That Summer

0670061107-01-lzzzzzzzFirst Lines: The day my father got remarried, my mother was up at six A.M. defrosting the refrigerator.  I woke to the sound of her hacking away and the occasional thud as a huge slab of ice crashed.

Oh yes, I am rocking the old school Sarah Dessen.  This book first came out when I was 5, so we are winding the clock back.  I bought this super cheap about a year ago and I just decided it was finally time to read it.

This is the summer of too many things changing, and Haven is tired of it.  First, her dad is getting remarried to the local “Weather Pet,” as her mom likes to call her.  Haven’s sister Ashley is getting married to Lewis Warsher, who doesn’t seem to fit Ashley at all.  And then there’s the unforgettable fact that Haven is nearly six feet tall and still growing.  Haven can’t handle all these changes.  Then Ashley’s ex-boyfriend Sumner Lee comes back into Haven’s life and reminds Haven of the summer when her parents were happy, her family was together, and things were perfect…weren’t they?

This was interesting.  It’s not the romance book I’m used to getting from Dessen, but it was still kind of refreshing in that respect because it was just about Haven and her troubles.  There’s definitely enough going on in Haven’s life to keep her busy.

The characters, as usual, are awesome.  Each one, even the minor characters, have their own distinct personalities.  You know exactly who they are and you feel like you actually know them.  That is one quality that I just love so much about Dessen’s writing.

You can definitely see where Dessen has grown as a writer since then, though.  There are some little things that she doesn’t do anymore.  Like there’s a mysterious minor character that is just sort of there that I thought was going to turn into something more, but never did.  And the ending is a bit confusing and abrupt.  I haven’t noticed this happening in really any of her other books since.

Oh, and there’s also a bit of nostalgia here.  I couldn’t help giggling when the characters were talking about long distance calls and how expensive they are, how they have to write letters, and how there are definitely no cell phones.  At 24, I barely remember what that was like.  But at least I know what a long distance call is.

Overall, it’s not the best Dessen book, but it’s still got pieces of her unique writing style here that make it worth looking into.

One thought on “That Summer

  1. When I first read it as a teenager I didn’t particularly enjoy it. It wasn’t my first Dessen book, so I was surprised when I realized it wasn’t a romance. But, I reread it a few years ago as an adult, and I loved it so much more. It’s not her best (but it’s pretty good for a debut) but I just remember sobbing because there was so much in it that I didn’t pick up on as a teenager.

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