That Summer by Sarah Dessen
Published On: March 25, 2003 (originally published 1996)
Published By: Speak/Listening Library
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For fifteen-year-old Haven this is the summer where everything changes.
Dad is remarrying. Her sister Ashley is planning a wedding of her own. They're both moving on, but Haven is lost in memories of a time when life was happy and her family was whole.
And then Ashley's ex, the charming and funny Sumner Lee, arrives in town. He reminds Haven of carefree days gone by, and she can't help but wonder - has fate brought this person from her past back to change her future?
At 15, Haven feels as though her life is completely changing and it’s all happening too fast. Not only has her father left them, but now he is getting remarried, and so too is her older sister Ashley. With all of this change, all Haven wants is for things to go back to the way they were. Then, out of the blue, Ashley’s ex-boyfriend Sumner appears to give Haven a new outlook on bot the future, and the past.
To be completely honest, I was expecting so much more from a Sarah Dessen book. With this being the first of her books I have read, and having heard so many great things about her, I was quite disappointed with this book. Now knowing that this was the first book of Dessen’s to be published, I can understand why it may not be as good as those commonly raved about, but I still excepted more.
I found the plot to be rather boring. I kept waiting for something big to happen, for something to jump out as the ‘this is what this book is about’ point, but it fell flat for me. I was constantly thinking that a new character or event would be something important to the plot, but there just didn’t seem to be any big or important moments, everything just happened. I felt as though there was a lack of an overall plot.
While I enjoyed the characters, they just weren’t enough. Often when there is very little happening in the plot, some great characters can really carry the story. However, as much as I liked these characters, some more than others, they were not enough to make the book interesting or exciting enough for me.
Despite being quite negative about this book, it was not a terrible read. This was an average, ‘meh’ contemporary read for me. Though I didn’t have any story positive feelings about it, I did enjoy it somewhat.
The most exciting part about this for me was the fact that this was my first audiobook experience. Even though I didn’t love this book, I did really love the whole audiobook part of it. In all honesty, I may not have persevered with this book had I not been listening to it.
Overall, I did not love this book, but it was enjoyable enough. It is not one I would rush to recommend to someone, despite the hype surrounding Sarah Dessen’s books. However, this did not put me off her books and I will be giving one of her later books a go to see what all the fuss is about.