Apr 16, 2014

That Summer

That Summer was the very first book I ever read of Sarah Dessen's. To do this day I can still remember picking up that book and falling in love with Sarah's writing. After all these years I still really enjoyed That Summer.

 The more things change...

For fiteen-year-old Haven, there's just too much going on. First, there's her father's wedding to Lorna Queen, the local television "Weather Pet." Then her sister Ashley's wedding to boring Lewis Warsher, who doesn't seem to suit Ashley at all. And Haven can't ignore the fact that she's nearly six feet tall and still growing. Haven can barely figure out who she is anymore or where she fits in. Then Ashley's old boyfriend, Sumner Lee, shows up and sparks Haven's memories of the summer when her parents were happy, her sister was plucky and carefree, and everything was perfect...or so it seemed.

Too much is changing in Haven's life. Her father is getting remarried, her sister is getting married to a guy nothing like her usual type, and her mom has a new friend Haven isn't all that fond of. Not to mention the fact she's struggling with the fact she's nearly six foot tall.

Haven was an interesting character. She wasn't one that I could necessarily connect with but at the same time I could understand where all her frustrations and anger was coming from. It is a hard thing to accept change and with Haven it seems like everything has changed. She gets tired of never being bold and speaking her thoughts. I love Haven because she's very much a realistic fifteen year old girl. She's flawed like most people are especially at that age when we are trying to figure out who we are.

Sumner Lee made an impression on Haven. A big one. So much so that when her sister dumped him she felt everything fell apart in her family. Her parents got divorced and no one was really ever as happy again. And now Sumner is back in her life and it brings all those happy times rushing back. I really loved Sumner Lee and his role in Haven's life. It's hard not to like Sumner. He's got a a quality about him that demands to make you smile. But he wasn't this perfect character either. That's one of my favorite things about Sarah Dessen's characters are how real and flawed they are. And Sumner certainly was. I loved how everything came to full circle with Ashley and Sumner and what exactly happened that night.

Ashley can seem like a bit of a brat in the beginning so focused on her wedding and having hissy fits over things. But at the end of the day Ashley is really good character and I found myself really liking her and the relationship she had with Haven.

Though this book doesn't have all that much of a romance aspect it never failed to keep my attention. Sometimes it's okay for a book not to focus so much on the romance and more so on a family struggling to pick up the pieces as everything around them changes. I liked that Sarah did that with That Summer. 

This is a quick summer read with a great story to be told about family and how change isn't all that bad when you know why everything changed in the first place. That Summer is getting 3.5 out of 5 birds from me! I really enjoyed this book and all though it isn't the best of Sarah Dessen's work or one of my favorite's I'd still recommend everyone read it. It's a good book with a story I think anyone can take a little something out of it and relate to.


  1. I've never read anything by Sarah Dessen before. I thought all her books were romance so I'm surprised to hear this one focused more on family than anything else, which is really cool. Sorry you weren't able to connect with Haven, but at least you understood where she was coming from. Awesome review =)

  2. I binge read all of Sarah's books a couple of years ago, so they all blur together a little for me. But, I do like when a book has more to it than romance!

    Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist

  3. I'm really going to have to read something by Sarah Dessen one of these days. I haven't gotten around to any of her books yet even though everyone says they're great. This one sounds like a great summer read. I love when younger characters are written realistically, even if that means they're a little unlikable or flawed sometimes.