That Summer by Sarah Dessen : Book Review

That Summer by Sarah Dessen
Published by Penguin on 2004-05-11
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary, Family, Girls & Women, Social Issues, Stepfamilies, Young Adult
Pages: 224

For fifteen-year-old Haven, life is changing too quickly. She's nearly six feet tall, her father is getting remarried, and her sister&150the always perfect Ashley&150is 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.

That Summer is Sarah Dessen’s first published book, and a quick summery contemporary read. Fifteen year old Haven has many things going on and she is trying to find her place. Haven’s father is getting remarried, her sister is getting married, her mom wants to sell the house, and she keeps growing taller and taller. Haven is slightly under six feet tall and she is really self-conscious about her height. Haven also has a not so great job at a children’s shoe store. Haven is struggling with the changing world around her especially with her sister Ashley getting married. This book is all about changes and adjusting to those changes.

My biggest complaint is the fact that nothing really takes place until the end. Even during the end, there is not really any suspense. Nevertheless, I thought the story was entertaining but it was just not a page turner.  Moreover, this story is more character driven than plot driven, which is actually wonderful for some books. I’ve heard that Sarah Dessen is known for her characters, and that her writing improves a lot. I did love that the main character was not chasing a boy – at all. Haven was mainly concerned about her relationship with her sister since she’s getting married soon.

Although That Summer was not my favorite book, I’d like to check out Sarah Dessen’s newer books. It was a cute book overall, and I’d recommend it if you love quick contemporary books. This would make a fantastic summer read! This book was what I was looking for – a quick contemporary read to off set so many stressful books. Sometimes you just need a relaxing book that is not full of chaos, and if so then this is the book for you.



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Samantha is a 31 year old reader, blogger, sucker for Netflix, and of course a Hogwarts Graduate (Gryffindor!). Her Siberian Husky completely owns he thinks. Follow Samantha on Goodreads.

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