Title: That Summer
Author: Sarah Dessen
Date(s) read: January 3 – 6, 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Library (Paperback)
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.
I feel like I should preface this review by saying that I really do love Sarah Dessen. I’ve read a handful of her books already and have always finished with a smile of contentment on my face — until this one.
I know I’ll get rocks thrown at me for the lack of Sarah love on this one, but it’s the truth. Of course, I feel slightly more relieved having learned that this was Sarah’s first book. I think that might explain why it took me so long to actually get through it — and a lot of my “reading” was skimming.
This isn’t to say that I didn’t want to like this one — heck, I wanted to love this book! My track record with Sarah’s books has been pretty good, but I found myself not really being able to identify with Haven. Really, I would’ve prefered to see the story from Ashley’s perspective because I think it would’ve been a lot more interesting. Being inside of Haven’s head was kind of boring and not a lot really happened in the story. I started skimming just to see when something good would happen, but at under 300 pages, I was disappointed.
I feel like with this story, Sarah Dessen was just getting her wings when it came to writing. It didn’t have a lot of the humour that’s in her other books, or the relationship between the main character and a neighbourhood boys that I like to read about. A lot of the time, we’re stuck in Haven’s head, reading her inner monologue which got a little tedious after a while.
Maybe I’ve just gotten used to the way Sarah writes these days because I know there are people who have loved this book, but when it comes to recommending her works to people, I know this won’t be one that I will pass on. Of course, I still love her work and hope to read everything else she’s written — she really is a great author, even if this one isn’t indicative of that.