I’m irrationally nostalgic about the difference between the new and old book covers for Sarah Dessen’s novels. I’ll be surprised, honestly, if sales aren’t affected by the art that’s replaced the ones I knew so well.
I know that there are plenty of 12 and 13 and 14 and 15 year olds who will scoop them off shelves in Barnes and Noble in the next few days, weeks or years. But it’s the first covers that gave hope to a generation of indecisive teenagers who needed to know that life was hard, yes, but it could’ve been harder.
And so if you’re wondering, this is what I’ll never know by looking at the new book covers.
That you deserve to be all awkward angles, a jumbled mess of limbs, and somehow find yourself righted, even after the world turns you upside down in a single summer.
That someday, some boy will want to hold you close. Someday, he won’t care if you have sand all over your arms and legs and the bright sunshine is watching. It taught me that the beach might be magical. That you might return another person entirely.
That there exists, somewhere, a future you can’t yet envision. And you may have to let go of the world for a minute to find it, good or bad, but it’s there. Waiting for you. Sure as the tide is lapping against the dock.
That sunglasses can be both a fashion statement and a means of hiding yourself from the world. That simple is all you ever wanted and needed. Simple pair of blue cutoffs and some shades that keep the sun out of your eyes. We can all be beautiful girls.
That there is more than one option for your future. That forever is never guaranteed, and someday you might find yourself sitting at your kitchen table, wondering, flower in hand, what to do next with this life of yours. And you will have to decide.
That hearts are fragile, able to be ripped in half just as easily as they can be constructed with a pair of scissors and some computer paper. That someday, someone will give you his heart and you will hold it, knowing that there is so much power in something so small, something you forget about.
That music is a constant, when all else changes. That a song or a place can bring you back in time to a moment you forgot about. That all we really want is to be heard. Whether it’s the sounds from the stereo or someone else’s eardrums, we just want someone to listen.
That inside all of us is a lock, but the key is much harder to grasp. And it can just as easily slip beneath our fingers, falling deep into the ocean. And when that happens, when someone loses their hold on it, they can never, almost never, get it back.
That with anything—bike riding or relationships—there are always two sides. And most of the time, we don’t know the other side. Which is why, sometimes, we have to fly backwards into the future, holding on for dear life, leaving the past behind.
That leaving was easy. It was the staying that was hard. Staying still. Staying the same. Staying sure you knew what you were doing in spite of the world spinning beneath your feet, always one step ahead of you.
And maybe they’re just book covers. Maybe I was just a much bigger thinker and feeler than most teenaged girls, but it was those girls, faces blurred, that made me believe in the things that scared me most—moving away, learning something knew, offering my heart.
And I am so sure that these new covers just won’t do it.
By the way, every month I send out a short + sweet newsletter brimming with cool finds related to the monthly theme. It'd be stellar if you subscribed. If it's not worthy, it doesn't go in the newsletter. That. Simple.