That Summer

SARA_DESSEN_branding_v10 [Converted]With Sarah Dessen being one of my favorite authors, you’d think I’ve read every one of her books – sadly that is mistaken. There are a couple I haven’t read in a really long time, but also a couple that I haven’t read at all  such as That Summer. Here’s the Goodreads synopsis:

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.

Not one of Dessen’s best, but its her first published novel, getting it out there for readers was a success in itself. The book is a short one – only 198 pages – but still tiresome to read. For me, the layout of the book is always a big deal breaker. I have extremely bad eyes, so the layout of the text would hurt me eyes due to large chunky paragraphs following one another – break up the paragraphs a little people, save us with awful eyes!

Dessen understands the life of a teenager and summarizes it in one sentence:

I didn’t like any of it, suddenly, the changes and reorganizations and alterations to my life that were all in the control of other people and outside forces.

-Haven pg. 107

I remember feeling so powerless sometimes because what I wanted for my life and future didn’t get taken into account. Parents knew best, and I just needed to accept that. We need to make mistakes to learn and grow up, but sometimes it’s okay. I learned more in my house than some of my friends did in theirs. I wasn’t given a silver spoon. I knew how to do my own laundry long before I went off to college. I never had my car/license taken away. I’m in debt due to student loans for school, not because I racked up daddy’s credit card. Haven and I are alike in many ways, which is why I like her. We’re independent and invisible, the main character in our own stories, but not one to take the show over. We just want to be the ones in charge of our life without creating such a stir.

I also saw a lot of similarities of the main character, Haven, to Dessen’s newest main character, Sydney from Saint Anything. Both are utterly invisible to their families, but Haven is hardly unmissable with her “outrageous” height. When will she stop growing? Nobody knows… Haven’s sister, Ashley, on the other hand, irritates me. Haven had described her as a strong woman that broke guys’ hearts and didn’t put up with crap, but her newest boyfriend-now-fiance turned her into this tiny little girl that needs protection and affection 24/7. I hate girls who go from independent to needy in a matter of minutes just because the boyfriend shows up. Granted, I myself, can be very needy sometimes, but it’s mainly when I haven’t seen my boyfriend for a month due to the fact that my boyfriend and I go to school in two different states. Any boy that changes you that much – in what I see as a negative way – is not a good thing. But also, Ashley is a crazy , centered-b@!$#

Haven’s father had an affair and married the local weather girl – Lorna Queen. Lorna can basically be described as Barbara Jean from the 2001 to 2007 TV sitcom, Reba. As a reader I don’t really like Lorna, not just because she’s a home-wrecker, but she is clearly an idiot. I mean, she announces on live television that she’s expecting a baby a month after getting married, before Haven’s dad can tell the family he left behind for a younger, perkier, stupider girl. Rant over.

And now onto Sumner. Boy, does Dessen have a way of making us fall in love with her make characters. We hadn’t even met Sumner’s character yet, just heard about him from Haven’s memories, and I was utterly infatuated with him. He seemed to appear whenever Haven needed a friend.

But things can be surprising. The world may come crashing down, but things are going to change and get better. You can’t be hung up on stupid happy memories from the past, because when you do that you don’t live in the moment of now. Embrace the ones your with and accept change in any form it comes in. And a life lesson from Dessen, the first boy is always the hardest to get over.

It may not have been Dessen’s best, but it is still enjoyable. I’m looking forward to continuing my #SarahDessenMarathon with Someone Like You. Happy reading lovelies!


2 thoughts on “That Summer

  1. I’ve read most of Sarah Dessen’s works (a huge fan of her) and I found That Summer just okay. The Truth About Forever still remains my personal favorite. I can’t wait to read her recent work.


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