First, there is Dessen’s way of integrating her world into the action of the novel. Stepping into “Sarahland” as her website is aptly named, is like taking a vacation in a town you’ve visited many times before. You know the geography, the high schools, this time Jackson, the beach town, Colby, and the local university. Much like Montgomery’s Avonlea, Dessen has a vision of a town, its suburbs, that are as specific as the roads people drive to go to dinner. People from other novels make cameo appearances or are mentioned. Like a inside joke with her fans.
***Yes, I do not fail to see the irony of the fact that she uses basketball as an allegory as I have in a recent blog post.