About Sarah

Official Third Person Stuff

Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of six young adult novels: Twenty Boy Summer, Fixing Delilah, Bittersweet, The Book of Broken Hearts, #scandal, and the upcoming The Summer of Chasing Mermaids. Her books have been translated into several languages and have received numerous accolades, including ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, Girls’ Life Top 100 Must Reads, Indie Next List, Amazon Top Movers and Shakers, and nominations for YALSA Teens’ Top Ten and NPR’s Top 100 Teen Books. Her short work has appeared in the anthologies Dear Teen Me and Defy the Dark.

She’s a champion cupcake eater, coffee drinker, tarot enthusiast, night person, and bookworm. When she’s not writing or reading at home in the Pacific northwest, Sarah enjoys hugging trees and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex. Fans can find her on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and at sarahockler.com.

I Survived High School & All I Got Was…

Here’s what I remember most about my 4-year sentence otherwise known as high school. This list will probably tell you more about why I write YA fiction than anything else!

  1. I ditched senior prom to go to the Grateful Dead show instead. (That, and I didn’t have a date.) For some reason this bothers people, but it’s been many years and I haven’t lost any sleep over it.
  2. For two months I ate nothing but oranges. I lost three pounds and didn’t get one single cold. Then I switched to M&Ms and Diet Cokes. That one didn’t work out so well.
  3. Our school mascot was the Quaker, but the students were anything but. Especially the cheerleaders, who wore tight maroon and white minis and did a lot of gyrating dances to “Pump up the Jam” and “Push It” before all the sporting events.
  4. We didn’t have texting back then. We hand-wrote notes in multiple colors and folded them into fancy shapes like stars and airplanes.
  5. Freshman year I was totally in love with this guy Jeff and made the mistake of putting it in writing in a fancy-shaped note. Bad idea.
  6. When I couldn’t find something decent to wear to school, I just went in my PJs and socks. The teachers never said anything about it. They probably thought I was completely mental which, for the most part, I was.
  7. When I was sixteen, I got a job as a grocery cashier. Our manager would time how long it took us to complete each order. It sucked. My mom worked there, too, so she usually picked up my shifts. That might explain why I never had any money for aforementioned decent clothes.
  8. My first car was a 1985 Toyota Celica GT with 130,000 miles on it. I saved up to buy it when I was seventeen. Sadly, I kept getting grounded and wasn’t allowed to get my driver’s license until I was nineteen, after I’d gone away to college.
  9. The bus, which I was forced to ride on account of my lack of a driver’s license, arrived at 6:45 AM. It took me a minimum of 2 hours to do my hair each morning, which is why I woke up at 4:30 and the kind-hearted bus driver ended up waiting outside my house for 15 minutes every day. On days when I stayed home sick, Mom would flash the porch light on and off (because it was still dark when the bus arrived) to let the driver know not to wait.
  10. My favorite music for my Sony walkman was rap. I still get a little misty-eyed whenever I hear Black Sheep or Naughty By Nature.
  11. I got As in calculus, physics and English lit, but I failed gym. Senior year I owed so many make-up classes that I had gym twice a day. A few weeks into that arrangement I hurt my knee and got excused from all of it. I still have nightmares about the principal tracking me down to tell me that I never actually graduated because I owe so many gym make-ups.
  12. I carried my journal everywhere and wrote volumes of sad and terrible poems and stories while pretending to take notes in class. Those poems must never resurface.

“Oh, the memories” is right. There were some good times. There were some awful times. There were tons more in-between times, sitting around and waiting for something to happen. But then I graduated, and everything worked out just fine.

73 Responses to About Sarah

  1. Mom says:

    Hey! you all agreed to move!!!! I loved High School! Good times…Of course it was an All Girl Private School!!! To this day I still get together every three months with 14 other random classmates from there. Still…Good times!

  2. Kelly Phillips Lucas - AKA Veronique says:

    Your info on High School makes me laugh!!! I hated it there too!!!! Your website is great and CONGRATS on the book. I will be reading it for sure……so when is the move back to NYC??? Drop me a line – I left myspace for a little while…. I have been working hard with school, my boys, hubby and house!

  3. ^^ Thank goodness high school isn’t supposed to be the best years of our lives. :)

    Your list is hilarious. And you were so lucky to have such a nice bus driver!

    -Reader Rabbit

  4. Sarah W. says:

    I love the list…
    Very cute.

  5. Kristina says:

    Ha– we had eerily similar experiences!! From skipping prom to eating fruit (thought I only lasted two weeks and it was apples) to the poems and the grocery store gig. Maybe these are the fundamentals to becoming a YA writer? :-)

  6. amy says:

    ha! i wish i could wear my pj’s to school, but i don’t want a referral.

  7. Diane says:

    Hi Sarah,
    We are both hide-outs from the P.E. police. I joined sports in 8th grade so I wouldn’t have to do P.E. My senior year I spent “helping” in the guidance counselor’s office while she was in the hospital so I was “too busy” to go to P.E. I did send many students to college on scholarships instead. I also had a stack of “get out of school notes” from my dad that enabled me to leave school early to go get car parts for his gas station. They were undated so whenever I needed a break I could date one and leave. I’d call him from the town nearby and ask if he needed parts on my way home, so technically I was excused. Still even though I was the salutatorian, I still feared they’d track me down for P.E. Congratulations on your book. I love it.

  8. Aubrey says:

    Sarah this was a great read!

    There are things I did love and things I did hate about High School. Mostly the dating thing. Pretty much all of my dates in High School were disasters. I dreamed up so many perfect relationships that I think that is why I love reading YA books so much. They are what High School was in my head!

  9. Emily says:

    I am also NOT one of those people who love high school. I cannot tell you how much I laughed while reading this, I can totally relate to you! I especially loved how your mom would flash porch lights to the bus driver :)

  10. Vanessa says:

    I actually failed gym my junior year. I also took 2 classes in my senior year to make it up. However I couldn’t fake a good enough injury to get out of it, therefore I am jealous. : ) The first 2 chapters of the book are brilliant, and I can’t wait to read more!

  11. Shauna says:

    I love that you have this list. I want to do one now! :)

  12. adw7984 says:

    Hi Sarah! I got my book signed by you today (Alicia), thanks so much for the wonderful note :) Anyways, I wanted to pop in and say that I totally worked at UB after I graduated college (SUNY Fredonia)! It always amazes me when authors are from this little area :)

  13. Claire says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I remember you and your brother,Scotty from growing up on Prospect ( I lived on Donald). You both had these beautiful, intense eyes! Clearly, a sign of good things to come.
    Congrats on your creative success.

  14. Dr. M or J or Doc says:

    It’s been a great, very busy summer. Margaret and I get more confident with the telescope every time we get it out and find nifty things way out there, nebulae, clusters, etc. The quest for Spanish fluency coming along, with less anticipation in talking to my mentee’s parents. Teaching at the School of Medicine continues, my focus group meets today and they wrestle with cases that demonstrate need for behavior changes. Grandkids both in neighborhood schools, so our Monday’s are a bit shorter…Moyers/abuelos in Morrison

  15. Jessica says:

    haha, im in 7th but thought this list was hi-larious! i do tht whole “taking notes” thing in class, its funny how oblivious teachers can be, my bus also comes at an obseen hour in the morning, 6:42, i get up at 5:30 though because i shower and do my hair… i hate gym, im thinking about breaking something so i dont have to particiapate… :)

  16. Beth says:

    all these things about highschool make me laugh. i am currently a junior and me and my boyfriend recently skipped homecoming to go to tractor pulls at the county fair. SOOO much better than jumping up and down and listening to crappy music lol. also whenever i dont feel like getting all dressed up i usually wear jeans and a hoodie and throw my hair in a ponytail…or if im really lazy wear sweats….at least im comfy!

  17. Kay Cassidy says:

    Ha! Your gym story SO brings back memories. The year I had swim class, they let us opt out of swimming (we still had to sit in the pool area) as long as you made up X number of laps for each day you didn’t swim during class. I had so many laps to make up that I had to swim a mile on the second to last day of class. On the last day, I had to swim a mile again for my final! LOL

    Ah, high school…

  18. Lauren says:

    I loved your list, but I like lists in general… that’s what I did during class! haha. I also work at the grocery store, and not only do they time how long it takes to do an order – they post our results on the wall so everyone can compare – HOW SWEET.

  19. stephanie says:

    ohhh thats sounds like my high school experience so far and im only a freshman!! high school so far is the complete opposite if what i was expecting :(

    • Sarah Ockler says:

      The good news is that it doesn’t last forever. And sometimes Freshman year is terrible, and then it gets better once you get the hang of things. I hope it gets better for you, Stephanie!

  20. Dazsia says:

    OMG! i loved all ur books! i really hope u write more! anyways did high school really suck that bad… i was soooooo excited for high schol btw i’m still a middle schooler!

  21. Angie says:

    Hey im
    Angie! im 14 and i love love love! 20 boy summer!i can read it over and over again and never get bored of it! im reading it again right now. haha. please make more!

  22. rachel. says:

    i’m also a hater of the gym classes, trust me i’ve crawled out the tiny window in the bathroom stall in the locker room to escape. i absolutely love your book twenty boy summer, your writing takes my breath away (seriously). you’re like my role model, and i hope i can be a successful and amazing writer like you. your book had me in tears, it was fantastic, and i can’t wait to see what other books you come out with (: thanks for giving me oodles of inspiration, you are by far my favorite author of this decade.
    – rachel.

    • Sarah Ockler says:

      Hi Rachel! Wow, what a compliment. Thank you so much! I wish you all the best with your own writing… the main thing is to just keep doing it, no matter what!

  23. Bianca says:

    Hey, I’m reading Twenty Boys Summer and I really love how the cover matches the part about all the different color seaglass. It’s a really good book and I just can’t put it down;because before I wasn’t such a big reader and I guess now I am.But for me High Schools next year and I don’t! want to be one of those annoying cheerleaders head of the school…I just want to be the normal one who likes Alternative music and hangs out with my friends but I don’t want to be the DORK either. Oh and try living on a diet of Oats and milk…

    • Sarah Ockler says:

      Hi Bianca! Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll find where you fit. Just be yourself — I know that sounds cliche, but it’s so true! That’s really all you can do. :-)

  24. estefania says:

    hey ever since twenty boy summer came out i wanted to read it. Now im almost finished, so far i love it. Hope it has a happy ending :)

    ill be looking forward to more of your great books like this one :)

    btw i love da book especially because of friendship of frankie and anna. I think that it would be great if you write a book about two best friends who like the same boy but they dont know how to work it out. This is just a suggestion though. Again i loved your book, one of my favorite already :)

  25. estefania says:

    I also loved the cover of the book. It relates to the book all lot. Your one of my favorite authors :)


  26. Joyce Lansky says:

    Wow! What memories. I found it interesting that the girl who took over two hours to do her hair each morning would show up to school in PJs. Those two acts sort of contradict each other. I’m surprised you didn’t just fake sick when you had nothing to wear.

    I’m excited to read your new book.

    • Sarah Ockler says:

      Oh, I faked sick plenty of times, too. :-) I don’t know why I was just so obsessed with my hair, even when everything else fell apart. From the neck down, I might look like I spent every night in the woods, but that hair was always rockin’! :-)

      Hope you enjoy Fixing Delilah Hannaford!

  27. Erica says:

    Hi Sarah, I just finished your book, although I am not a young adult, it caught my eye at the book store. After reading some local references I had to check your web site and your a local gal. So from a neighboring town to another, a quick hello and I loved reading your memories of high school, cuz I had similar ones.

  28. Ana says:

    ohh lordy…. I’m going to be in high school in the fall, and thanks to everyone here I’m absolutely terrified……ahaha. actually I think this would honestly be a good thing for girls my age. Reading all these stories actually, i think, will prepare me, and/or anyone else my age that might read them… so thanks a bunch!!!!! : D

  29. Sasha says:

    Hello, my name is Sasha and I will be going in to my second year of High School. I’m hoping I will have a good experience(new school, loooooong story), I’m not going let myself have a bad one. Your book caught my eye and when I opened it to check it out, I couldn’t tear myself away! I literally read it in 2 days, and that’s with being out and doing tons of other things for most of the day! I loved your book, it’s beautiful and breathtaking, I just fell in love with it. You are an amazing writer, and I can’t wait to read your next works of art.
    Sasha :)

  30. Morgan says:

    out of a whole shelf of lovley book i picked twenty Boy summer and so far i am in love with the story line, charecters and the adventuer.

  31. Hannah says:

    You know I hear from people sometimes, “Oh, high school! The best four years of my life, those were!”
    But here I’m thinking damn, for those 720 days you spent to have been your very best, you must lead one horrible life. :-)
    School is great? Psh, more like purgatory! ;-)

    Love, Hannah

  32. Clair says:

    hEY sARAH! My name is clair and I’m a high school senior in Ohio. Today I finished your book twenty boy summer and I was so upset when i finished it because I kept wanting to know what would happen next. It was one of the best books I HAVE READ IN A LONG TIME. i CAN’T WAIT TO READ YOUR OTHER BOOK AND YOUR FUTURE BOOKS. iTS WRITERS LIKE YOU THAT MAKE ME ABSOLUTELY LOVE READING. This story was so unique and i absolutely loved it. I’m also a library aid in my high school and i will definitely let our librarian know to add this to our list of books to order.

  33. Now i’m your new Fans, i love all your book story, natural. ♥ ♥ it

  34. Kerri says:

    You need to write a sequeal to TBS!!

  35. Kerri says:

    Hi, my name is Kerri and im a freshman, and i love to read. Im really picky about authors and books but i read both your books in two days, fell in love with them and now im thinking your my favorite author. I would LOVE for you to write more books, Fixing Delilah and Twenty-boy Summer was AHHHMAAAZZZING. I think you should write a sequal for both books, cause i love both Anna and Delilah and all ther other characters. Im inspired by you and hope you write a book soon :)


  36. Carley says:

    Hi, my name is Carley and I am 14 years and love to read YF. Especially your books! I’ve just finished reading Fixing Delilah a few minutes ago and I love it. I also have read Twenty Boys Summer and loved it too, when Matt passed away I teared up! I cannot wait until your next book comes out!!!! I told my friends about your books and they are also reading them. :) I also write stories but they are far not as good as yours, but I will keep trying!

  37. […] month the school’s board voted to ban Slaughterhouse-Five and Sarah Ockler‘s young adult novel Twenty Boy Summer from its curriculum and library following a Missouri […]

  38. […] month the school’s board voted to ban Slaughterhouse-Five and Sarah Ockler’s young adult novel Twenty Boy Summer from its curriculum and library following a Missouri […]

  39. […] month the school’s board voted to ban Slaughterhouse-Five and Sarah Ockler‘s young adult novel Twenty Boy Summer from its curriculum and library following a Missouri […]

  40. […] the madness”.Last month the school’s board voted to ban Slaughterhouse-Five and Sarah Ockler‘s young adult novel Twenty Boy Summer from its curriculum and library following a Missouri […]

  41. […] month the school’s board voted to ban Slaughterhouse-Five and Sarah Ockler‘s young adult novel Twenty Boy Summer from its curriculum and library following a Missouri […]

  42. […] month the school’s board voted to ban Slaughterhouse-Five and Sarah Ockler’s young adult novel Twenty Boy Summer from its curriculum and library following a Missouri […]

  43. […] month the school’s board voted to ban Slaughterhouse-Five and Sarah Ockler‘s young adult novel Twenty Boy Summer from its curriculum and library following a Missouri […]

  44. Paige says:

    I feel like high school is a sentence too, I hate it. Glad you are done with your experience though haha! It seemed like an interesting one, nice info!

  45. Louise Ganse says:

    Is there ever gonna be a second book for Twenty Boy A Summer?

  46. Maci says:

    I love your book Twenty Boy Summer!! I read it twice and I am working on my 3rd time already! I am only in middle school and I was looking in the library and I found TBS, read it, and then bought it from a bookstore:]. I love Love stories and TBS is the best one I have EVER read. I hope you make a second one to it where like Sam moves to Anna`s neighborhood and she cannot decide between Sam or Frankie. That would be amazing. :D.
    p.s I ordered your other 2 books to read too. [:

  47. Cassidy S. says:

    Hi, I’m named after a GD song (“Cassidy”), and I skipped my senior prom. If I didn’t already LOVE your books, I’d say that you just became one of my favourites based on that one line.

    I really hated gym. I’m the one that will duck if you throw something at me, instead of catching it.

    I was the Valedictorian of my class…but I was also one of the kids involved in our senior prank. We went all out and made Pac Man costumes and ran around the hallways in them. We didn’t tell anyone it was us, so people would come up to us and be like, “DID YOU SEE THE PAC MAN PEOPLE? Who are they?”, and we’d just grin.
    I also brought cupcakes to school at least twice a month during my senior year. I was known as the cupcake lady.

    Oh. I’m 19, in college, and dread the day when I cannot walk into the YA fiction section of the bookstore without looking a bit out of place (not that it would stop me…).

    Whenever you write something new, I’ll read it :D And I’ll probably re-read the ones you’ve written already several times before then.

  48. sandy says:

    when are born sarah ???
    I have a referat abaot you
    sorry my englisch is not so good because i come from germany!!!

  49. madison says:

    what about a movie for TBS????

  50. Ellie W says:

    Hahaha, well, it sounds like you at least had an INTERESTING high school experience. I wouldn’t mind having the same experiences as you had. (:
    I’m 14 and just about to enter high school this year so I’m really kinda nervous. All my closest friends are going to different high schools, but I know I’ll make some new friends (at least, that’s what I’m telling myself, haha).
    Anyways, I’m a big fan of your books! I’ve read all of them and will keep my eyes peeled for some new ones.

  51. Nicki says:

    I have one more year till High School and this little list is scaring the crap out of me! I know it should’nt, and all my freinds who are in or out of school say i will do fine but i still cant shake the feeling that i am going to be that nobody who eats lunch in the libray. Maybe i am being over dramatice. I dot nessarily want to the bom digity but whatevers! :)

  52. Christine says:

    Just found you today while researching “banned and controversial books” upon reading the “look inside” feature on amazon, I knew you had to be from the Buffalo area. congrats on your success, and I will be reading your books even tho I am well passed the “young adult” phase of my life (I am close to your age I think)

    • Sarah Ockler says:

      Thanks so much, Christine! I hope you enjoy the books (and as far as I’m concerned, there’s never a wrong age to enjoy YA!). Bittersweet actually takes place in a fictionalized version of Lackawanna. :-)

  53. Jade says:

    Heyy I absoluterly looooooooooooove Fixing Delilah!!! I couldn’t put the thing down! The cover looks awesome and nice use of a mixture of conspiracy and family/teenage drama. Me and my friend are doing a book project on you and I’m going to dress up as you and pretend to be given an interview!!! Oh, and by the way, YOU TOTALLY ROCK!!!!! ; – )

    • Sarah Ockler says:

      Hi Jade! I hope your project and interview went well! I’m honored that you loved Fixing Delilah so much, and that you picked me for your book project. :-)

  54. Imani says:

    Hi Sarah! I am in high school now a freshmen and I am reading Bittersweet and I like how you did in High School.

  55. Leanne says:

    I just graduated and loved high school which is why Bittersweet is my favorite book!!!!! Especially since I’m from Buffalo, its great to read about a place in a book and know exactly where it is:)

  56. Sarah, I’m hosting the Novel Cuisine Luncheon on Dec 15 for authors/bloggers/librarians and would like to feature THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS. I’d like to make vegetarian empanadas. Empanadas are mentioned in the novel quite a bit. Do you have a favorite recipe? Many thanks, Liza Wiemer, whorublog@aol.com

  57. Destiney Auxier says:

    Hello Sarah, I’m a senior in high school and we are doing author projects, and I’m reading your book, Fixing Delilah. I thought It would be cool to tell you how I feel about your book. I enjoy your book, and I like the plot line although it’s kind of hard to read because it has so many little details… lol it’s hard to stay focused on it. —–Destiney Auxier

    • Sarah Ockler says:

      Hi Destiney! Thank you so much for reading FIXING DELILAH, and for letting me know that you’re enjoying it. You’re right — I do tend to put a lot of little details into my stories! :-)


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