Dessen in Denver!

Update: The winner of the autographed copy of WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE by Sarah Dessen is Angela Huang! Thanks for participating, all, and for sharing your heartfelt stories.

Just got back from dinner following an awesome event at Tattered Cover in Highlands Ranch with Sarah Dessen, on tour for her latest, WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE!

You all know about my Dessen-love from the early days, right? Well, in case you’re new around here, let me tell you, because it’s pretty simple.

She’s the reason I write YA. Without her books, TWENTY BOY SUMMER and FIXING DELILAH wouldn’t exist.

Sarah Dessen & Sarah OcklerNo, really. Her books THAT SUMMER and SOMEONE LIKE YOU, which were combined in the movie tie-in edition called HOW TO DEAL, were my first YA reads as an adult (because at the time, I was like, hey, two books for the price of one, with Mandy Moore on the cover? Sweet!), soon followed by Laurie Halse Anderson’s SPEAK and Deb Caletti’s THE QUEEN OF EVERYTHING. After that, I knew I was born to write for teens. These lovely ladies are like my trifecta of fangrildom, and now I can honestly say that I’ve appropriately (or maybe inappropriately) fangirled all three in person. All that and I got to eat something called “adult mac-n-cheese” for dinner and bring home a whole container of chocolate chip brownies from my friend Meredith. Now I’ll spend the next two days reading Sarah’s WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE, turing pages while alternately jamming brownies into my mouth.

Do you realize what this means? That even if the world ends next Saturday like all those crazies keep saying, I can go out with a smile and a sigh, because my life will be complete.

What Happened to GoodbyeHow can your life be so complete, you ask? Well, I can’t send you brownies, but tonight I snagged an extra autographed copy of WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE for one lucky reader!

To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment here and tell us about a time you had to leave without saying goodbye. Take it as literally or as figuratively as you’d like — maybe you had to rush home after a party, or you got into a fight and stormed out, or you forgot. Or maybe you found yourself at a new place or a new part of your life and realized you never really let the old part go. Or maybe you ate the last brownie only didn’t know it was the last brownie, and your spouse was all, “I can’t believe you didn’t save me any brownies!” and you were all, “What? I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to that last brownie, and now they’re gone!” Not saying that the last one’s a true story or anything… just for illustrative purposes… *anyway*

Enter your comments below for a chance to win, and if you tweet, blog, or Facebook about the giveaway, mention that in your comments and I’ll give you an extra entry. Fine print: autographed book does not come with brownies. I can probably add some brownied fingerprints though, if you ask nicely. πŸ™‚

Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen at Tattered Cover

Dessen Fangirls

Thanks again to Sarah Dessen for being so gracious in the face of my nervous and possibly borderline stalkerish babbling, and thanks as always to Jinx, Mickey, and the wonderful staff at Tattered Cover who make reading and writing in Denver so impossibly great.

42 thoughts on “Dessen in Denver!

  1. Well when my grandpa died I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to him. And the night he died I had a weird feeling around one in the morning that I should call my dad right away and I had no idea why, I wanted to ask him if we could go see papa the next day.
    I had just seen him a week before and he hadn’t been doing good for a few years and I just felt like he had missed out on so much of me growing up but got to see my sister grow up.
    Well I wanted to tell him that I would be performing in the Nutcracker Ballet, but didn’t get the chance too, I never got the chance to tell him I loved him more than anything, He and I left before I got the chance too.

  2. Well, mine is pretty sad, and really long, so let me see if I can condense. I never got to say goodbye to my brother. He’d been in town for my dad’s birthday party and there was some in-fighting between family and friends. My brother left the next day, and we never spoke after that night. He passed away about six weeks later. Fortunately, he had been in contact with my parents, at least. But still, you know?

    Ugh, sorry to be Debbie Downer at this party.

  3. I looked in my “chocolate” drawer the other day, grasping for that last PB Twix. Instead, my hand came out with licorice. Licorice?! No! I needed a chocolate fix. I searched, pulled other food out of the drawer, but to no avail. It was gone. Eaten in a rush and not really enjoyed.
    I didn’t even get to say hello,let alone goodbye, to my last PB Twix.

  4. The last time I remember not getting to say goodbye was when my dog died last September. I know, you’re all thinking sob story but Ive gone through a lot in my life and she was always there for me. I knew her passing was coming for a while but the morning I woke up and found her lying outside under her favorite tree, I found out that a break-up broken heart is nothing compared to a real broken heart. I still wish I had been able to say goodbye, but I know that she’s still with me everyday ❀

  5. Ooh thats a hard one.

    My family had to sell my horse for money reasons…they didnt tell me she was gone bc they knew id never let her leave.
    Needless to say…worst day ever. Didnt get to say goodbye to my Lily!!

    Americangirlie1991 at yahoo dot com

  6. I bought Lock & Key for my 7th grade daughter….Once I read it, I became a true fan of yours! It’s so nice to find a book that is written on a higher level without the content being too deep for a teenager.. We can’t wait to read WHTG.. thank you!!! πŸ™‚

  7. This lack of goodbyes has haunted me for years. My grandmother was one of my best friends growing up. My family is very close. Our giant family has reunions every 2 years and every Thanksgiving my family has a big dinner together. Then Christmas Eve, Christmas and Easter we all have dinner and gift swaps and things. This closeness was taught to us through my grandmother.
    But when I was ten years old, my life changed. Not only because I lost my grandmother, and didn’t get to say goodbye to her, due to her passing because of lung cancer, but my best friend moved to Florida, with no true goodbye, and then I moved into a new house and so did my neighbor and again no goodbye. So I guess you could call that the summer of no goodbyes. And to this day, that is the worst summer of my life.

  8. It was at this year’s new years party. Usually I stay home, but luckily for me I got invited to a party and had the best time. When I was leaving and wanted to say goodbye to the host, somebody pointed out that he had gone upstairs, not alone! So I left without thanking him/saying goodbye. Half way down the drive somebody started to throw snowballs (for fun), I turn around and guess who it was, for not saying goodbye πŸ˜€

  9. I never got a chance to say goodbye to my father who died of cancer. He had called the night before he passed away but we talked about all the details of my visiting in the next couple days. He died that night.

  10. In your suggestions for times when we didn’t say Goodbye, you mentioned running out of a party. I’ve certainly done that recently. My friends have recently stopped inviting me to their get-togethers for no good reason. The last time I hung out with them was at a birthday party where we just sat around talking about nothing. I was bored and feeling excluded, so I left. No one said goodbye. No one even noticed I was gone. The only person who minded that I left was my ‘friend’s’ mom, who wondered why I hadn’t said goodbye to her.

    I tweeted:!/ElanorLawrence/status/69044126150172672

    BTW, I should just say that I have ’20 Boy Summer’ on my bedside table right now, just waiting to be read. ‘Fixing Delilah’ is also on my TBR list.

  11. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to my grandmother, who was very special to me as we shared the same name. I was in Germany as an exchange student at the time and my host mother broke the news to me. It was hard, because I received a card from her the next week in the mail. Even when i returned home, I had trouble passing her house, because my initial response was, “let’s stop in and visit.” Earlier this year, I received her wedding and engagement rings which I now wear on my right hand. So she is always with me…

  12. I didn’t get a chance to say good-bye to my Dad before he passed away. I was twelve years old and my best friend from Arizona had come to visit me in California, we were have the best time until she started getting way homesick and became phsycially sick as well. So my Mom and I drove to the usual meeting place (Blythe) to drop her off where her Mom was waiting. On the way back my Nana called (we lived with my grandparents at the time) and said she went in to wake my Dad up because she had a weird feeling and he wouldn’t wake up. My Mom sped home but he was gone by the time we got there. I still have issues with having not said goodbye to him before we left for Blythe. But he was asleep so I just gave a little wave when Mom said bye to him because I didn’t want to wake him up, I figured he’d be there when I got home. Not taking that chance to say goodbye to him still haunts me and from than on I always made sure to say goodbye and let people know how I feel before I leave them or vice-versa.

  13. I’m in the process of transfering colleges. My first school didn’t have a creative writing major, which I didn’t think would bother me, but I’ve realized I need writing to be happy. Like Mclean in Sarah’s novel, I moved out of my university without saying goodbye to anyone, not letting them know I wouldn’t be back in the fall. I know it’s not the mature thing to do, but it was easier. I hate all goodbyes. Especially the messy kind.

    Needless to say, I really identify with Mclean. ❀


  14. Living away from my family, I have lost a lot of people who I have not been able to say goodbye to. The only goodbye I never had with someone who is still alive, is an ex boyfriend. We had a break-up that was supposed to be temporary until we could evaluate our relationship, and we were supposed to give it a week before we talked again. Instead of talking, we just went our separate ways and never really said goodbye.

  15. I have learned over time..It isn’t “The GoodBye” that matters…it is how you spend your time with each and every loved one. Then when the time comes weather you are there to say good bye or not, they will know you cared for them and loved them very much and say to yourself….”Until we meet again I will love you and carry you in my heart Forever” !

  16. I never got to say goodbye to my now ex-boyfriend. He broke up with me over a text message. We broke up so suddenly, I never got to see him afterwards. It devastated me, it took me a while to get over it. How would you feel if you never seen someone again after you had been with them for two years?

  17. This one is going to be pretty personal.

    My great-grandmother lived with me my entire life until a couple of years ago when she moved to India to spend some time with her other children (only one of her sons lives here). I actually got the chance to visit her last summer and we spent about a week together. When we left, we hugged and I kissed her but it wasn’t… a proper goodbye. I don’t know, maybe this doesn’t count since I did say A goodbye, but it isn’t the one I would have chosen in hindsight. I would have told her how much she meant to me, how much better my life was because she was in it. She passed away two months later at 105 years old.

    She is missed and I wish we could have had a proper farewell but I’m so grateful for the time we did have together.

    Wow, that was a downer. Thanks for the giveaway πŸ™‚

  18. I left my country to come see if I got accepted into University of Houston. I had a flight back home 3 months after coming. Yes, I said goodbye to everyone, but I said a 3-months goodbye. It’s been almost 4 years since I came, I’m almost graduating, but I miss everyone everyday. My best friends, all of them, joke about how I left them for 3 months and never came back. I missed seeing one of them get married. It hurts constantly. People try and tell me they’re just friends, not family… They don’t get it. When you have a certain kind of friends, they’re not friends at all, they’re MORE than family. That’s what I left behind, and I wish I would have said a huge bone-crushing-hug goodbye to them. But most of all, I look forward every day to that second, that moment, when I’ll say Hello again! πŸ™‚

    I linked in my blog’s sidebar:

    I also cried a bit writing this.. Ha! Thanks.

  19. One time a couple friends and I attended a Halloween party and left without saying goodbye to the host. It was kind of abrupt.

  20. It took me a while to think of this but I finally found one. I regret this every single time I think about it. There was this boy in 6th grade that I started to like. I remember the date and everything. In the summer my best friend at the time was also his best friend and had a conversation with him and he just randomly brought up the subject of liking people. It turned out to be me. I guess you see this as a big chance for me but my lack of confidence caused him to never find out and me to have this bit of information that doesn’t mean much anymore. By the time it was the middle of 7th grade, we weren’t talking anymore. There was no “Goodbye.” It just… Happened. I am now a Freshman in high school and see him everywhere, every single day. I always think about those times like how we first met, what he first said to me, etc. I don’t know if this is really the goodbye you want, it definitely wasn’t a goodbye I wanted! Boy, I remember so much I could write a book about it πŸ˜›

    • Oops, forgot to mention! Yes, I do see him everyday but it’s like we don’t know each other. We don’t talk anymore and it just sucks.

  21. I was fourteen when I got pregnant, and my boyfriend at the time was not the greatest of people. We broke up, and things got very bad when it became common knowledge that I was carrying. It ended up with my mother telling him that he needed to butt out of my life, and so he happily did so. It’s been two wonderful years since then, and being a mom is the greatest thing I could ever imagine, but I still wish I could have had some real closure. It all got very bad, very quickly, and it was like there was no time to actually say goodbye– more like we just both stormed off into the distance, to immediately starr our new lives.

  22. I rarely get to say goodbye when using my cell phone. For some reason, my cheek always presses the end call button before I’m ready for the call to end. I’ll be rambling on and on only to realize there has been no one on the other end of the line. At least, I’m hoping my cheek is the culprit and it isn’t just the case that most people I talk to find it necessary to hang up on me mid-conversation.

    I’ve tweeted about the contest:

  23. When I was moving out of my post-college apartment, I packed up and left without saying goodbye to my roommate, who worked crazy hours as a med student.

  24. I never got to say good by to Sarah at the Tattered Cover last Thursday, I stood in line for tickets for both my daughter and myself, but didn’t actually get to use them. Let me explain, my daughter was receiving an academic honor award at TRHS and we thought we would be able to make it back before the book signing was done but the award ceremony ran long and didn’t make it. But I was where I needed to be most. Look forward to meeting Sarah next time. Oh by the way we missed you at the Englewood library in April, let us all know when your next signing will be, I would love for you to sign Twenty Boy Summer for my daughter, she really enjoyed it!

  25. My is a little strange really, but just before I left uni last December to go home for Christmas, I refused to say goodbye to any of my housemates because I knew it would upset me. In my mind it was way better. And they completely understood!

  26. A time I didn’t get to say goodbye was just recently. The teacher who has the classroom next door to mine passed away. I hadn’t seen her since January and she passed at the end of April. The last thing I said to her was, “Hang in there.” My classes made a scrapbook for her family, as most of my students were hers last year. Hopefully, it gave some of those kids some closure.

    I posted on facebook about the giveaway:!/profile.php?id=114800025

    I’m one of those adults who reads YA:) I loved Twenty Boy Summer and am a huge fan of Sarah Dessen!

  27. I never got to say goodbye to my grandpa – I was away from home when he passed away, and I couldn’t make it there.

  28. My mom moved my family across the state in the middle of second grade– without telling me before hand! I think I was more sad about leaving my cool folder in my desk and school than not seeing my friends anymore.

    It was a really cool folder!

  29. June 15th is my best friend’s birthday. I don’t usually go out on a school night, but I made an exception and went to watch Prince of Persia for the second time, just so she could see it too. When I got home late that night, I got a phone call from my mother. It turns out that her father had died.

    He was the only other artistic person in my entire family. He gave me my passsion for art, reading and writing. He’d been in the hospital for a while, and I’d always guessed that he’d recover as usual. But not this time.

    My grandfather was a tall and charismatic man. He was the silent but meaningful type. He was very healthy up until he passed. He lived to his 90’s.

    I regret not saying goodbye to him, but I know I’ll see him again.

    For now, I just create art in his honour.

    (I retweeted the competition link.)

  30. I can honestly say that I’ve never left without saying goodbye. Ive lived in the same house my whole life, and nothing spectacular has ever happened to me. But last summer, my best friend since 4th grade spent a whole week at my house when a tornado hit and we were out of power. When she left, I didnt really say goodbye because she was supposed to be coming back the next weekend. Turns out, her and her stepmom got in a huge fight the next day and she packed up, and moved back in with her mom 26 or some odd hours away. Ive seen her once since in the year and I still miss saying goodbye to her. Being on the recieving end, you wonder if theres anything you couldve done to change their decision in leaving. But whats worse is the thought that no matter what, it was going to happen anyway. Thats just how fate works.

  31. Well, I’m not sure if this counts because I wasn’t the one who left. But it was event in my life that taught me to never take one moment for granted because you never know when youo’re going to see someone again. Two years ago my brother was killed in a car accident. I was angry and hurt all at the same time. After the initial shock went away I was most hurt by the fact that I never got to tell him “goodbye.” Since he was cremated he was not at the funeral and I never felt that I got closure. However, about a month after the funeral, I had a dream where my brother came to me and told me to stop worrying and that everything was alright now. That definitely helped bring closure to the situation but I still wish I would have gotten to tell him “goodbye.”

  32. A few years ago there was a time in my life where I started to become someone that I didn’t want to be. I let people treat me in a way I didn’t deserve. I believed that there was good in everyone, when I know now that although everyone has good in them at some point in there life, that doesn’t mean they always will.
    I remember the day all of this came to me, and I realized what was happening to my life. From that moment on, I never let myself become that person again. The odd thing was, after all that struggle, and all that time, I never got to say goodbye to the person I was becoming. And, unlike all the other post’s on here, I don’t know if that was such a bad thing. If anything I guess I would have liked to say, “Goodbye, see you on the otherside.” Because I didn’t leave any of the good peices of me behind. I took anything that was worth keeping with me.

  33. I have a few goodbyes I didn’t get to say.
    The easiest one was my best friend and I getting in a fight just before she moved away. The last time I saw her, we didn’t talk at all..
    This next one I don’t really remember because I was only a year old. I never got to say hello, much less goodbye to my baby brother, who was born a stillborn…
    Then I have my angel niece. Who was born with trisomy 18, and only got to live for 5 months before she left us. She left without me being able to spend much time with her because she was 5 hours away.. and last, my dog, Little Bit. She had been sick for a few days, and at first I was freaked out. But then I was like, ‘she’ll be fine’ That Sunday morning as I was leaving my room, I felt like it was going to happen. But I was in denial. I just walked out of the room, shutting the door. I came home from church and my sister told me she found her lying in front of the door. I regret both not telling her goodbye, and how much I really did love her. But also because I shut the door. If I had of left it open, she could have gone and cuddled up with our other dog, and not been all alone in those last moments..
    Eek! What a DEPRESSING comment! Sorry! Ummmm. Something silly… Well, I never ever get to say goodbye to any candy I get, haha. It always goes away so fast! lol

  34. when i moved to california from guatemala 5 years ago i remember my dad telling us in such a short notice that i didnt get to say goodbye to all of my friends. I didnt think it was a big deal because i was 10 but now that i am 15 i remember all my friends and how i wish i would have been able to say goodbye to them!

    • i tweeted and put something of facebook about the contest also

  35. This is more like when I didn’t get to say goodbye to someone else, but here goes:

    In fourth grade I had the biggest crush on a boy in my class. He and his family packed up and decided to move across the country halfway during the school year when his dad got a new job elsewhere. As he was a pretty popular kid he was swarmed with people on his last day, and I couldn’t truly get close to him until after school, on the bus we both took home. However when he was getting off at his stop he didn’t look back and I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. Needless to say I was heartbroken, not only because he was gone, but because I never made it final with a true heartfelt goodbye.

  36. A couple of years ago, I found out that my grandfather had pancreatic cancer. To say the least, I was scared out of my mind. He was out of country at the time, and by the time they flew him back to CA, the cancer had already been very advanced, especially since the doctors didn’t discover it until pretty late. He went straight to the hospital from the airport. I was not permitted to see him because I was too young. Needless to say, I was heartbroken because I had been upset with him before he went out of country; I didn’t realize that it was my last chance to talk to him. He died a couple of weeks after he came back to CA. I’d do almost anything for a chance to talk to him again. To say that I’m sorry. That I’ll always be there for him. And most of all, that I really love him.

  37. The last time I left someone without saying goodbye was my grandmother. She was extremely cheerful woman, but she died in a car accident. I still regret not giving her a proper goodbye when she left.

  38. I had to leave and not say good-bye when I left my boyfriend Jeff. He was truly in love with me and I really did not feel the same way. I thought it would have been better to leave and not say good bye, then to leave and make a scene. I dropped hints so that he knew in a sort of way it was coming. Do I feel bad it had to happen like this? Yes. Do I regret it? I would have to say no.

  39. I don’t think it has happened to me yet…but there’s going to be an instance dealing with goodbyes soon. I’m graduating from high school this year and there would be many people I won’t get to say goodbye to. It’s already making me so sad! Some of these people I won’t see ever again. Some I hope to stumble across one day. Some I will definitely get to see again. But those secret crushes all throughout high school? That’s going to be one example of not being able to say goodbye to someone. I don’t think I’d have the courage to, anyway. I mean, I always could go up to them and say, “I had a crush on you once and since we’re graduating and we might never see each other again, I’d just like to say goodbye and I sincerely hope you have a good life.” Lol! But no! I’ll try to say goodbye to almost everyone I know though. That I make a promise to myself.

    I’ve tweeted:!/justeena/status/81170250065920000

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