Book Review: That Summer by Sarah Dessen

May 27, 2015 Young Adult Book Reviews 2 ★★★

Book Review: That Summer by Sarah DessenTitle: That Summer by Sarah Dessen
Published by: Speak on June 12, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Source: The Publisher
Format: Paperback
Pages: 198
Click it: Goodreads | Amazon

The more things change...

As far as Haven is concerned, there's just too much going on.

Everything is changing, and she's not sure where she fits in.

Then her sister's old boyfriend shows up, sparking memories of the summer when they were all happy and everything was perfect...

But along the way, Haven realizes that sometimes change is a good thing.

I received this book for free from The Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

One Line: Not much going on, but still a meaningful read.

In My Opinion: Worth a try!

This was my first Dessen book, but I have to say, I’m not overly impressed. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, I was just hoping for more. You know me, I’m an action kind of girl and I have a hard time really enjoying Contemporary YA as it is. I need storylines that move and flow, that are actually going somewhere and have a lot of push and pull. There’s not much of that in this book. Yes, Dessen’s writing style is meaningful and thoughtful, but her storyline, at least in That Summer, doesn’t really go anywhere. At only 198 pages, there’s not much to this book.

That Summer focuses on Haven and all the changes she’s dealing with within her family – her parent’s recent divorce, her father getting remarried, her big sister getting married and leaving the house, her mother discovering new meaning and purpose in her life, growing so damn tall she sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the rest of her family. So many changes for a teen to go through and I think the way Dessen handled how Haven viewed and digested it all was done perfectly. I appreciated Haven mentally absorbing all that was going on around her, not really reacting to it though until eventually it all got to her and she’s forced to come to terms with her new reality. That aspect of the book was nice, but because that’s basically all there is to the book, it didn’t wow me like I was hoping. I kept waiting for the drama to unfurl or the other shoe to drop, something to push the story along and engage me, but it didn’t happen for me.

As a thought-provoking and introspective take on changes in family dynamics and such while being a teen, Dessen is able to grasp that really well and anyone who likes that kind of read will enjoy this book. If you’re looking for more action, more of things actually happening, you won’t get that in this book. I think knowing what to expect when going into a book like this will help a reader figure out if they’ll actually enjoy the book or not. I’m still open to trying another Dessen book as her writing is very nice, but I’m hoping there’s more “oomph” in her other books.

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2 Responses to “Book Review: That Summer by Sarah Dessen”

    • Vi

      Yeah, I was disappointed I didn’t like this as much as I was hoping. There just wasn’t really a story to this, even though it’s good writing. Maybe bc it’s actually the 1st book she wrote?! I’m still open to trying more of her books though.

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