive blonde sisters with a rocky history. Kristen and Kristy are both outgoing, popular and have a huge Motor Mouth while Whitney and Monica are quiet loners.
    • All her protagonists are similar but Emaline has some major similarities to Macy.
    • Mclean and her novel What Happened to Goodbye? have a lot of similarities to Haven and her novel That Summer.
      • Mclean's mother has a lot similar to Haven's dad in That Summer (has a high profile affair, marries and starts a family with them) and Colie's mom from Keeping the Moon (goes from normal down-to-Earth mom to high-profile person with status, including going by a different name (Colie's mom went by Katherine but now goes by Kiki while Mclean's mom went by Katie and now goes by Katherine)).
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: Wes in The Truth About Forever.
  • Teen Genius: Dave from What Happened To Goodbye.
  • Teen Pregnancy: The premise of Someone Like You.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Annabel.
  • Their First Time: A large part of the plot is Halley in Someone Like You dithering over whether or not to sleep with Macon. However, Scarlett's pregnancy makes her reluctant to take the risk and when she finally decides to do it, she gets cold feet at the last minute, (not to mention Macon is implied to Really Gets Around) leaving Macon very frustrated, and the ensuing argument in the car about it ends up leaving Halley hospitalised.
  • Those Two Guys: Leah and Esther from Along for the Ride, although with Maggie they make The Three Amigos.
  • Title Drop
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Scarlett and Halley, in Someone Like You.
    • Ruby and Peyton also have some shades of this in Lock and Key.
    • Auden and Maggie in Along for the Ride.
    • Emaline and Daisy in The Moon and More.
    • Haven and Ashley as well as Haven and Casey in That Summer.
  • Too Clever by Half: Auden.
  • Too Much Information: Heidi, frequently.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Eli in Along for the Ride. Ruby in Lock and Key.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: This Lullaby.
    • The opposite applies in Along for the Ride, when Auden's free-spirited, irresponsible brother falls for serious, studious Lauren.
    • Morgan and Isabel are a platonic version in Keeping the Moon.
  • Verbal Tic: Delia's mantra of "Please god I'm begging you" or some variation of that phrase. Macy later adopts it.
    • Monica typically only has 3 phrases: "Mmmhhmm", "Donneven" and "Bettaquit".
    • Kristy's 'You know?'
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Chloe and Jess, This Lullaby, although at first they start out as Headbutting Heroes.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Daisy and Morris in The Moon and More
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In Lock and Key, Jamie chews Ruby out when the latter has a Heroic BSOD over Her mother abandoning her, skips school and eventually returns home drunk, even going so far as to all but outright call her an Ungrateful Bastard. Cora, meanwhile, is more sympathetic.
    • Owen towards Annabel after she freaks out at the club and runs away.
  • Where The Hell Is Springfield?: The exact location of the city where her novels take place is never revealed, it is even obscured by using made up names for universities.
    • Various clues throughout different novels point toward Lakeview being in North Carolina, which is also where the author lives.
  • With Friends Like These...: Sophie in Just Listen.
    • Peyton in Lock and Key.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Mclean, Auden, Thisbe, just to name a few.
  • The Woobie: Annabel, Macy, Mclean

Sandy MitchellAdministrivia/Creator Pages in MainSarah Kane

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