Title: That Summer by Sarah Dessen
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Published by: Viking Books for Young Readers (Apr. 6, 2006)
For fifteen-year-old Haven, life is changing too quickly. She’s nearly six feet tall, her father is getting remarried, and her sister—the always perfect Ashley—is planning a wedding of her own. Haven wishes things could just go back to the way they were. Then an old boyfriend of Ashley’s reenters the picture, and through him, Haven sees the past for what it really was, and comes to grips with the future.
What I Thought
Just a little fun fact, this was Sarah Dessen’s first novel. You can definitely tell that by reading it as well. Not that it’s not as well written, but it just doesn’t have that same Sarah Dessen feel. Sarah Dessen’s books usually give you that summer, beach life, feeling, and I just didn’t get that with That Summer. However, even though it didn’t give me that feeling, I still really enjoyed it.
Haven is coming to the point in her life where everything is changing; her dad is remarrying, her sister is getting married, her mom is becoming more independent, and even her best friend has suddenly become boy crazy and wild. Plus at 15, Haven is still a self-conscious teen. I really got how Haven was feeling. It felt like everything and everybody was changing, except her.
This was definitely one of those perfect end of summer books. The majority of the book takes place in August, and you can feel it. This book never has that “It’s summertime finally! Anything can happen! WooohooO!” feeling that so many summer themed books have. That Summer actually had more of a melancholy feel to it.
It was also extremely refreshing to have a book where the main character is a teenage girl that is NOT “in love” or obsessed with having a boyfriend. This book isn’t about Haven finding love or finally getting that first kiss or anything like that, and I loved that. Don’t get me wrong, those books are fun, but I don’t always feel like reading about teen love, and it’s good to show that not all 15 year olds are in a relationship or even wanting to be in one, and that’s a-okay.
Overall, while it’s not your typical Sarah Dessen, I enjoyed this book. Also, I don’t know why, but I cried at the ending, so if you’re feeling extra sensitive (like apparently I was at the time??), you may want a Kleenex or two.
Review originally written Sept. 2013.
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