My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I can honestly say that this is not my favorite Sarah Dessen book. This was her first novel, and you can really see that she has grown as a writer over the years. I did, however, read this book pretty much in one sitting. It isn’t a very long book, and I was sick with some kind of stomach bug yesterday, so I wasn’t doing a whole lot of moving around. Perfect time for reading!
That Summer is the story of Haven and her life one summer spanning from one wedding (her father’s) to another (her sister’s). So two very important people in her life, two very important events, with a whole lot of drama, craziness, revelation and growth squashed in the middle. Haven is a tall (almost 6 feet) and awkward fifteen year old. Her life seems to be going to pieces around her. On top of all of that, she seems to have no one to turn to. Her mother has a friend who has been helping her through divorce and subsequent re-marriage of her ex-husband. Haven’s sister, Ashley, has found love and her own best friend in Lewis, her husband-to-be. Casey, Haven’s best friend, has returned from 4-H camp boy-crazed and rebellious, so turning to her doesn’t seem to be an option. Haven is feeling alone. When, Sumner, an old ex-boyfriend of Ashley’s – Haven’s favorite of them all, comes back into town and into her life, Haven turns to him for comfort and occasional advise. Sumner was around at a time when everything in Haven’s life seemed to be perfect, and a time that she enjoys living in, even if it’s only in her mind.
What Haven learns throughout this summer is how even when everything seems perfect, things aren’t always what they appear. When life seems to be falling to pieces, it’s okay to learn and grow and move forward.