Book Reviews of That Summer

That Summer
That Summer
Author: Sarah Dessen
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ISBN-13: 9780142401729
ISBN-10: 0142401722
Publication Date: 5/11/2004
Pages: 208
Reading Level: Young Adult
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.

3.7 stars, based on 154 ratings
Publisher: Speak
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

9 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed That Summer on + 962 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
In her fifteenth summer, Haven is nearing six feet tall and feeling every bit as awkward as a fish out of water. That summer is particularly tumultuous for her: in addition to her embarrassingly rapid growth spurt, she also has to suffer through two marriages, her father's remarriage and her sister Ashley's.

It's hard for Haven to see her father moving into a new life with his new bride, leaving her and her mother behind. Meanwhile, Haven thinks that Ashley is being too selfish with her impending marriage. But it is not only that. Ashley has always been pushing Haven away her whole life and acting like a pain. Wistfully Haven remembers the summer Ashley went out with Sumner Lee. He made Ashley loosen up and allow Haven to get close.

All of a sudden, Sumner's back being his usual comfortable, friendly self, taking Haven along for the ride. He's just what she needs this summer, when she feels disconnected from everyone else. In a way, she's also secretly hoping that Sumner will help bring her and Ashley closer together, just like he did all those years ago.

But sometimes things aren't always how Haven wants them to be. This summer, she'll learn that people will let her down, but she can grow into her body, soul and all. It only takes one summer.

Sarah Dessen is a consistently impressive author, and her debut will not let anyone down. It has heart and realism, two things that many YA books nowadays are sorely lacking. Don't miss this rich story.
reviewed That Summer on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I really didn't care for this book. I love Sarah Dessen, but I found this book totally boring. It's basically two hundred pages of nothing actually happening. There is no love story for the main character, and I think throughout the book she learns some sort of lesson, but I'm not really sure what. I just got bored and ended up skimming through the last half. I would definitely reccommend "The Truth About Forever" or "Just Listen" as opposed to this book.
reviewed That Summer on + 103 more book reviews
This book reminded me of what it was like when I was a teenager, growing up in the shadow of my older sister. It was funny and an enjoyable read.
reviewed That Summer on
I liked this book but it wasn't very intriguing. I figured that it would be one of those books you never put down, but it wasn't for me. Hopefully, the others by Sarah Dessen, will be more interesting or intense.
reviewed That Summer on + 504 more book reviews
This was a very realistic slice of life novel about a fifteen year old girl named Haven whose life has been turned upside down. She is adjusting to her parents divorce, her father's wedding to the "other woman" and her sister's impending wedding and is unable to share any of her feelings with her best friend who has turned into a boy crazy self-centered stranger.

It seems the only one she can confide in her sister's ex-boyfriend whom always made everyone happy. Haven longs for the days when things were easy, she was close with her sister and her parents still loved each other and Sumner is the only one who takes the time to let her vent.

This isn't a romance instead it explores Haven's feelings, the pain, the longing and the new reality that she must face. Sumner is the catalyst for change within Haven and ultimately helps her heal simply by listening and then by being imperfect.

I thought this was a very good book. These people felt real to me. They weren't always likable but reacted in ways that didn't ring false.
reviewed That Summer on + 138 more book reviews
Definitely a very female version of a coming of age story. Also a sister of the bride story. Sarah Dessen's first novel doesn't have the widespread appeal of some of her later works but the story does show her talent for crafting likable, realistic characters that one easily empathizes with.

In this case, Haven who's six years younger than her older sister and becoming frustrated with her sister's wedding plans, her best friends changed persona since returning from summer camp and the effect that the parents' divorce is having on all the members of her family.

At 198 ages this is shorter than the rest of her books and is a more tightly focused plot than her later works but I found it enjoyable, engaging, and certainly worth the reading time.

The plotline is something that a lot of her female readers will have lived through and there are critics that have called it boring. Being a guy, I'd not seen or thought about a lot of these aspects of what it might be like to be coming of age as a girl/child and how that's different than what man/child goes through, so much of this was new to me. Yet the commonality was there and identifiable and worthy of understanding.

Overall a good first effort but I am glad that this was not the first of Sarah Dessen's books that I'd read.
reviewed That Summer on + 15 more book reviews
"I was . . . like a jigsaw puzzle piece that can only go in the middle, waiting for the others to fit around it and make it whole." - Haven, "That Summer."

This was my light, bedtime reading for the past few weeks. I expected it to be a teen romance, because Hollywood made a romantic comedy out of this book ("How to Deal"). I was thrown a little off when it was not in fact a romance--it was a story about sisterhood. I could go on a tangent here about Hollywood devalueing female/female relationships, but I won't.

I really liked the premise of this story. It takes place over one summer when everything seems to be changing for 15-year-old Haven--her parents have recently divorced, her mom wants to move, her best friend has turned "bad girl," and her sister's getting married. In the midst of this, her sister's first boyfriend shows up in town and reminds Haven about the way her life used to be simple. It's basically a coming of age story.

Unfortunately, it didn't live up to its potential--the characters felt like they walked onto the page from a bad sitcom (or maybe a bad romantic comedy . . .), the prose was clunky, the dialogue was really awkward. It reminded me of something I would have written when I was 16. I sort of expected more, because its part of the "Speak" line, which I assumed were exceptionally high quality books. But I've actually only ever read one "Speak" book ("My Heartbeat") and just heard high praise for "Speak," which started the line.

That was tangential. The end of this book was nice and really redeemed a lot of it for me, so I didn't feel like it was a complete waste of time.
reviewed That Summer on
Not my favorite Sarah Dessen book. Very forgettable.
reviewed That Summer on + 66 more book reviews
This wasn't really what I expected from this book. This is my ninth Sarah Dessen book, so I knew what to expect, despite the fact that this was her first book. And this book did follow a lot of my Sarah Dessen expectations. Though, based on the cover and title, I was expecting more of a light-hearted, summer read. While this book takes place during the summer, it's not the fun, summer book that I was expecting.
Haven is fifteen years and reaching almost 6 feet. Her father has run off with the weather girl and her older sister is getting married. Haven wishes that everything would go back to the way it was. Back when her parents were happily married, her sister was nice to her, and she wasn't freakishly tall. When Haven runs into one of Ashley's, her sister, old boyfriends, she begins to miss the past even more and question what happened to it.
This is a fairly short book, at around 200 pages, so it's not a surprise that this book is actually very uneventful. There are two weddings, the appearance of Ashley's old boyfriend (though, Haven is the only one who notices him), and Haven's job. Overall, this is actually just a coming of age story for Haven. The whole book is very slow-paced and focuses on how Haven has to grow into how much her life is changing. While not much happens, I did like reading it and it was a nice story. Many supporting characters were annoying, but I did like Haven. She doesn't quite know why her life is changing so rapidly and why she can't go back, and I could really feel for her.
While this is Sarah Dessen's early work, it still has her usual style. It's the coming of age tale about a girl who is in a tough family situation. Unlike her other books, there is no romance whatsoever, maybe because the main character is younger than her other books.
This isn't my favorite Sarah Dessen book, but I still liked it. I liked seeing Haven's journey in figuring out why this is happening to her family and her. Sarah Dessen is still one of my favorite authors.