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That Summer

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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.

208 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1996

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Sarah Dessen

75 books45.6k followers

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5 stars
11,982 (21%)
4 stars
14,234 (25%)
3 stars
19,111 (34%)
2 stars
7,858 (14%)
1 star
2,223 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,980 reviews
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,014 reviews1,051 followers
August 24, 2016

I am certain That Summer isn’t one of Ms. Sarah Dessen’s finest but I also know that this is one of her more realistic stories and despite the simplicity of the plot and the plainness of the narration, it was a relatable read. It was easy sympathizing with Haven, a too tall, fifteen year old who is trying to adapt to all the changes going on around her and the people she loves.

Many parts dragged a bit and I could easily point out flaws in the plot and in the characterization but I would do no such thing owing it to the little detail that this was the first book written by the author. Thankfully, the entire story took less than 200 pages to finish and I have to admit, the last few pages were beautiful. If it weren’t for those concluding paragraphs, I wouldn’t have fully appreciated the essence of the entire novel.

Thank you so much to my awesome buddy, Neil (or bleed) for gifting me the book. Thank you for your endless generosity, pal! You're awesome!^^
Profile Image for Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile.
2,025 reviews580 followers
June 9, 2020
A typical, feel-good Sarah Dessen novel. I didn't realize this was her very first novel until after I'd finished it, actually. The novel spans a summer in the life of a girl learning to love herself in her own skin and emotionally deal with the turmoil surrounding her. It was beautiful to watch her, her mom, and her sister learning to get along and show love to each other. While nothing especially thrilling happened in the novel, it was more about the emotional journey.

As a side note, I have read several of Sarah Dessen's novels and plan to continue to read them whenever I need a good, quick pick-me-up, so I clearly have an appreciation for her. That being said, I must admit that once I realized this was her first novel, I had to admit to myself that it was exactly the same as the other books I've read by her. I don't see where she has had much growth as an author through the years. Harsh, I know, but true, and what is a proper Goodreads review without honesty? Perhaps she is an abider of the mantra "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"?
Profile Image for Alexis Robinson.
50 reviews
July 15, 2021
I decided not to finish this book because of too many reasons I could not avoid..

1st: The storyline was boring.
2nd: The characters were boring.
3rd: The writing wasn't all that great. Very repetitive.
4th: I found no story progression and only 80 pages in, I was just skimming through hoping it would end soon.

You can definitely tell this was Sarah's first book, because I have really liked all her other books and this one just put me to sleep, as sad as I am to say that. I do not recommend this book, unless you need something to make you fall asleep, then this book is for you!
Profile Image for enqi ༄ؘ 。˚ ⋆♡.
321 reviews587 followers
July 18, 2018
The very first book I read by Sarah Dessen was Dreamland. By the time I’d finished that book, she was automatically catapulted to the top of my list of favorite authors. I started this book of hers with such high expectations but sadly, they were dashed.

I am still in love with Sarah Dessen’s writing. I am still captivated by the way she expertly weaves strings of words together in a way that not only is utterly enchanting, but also incites emotion in the reader. She has undeniable ability to tell a gripping story in deceptively simple words, something that few authors can pull off, and yet she has done it multiple times in her many bestselling books.

But there was almost no plot in this book. The word I would use to describe it is empty : like a pastry with a delicious crust but hollow inside. On the surface, Sarah’s language prowess kept me riveted to the pages; I actually did, to some extent, care about Haven, her sister Ashley, and Ashley’s ex-boyfriend Sumner as well as other important side characters such as Ashley’s fiancé, their mother, and Lydia Catrell. I genuinely cared about these characters, I did! But as I read on I started to notice a significant lack of plot in the entire story. Nothing major happened from the very first page to the end. None of the characters were spectacular, memorable, or particularly endearing. Several relationships in the story weren’t well developed enough or in some cases, glossed over and not developed at all. There was no character development, and neither was there any significant message to take away from the story. And Haven, the main character, blindly clung to a time when Sumner, Ashley’s ex was around, because when he was around he brought light and laughter and everyone in the house gravitated towards him. She believed her life was perfect back then, with a complete family and her big sister being nice towards her, and somehow she thought that if she could get Ashley to talk to Sumner again things would return to what they once was. I get that her life was in such a wreck she was lost and pretty desperate, but her naiveté annoyed me at times. And there wasn’t really any resolution to the book. Even Haven herself didn’t get any closure, let alone the rest of the characters. God, I don't even know how to classify this book at all because it's tagged as contemporary romance, but honestly nothing of that sort happens to Haven. Unless her sister's coming marriage (only a side story) counts?

I've noticed that Sarah Dessen’s books always have an event that happens which changes the main character’s worldview. But in this book, I’m not even sure what really happened. It seemed like Haven just heard another side to the story of Ashley’s breakup with her previous boyfriend which altered the way she saw some things, but it didn’t come off as something to write an entire book about.

I wouldn’t say this book was terribly written because I am absolutely in love with Sarah Dessen’s writing and somehow she’s managed to save a book with no redeeming qualities, using just her amazing writing prowess. This is her debut novel and I’m confident that her talent has only shown itself more and blossomed since then. But That Summer felt to me like a sketch: it had potential, so much potential, interesting plot workings, characters I could root for, but in the end it fell short anyway because it just wasn’t fully fleshed out enough.
Profile Image for Christine.
144 reviews44 followers
August 17, 2012
Many of my friends on Goodreads didn't like this book, and it's because they just don't get it. I can connect with Haven completely and I felt her pain about all of the issues in her life. This book, if you can relate, was so sad and made me cry. It was just really painful for some people who can relate. I'm not going to go into detail, but if you think you might like it then read a little, if you don't start to connect, then dump it. I loved this book in a different way than the others I've loved. It meant something to me, and it helped me. I'll never forget what That Summer meant to me. It was a wonderful book.
Profile Image for Alice-Elizabeth (Prolific Reader Alice).
1,147 reviews153 followers
July 29, 2018
I've tried reading books by this author in the past. Sadly, my experiences haven't been all that great. I've come to a short conclusion that Sarah's writing style just isn't for me. That Summer was a short, fast-paced YA Romance told over the course of a summer holiday and following a fifteen year old girl called Haven. She witnesses family drama such as her Dad re-marrying to a TV weather reporter and her sister Ashley getting into strops about her wedding preparations. It isn't until a guy called Sumner arrives back in town and connects with Haven. Only issue is that he is Ashley's ex-boyfriend. I didn't like Haven as a character, she was quite stroppy and bratty and reminded me of someone I used to know. The amount of crying and shouting matches included in this short novel I found to be rather unpleasant. Sumner as a character was not bad, however, if the tensions weren't so heavily featured, then I might have liked the storyline and characters more. Overall, quite disappointed. I won't be re-reading.
Profile Image for Ana705.
19 reviews17 followers
December 3, 2010
who, would like this book???? bored, people who want to listen to boring stuff? okay, i know a lot (A LOT!) of people who enjoyed this book but, it doesn't speak at, all to me. this is not my style of book, and type. sorry.
Profile Image for Morgan F.
512 reviews465 followers
November 14, 2009
What happened with this book! The beginning, middle, and end were exactly the same, NOTHING HAPPENED. It was soooo boring, but I forced myself to finish it to guarantee no suprises were coming (nope). The big drama on what happened when Sumner and Ashley was nothing. I was so disappointed in Sarah Dessen. I'm glad this wasn't the first book of hers I read, or else it would be the last.
Profile Image for Fiona.
247 reviews66 followers
June 27, 2015
What a crazy book. I'm so regretting picking this up.


That Summer wasn’t what I expected at all. The only character I really got to know was the protagonist, Haven, and I didn’t like her very much. I felt bad for her in the circumstances she was in, but there was something about her that just rubbed me the wrong way. I was also disappointed in the ending. I felt like I had waited for something very anti-climactic and didn’t seem true to the characters portrayed in the book.

It was extremely boring. There wasn't much of a plot at all. Haven was very annoying. She is upset because she's tall and thin like a walking straw, her parents got divorced, and her sister is getting married to the "wrong guy" as she sees it. She wants her sister to be with Sumner, but doesn't realize her sister had a very valid reason for breaking up with him. The book was short (thank goodness!), and I did not see any growth from the main character.

I kept hoping the book would get better and that the story and/or characters would grab me at some point. But, none of that happened. I was so happy when I finished because I knew I wouldn’t have to pick it up again. (Sorry, Dessen sweetie!)


Lastly, the ending was a big let-down. With a book like this, there is no gasp worthy event or anything I could say that would make you feel like you were spoiled, but if there had to be one, I guess this would be it... (READ AT YOUR OWN RISK)

Overall, there was honestly no point to the story, and the synopsis will have you fooled. The book is mainly about chaotic planning for Ashley's wedding, and what happens to everyone around Haven, not Haven herself. All in all, I didn't like the book. That's all. Bow.



p.s. The book cover was pretty but looks can be deceiving. There were no beaches, no romantic interlude involving twirling on the sand – it’s pretty but it’s not relevant! (Neither was the old cover of a girl cartwheeling on the beach. This is bothersome. LOL.)
Profile Image for Kristin Hackett (Merrily Kristin).
213 reviews3,653 followers
April 7, 2017
Fear not, I am not deterred from reading Sarah's other books and enough people have told me this book is one of their least favorites that I feel confident that I'll like her other books. Being so short, this one was a quick read but it felt like almost nothing happened? Also, so much angst.
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,707 reviews928 followers
June 28, 2017
I am astounded at how much I didn't like this Dessen book. I think the other one that brought out similar feelings in me was "This Lullaby".

"This Summer" is about 15 year old Haven dealing with the upheaval in her life over the course of a summer. It's also about her looking back with rose colored glasses on the last summer she sees her family as being happy.

Without much ado, in the first few pages we find out that Haven is going to her father's wedding to a woman he had an affair with. Her mother is now obsessed with gardening and hanging out with her new friend on the block. And her older sister Ashley is preparing to wed in about two months after her father's wedding. Haven longs for a time when her father was all together. And weirdly starts obsessing about her sister's ex boyfriend named Sumner (not a misspelling) who she believes was the key to her family all being happy.

I am sorry, you can't see my face right now but I am cracking up. I think that if Haven had been younger, maybe I could have been more sympathetic. But the fact of the matter is, she's 15 going on 16 (now that song is going to be in my head all day) and acts like she's 12 for most of this story. She sneaks around privately listening to conversations between her mother and sister. Judges her sister for getting married to someone she finds boring and not as exciting as Sumner was. And she doesn't confront her father for being a lousy parent and an even worse husband to her mother. She just flails around for most of the book before acting like a total ass to her mother and sister and then gets woken up to the fact that people are not what they appear to be.

Yep, that's the lesson.

The other characters in this one stay pretty flat from beginning to end though and don't stay consistent the whole through either. For example, we are told that Ashley doesn't like to think negatively of their father, defends him, etc. but we see that out of the two of them Ashley is upset about what happened with her family and that she does blame their father for her parents marriage ending. Same thing when Ashley and Haven finally have a big talk (not really) at the end and then we are supposed to think of "Sisters". Honestly this book had me wishing to re-watch the tv show "Sisters" cause that to me was a more realistic look at sisters who love and also want to strangle each other sometimes.

I felt bad for the short look at Haven's supposed best friend. Haven calls her friend a "slut" but everything in name and made me cringe for how disdainful she was being towards her.

Sumner was an empty shell and didn't even make sense as a character. I don't think he shows up in any other Dessen works, but don't quote me on that.

There's also a neighborhood girl now a woman gone good (she became a model) who is now home and is wandering around not really there. I don't even know why she was included as character.

The writing was so-so and repetitive in most cases. The flow was not that great. I thought there was a lot of show and not tell happening and the book moved so slowly that I was happy to get to the end.
Profile Image for Tessa Herondale~Carstairs.
206 reviews220 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
May 18, 2020
DNF at 14%

I do not have the patience for this book right now. There's 10 pages that explain the backstory without any dialogue, and I am going slowly crazy. I wanted to give this a chance, but I really can't. It's moving so slowly, and I literally can't go any further.
Profile Image for Brooke — brooklynnnnereads.
985 reviews240 followers
May 1, 2019
I have read this book, possibly multiple times, since it has been released but it has been a few years since my last reread (prior to at least 2015 when I began writing my reviews).

I am quite a fan of Sarah Dessen’s work but with this novel, I feel that it’s obvious that it’s one of her earlier books that have been published. With some of her more current works, she has definitely improved on her craft. With that being said, I would read this before some of her recent publications or with the expectation that this one is okay, where the others are great.

In this novel, the story does capture the essence and dramatics of being a teenager, but at the same time it doesn’t really feel as if much happens within the story. It feels as if the story is about an average routine on average days in an average summer for an average teenager. Everything is just that, average.

It was an okay read and a good introduction to Sarah Dessen but I don’t think readers should determine whether to continue to read her books based on this novel alone. If you don’t like this one but do enjoy coming of age stories, I’d suggest giving her other books a try because I find her writing in more recent publications to be vastly different.
Profile Image for Laura.
1,616 reviews79 followers
June 27, 2008
15-year-old Haven has always thought of the past with fond memories. She continuously retreats to favorite memories, not realizing that they might be jaded from reality. With Haven's father getting remarried and her sister, Ashley's marriage looming in the distant future, something snaps in Haven and she feels like she can't go on. It's only when an unexpected person, Ashley's old boyfriend, Sumner pops back into her life, does she start to think that maybe things will go back to the way they were all those years ago.

A fairly decent book, on the edge of four stars, leaning towards the three. I thought the language was annoying and took away from my liking the book more. I really liked how Haven never saw Sumner as anything more then a friend. And I liked that it was mostly about her struggles and finally finding freedom. It was also a relationship book, between Haven and her sister, Ashley. Read if you are a major Sarah Dessen fan.

*Taken from my book reviews blog: http://reviewsatmse.blogspot.com/2008...
Profile Image for emma.
1,822 reviews45.5k followers
January 25, 2018
was this sarah dessen's first book? this better have been sarah dessen's first book. there's no excuse otherwise.

this was like...the worst. but still sarah dessen. so not the worst?

who knows. the reread continues.
Profile Image for Pinky.
500 reviews320 followers
October 13, 2015
“It’s funny how one summer can change everything.”

I know, I know, you might think that this is crazy. PINKY RATED SARAH DESSEN'S BOOK 2 OUT OF 5 STARS. THE WORLD IS GONNA END, THIS IS CRAZY TALK! I find it hard to believe myself, all the Sarah Dessen books I read so far are so interesting and I love every single one of them, except this one. I know some people loved this book but I didn't enjoy it that much.

“Some things you don't have to tell. Some things, between sisters, are understood.”

After Haven's parents divorce, her father decided to marry Lorna, the woman he had an affair with. Ashley, Haven's sister is marrying a boring guy named Lewis, who Haven isn't a huge fan of. Her mother wants to go to Europe, but Hayden would be left alone at home at the age of fifteen. So many things are happening all at once and it is stressing Hayden. Then, Sumner, one of Ashley's ex-boyfriends return into town and Hayden can't stop thinking about all the good memories from that summer. The summer Sumner was dating Ashley, was the summer her family was together, smiling and happy. She believes Sumner was the reason her family was together and hated when Ashley and Sumner broke up. Will Hayden find out why Sumner and Ashley broke up, and is Sumner the only person that can keep the family together?

This book has so many things that have to do with marriage, it was CRAZY! Even though there were only two marriages in this book, the reader gets to see how stressful it can be for one to get married. Ashley was going through so many obstacles just for one marriage and it was driving me insane. I felt like I was going through the same stress she had been through. Marriage is something that will change your life and I don't think Ashley realized that.

“A united front announcing a split.”

One of the reasons of why I didn't enjoy this book that much was the characters. I don't think I liked any of them, I felt like they were always arguing and I didn't feel right when I read it. So many of them were selfish and snobby at times and it ticked me off. In my opinion, I felt like Ashley didn't understand how important a marriage was. She kept threatening Lewis that their relationship is over, or threatened to cancel the wedding. It seemed ridiculous, and it bothered me so much, all I was thinking was the fact that she might not enjoy her life. She is rushing and she isn't certain if she wants to get married to Lewis, it really bothered me. I felt so bad for Hayden because no one had payed attention to her, although they are all trying. Ashley with her wedding, her father is with his new family, and her mother wants to go to Europe. Sumner seemed nice but then I didn't like him in the end either... Okay, you might be thinking that I am being super picky, but I LOVED most of Sarah Dessen's books. This is probably the only one that I didn't enjoy that much.

“Sometimes there isn't a good guy or a bad guy. Sometimes even the ones you want to believe turn out to be liars.”

The bonding between the characters was something else I didn't enjoy because there were not that many moments. We see Ashley and Hayden bonding a little, but it didn't make my heard melt, it was just a small bond. I wanted to read more but the book was so short and I was so shocked when I finished it. The ending seemed a bit rushed and I was so upset when I finished. UGH! THE STRUGGLES!

I don't recommend you read this first if you haven't read a Sarah Dessen book. I recommend you read Just Listen, The Lullaby, Along for the Ride, Lock and Key, What Happened to Goodbye or The Moon and More. If you already read these books, then I recommend you try this book out, I know someone else might love this book.

P.S: As you all know, I am on a reading marathon for Sarah Dessen,s books but I am going to take a small break. Three of my library books are due on the 15th of October, so I gotta finish those before I continue this marathon. Hopefully this is the only book that I don't enjoy by Sarah Dessen because I love her books!
Profile Image for Emily (Obsessed Reader).
429 reviews283 followers
May 27, 2015
The fact that this book is only 200 pages definitely shows, because compared to Sarah's other books, not a whole lot really happens. However, I really liked it and the message behind it. If you are new to Dessen, don't start with this one. It is worth a read, though!
Profile Image for Sam Chase.
676 reviews117 followers
September 4, 2016
Rating: 3 stars

This was such a sweet book. It was Sarah Dessen's first novel, and you can see how much she's matured and grown over the years. This is the only book she's written where the girl doesn't get a guy, and also the youngest mc at fifteen. Instead, That Summer centered around sisterly love, and family relationships, something else Dessen is well known for. I really enjoyed this story, and all the little things that went into it.
Profile Image for Emily.
71 reviews12 followers
August 18, 2010
I am glad to know per another reader's review that this was Sarah Dessen's first book. I've heard so much about her as a YA author so my hopes were sky high, but I didn't feel like "That Summer" delivered to expectation.

My major disappointments were twofold in the climax:

1. There had been so much hype about the sub-plot of Gwendolyn Rodgers, and all that happened was that she and Haven ran into each other in a rainstorm and stared at one another. WTF?

2. I kept feeling like Sumner was going to end up back with Ashley, and that the reason they'd broken up was something intensely dramatic. But instead the reveal fell really flat, and I thought it a terrible justification for that fact that Ashley, though older, was still getting married at only 20 years old!

I did, however, love the Walkman references, and the scenes in the mall. I didn't know until later that the book was written in 1996 but it was amazing to read it and feel like a year I was in middle school now reads as so dated. Also, it's a lightning fast read, so at least it's over quickly.
Profile Image for Lauren Johnson.
172 reviews167 followers
March 25, 2016
3.5/5 While I wasn't super impressed by this book, I still enjoyed it for the most part and it was a quick and easy read. If you're a Sarah Dessen fan you'll probably enjoy this one.
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,084 reviews215 followers
May 28, 2021
Okay, so, I lowkey dove into That Summer because it just seemed to fit for a certain challenge. It also doesn't hurt that it was also on my TBR.. that is slowly taking over my life. It's a huge ass pile that I will someday conquer. Keyword: Someday because it sure isn't today or this year.

That being said, I've had some ups and downs with Sarah Dessen's books. And by that.. I mean a whole lot of meh and not for me. I think I ended liking two of her books so far and I'm going to continue this little journey until I find more. Maybe. Not really sure right now.. I need more coffee before I make this giant decision.

In this, you will meet Haven and Ashley. They are sisters and I honestly didn't really like either of them. Haven's world is sort of being flipped upside down. Or maybe she's just being overdramatic about her dad remarrying but details. There's also Ashley, who is currently planning her own wedding too.

I'm just going to say it.. this had a lot of drama for such a short book. A lot of unnecessary drama if you ask me. With Haven's little tantrums that made me want to pull out my eyelashes and everything else in between. I just honestly didn't have fun reading this and I was very happy that it was a short book.

In the end, this book was just not for me.
December 11, 2008
I’ve recently just read the book That Summer by Sarah Dessen. I’ve read many of Sarah’s books and this one is at the top of my list. This is just one of her many outstanding books. This book is about a girl whose life is going through many changes. She is not your typical teenage girl. She is fifteen and almost six feet tall! This book is how one thing can change the rest of your life.
Haven, an almost six foot giant, is the reason I loved this book. She is just like me, except I am more on the shorter side. She is the reason I loved this book because some of the situations that she has to overcome are some of the same ones I’ve had to do in the past. For example, when her sister gets married, I’ve never had a sister but my aunt got married and I was really close to her just like Haven and her sister. Also when her mom and dad get a divorce and then her dad gets remarried. I’ve lived through that just like she has done. Haven is realizing that she has to learn to move forward with life instead of trying to go backwards.
Ashley, Haven’s sister, is another character in the book. Ashley is a bride to be. She is getting married to a really great guy named Lewis. Ashley has had many boyfriends in the past. She’s kind of a player. Ashley and Haven are really close. Now that Ashley is getting married her and Haven keeps drifting apart.
Mac McPhail, Haven’s father, is a sports anchor on channel five who recently got married to the weather women, which Haven refers to her as the “weather pet”, Lorna Queen. Mac McPhail only sees Haven once a week, Thursday, on their weekly dinner. Also some surprising news is Haven’s dad and Lorna is going to have a baby. Haven doesn’t feel to happen about this. She thinks that her father is starting over with his life and forgetting about his old one, and her.
Ashley and Mac McPhail are all interesting character, but the most important is Haven. Without her this book would not even exist. She is a good role model for teens that are going through the same situations she is. She is a person I would look up to.
The theme of this book is one thing can change your life forever. For example, when Haven’s mother and father get a divorced, that changes her life big time. Now since they got divorced her father got remarried. Another example is when her sister gets married to Lewis. Haven and her sister were real close but since the wedding was on the way they drifted apart.
This book is set in present day in Lakeview. It is also set during the summer. It’s the summer that changes Haven’s life forever.
I really wouldn’t call anybody a hero in this book but if I had to choose one it would be Sumner. Sumner is one of Ashley’s many boyfriends. Sumner is the hero in this book because he helps Haven out in a lot of ways. Sumner is always there when Haven is having one of her crisis. He always helps her through them. He is the hero of the book.
This book is set on real life, that’s why I loved this book. You get the idea of how one simple thing or a huge thing can change your life forever. It took me a while to get into the book but once I got going I couldn’t stop.
Ina perfect world Haven’s parents would not be divorced, her sister and her would be close even if she got married, and the weather pet would not be having Haven’s fathers baby. This is not a perfect and world and things like this happen every day. This book shows us how to cope and overcome such terrible situations. If you want to find out how to Haven overcome’s the obstacles in her crazy life you’ll just have to read the book!

Profile Image for Erin.
232 reviews103 followers
August 2, 2011
There are a lot of plotlines in this book. That is its problem. I think, ultimately, That Summer is about Haven's relationship with her sister. But that story got swallowed up by the bazillion other stories Dessen wanted to incorporate, thus ensuring that not a single one of these plots went anywhere.

Haven's interactions with others is what makes up the grand portion of this book, but her interactions with each individual person are actually very few. She only sees Sumner a handful of times. Same with her (annoying) friend Casey. There's a lot of ho-humming and I'm-too-talling and nobody ever does anything.

This book is for when you're in a melancholy mood. When you don't want epic action sequences or loveable characters or funny jokes, and you just want to reflect. It's a pretty good snapshot of adolescence, with its awkwardness and earnestness and confusion. I liked the message about the ideals/expectations we have as children, and how part of growing up is seeing these expectations fall on their faces.

But overall, this book was the epitome of "Cool story, bro". I do not care in the slightest about any of the monotonous anecdotes that Haven has shared with me. Blah, blah, blah. Definitely not Dessen's best, so don't read it unless you're a hardcore Sarah Dessen fan or a person who often enjoys introspective books that are heavy on adolescent moping, light on plot.
Profile Image for Zoë.
328 reviews66.3k followers
July 7, 2014
This book was pretty dull, especially after just finishing Amy & Roger's Epic Detour. I have had this on my shelf for years but never got around to finishing the whole thing (I've read the first 50 pages about 3 times). I was expecting a cute summery contemporary romance but instead this is more of a self-discovery. I found myself bored several times in the first 150 pages and the story only got interesting during the last 50. That Summer was a nice read, just not was I was in the mood for or expected from Sarah Dessen.
Profile Image for Grace, Queen of Crows and Tomes.
199 reviews43 followers
August 13, 2018
This was a cute short read about summer and about change. I liked the emphasis more on sisterhood than about boys and romance. Ashley did get on my nerves in the beginning but she grew on me.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,946 reviews548 followers
May 7, 2018
That Summer was okay. There were a few things I liked, but overall the story seemed pointless. I was somewhat bored throughout the entire story, so I'm glad it was a shorter read. The book was written well, but I didn't care for any of the characters.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
234 reviews4 followers
January 16, 2009
This book was okay. Nothing special really. It was Sarah Dessen's first novel and since she's super popular now, I'm sure she's gotten better. The things I liked about this book was that it wasn't about a teenage girl finding the cutest boy, the bestest friends or the cutest clothes. It was about a pivotal time in a teenage girls life where everything is changing around her and is totally out of her control. Divorces, babies, marriages, growth spurts, moving, these are all things that when you're a teenager, you have nothing to say about and that can be frustrating. Very frustrating. Control is very important and not feeling like you have any can lead adolescents to all kinds of unhealthy behavior like eating disorder, cutting, running away, etc. Fortunately, the star of the story works things out in a pretty healthy way. So then why not give this book 5 stars since it was well written and about something most of us can relate to if can remember what it was like to be a teen? Because it was boring. It didn't really keep my interest. There was no mystery, no excitement for the reader. This would be an excellent book for someone who is 15 and struggling with some issues, but for me, it was a little bit on the dull side.
Profile Image for Aimee.
674 reviews63 followers
June 28, 2011
This was different from the other Dessen books I have read. And not in a bad way. In fact, I was so surprised on how different that I kept waiting for the romance. There wasn't one. This was purely a coming of age novel. And it was a great story.

Haven is dealing with a lot. Like growing to be really tall, dealing with her parents divorce, her dad's upcoming marriage and her sisters marriage and how things are changing so much. She can link it back to one specific summer. It was a neat storyline. I, myself, don't have a period where everything seemed to change for me, but it was interesting to read about it for someone who did.

Haven is a misunderstood character in the book. She has a hard time getting people to just understand her and what she is feeling. There seems to be only one person. Sumner. But things don't seem to be as great as she thought they were.

It was a good story. No romance, no relationship troubles, but instead a story telling about the struggles of just growing up. It is a great book worth reading, just don't read it if you are looking for a romance. You won't find even a hint of it in the pages of this one.
Profile Image for Zøe Haslie.
Author 6 books49 followers
March 24, 2019
· “Some things you don’t have to tell. Some things, between sisters, are understood.” ·

Last year, I was lucky enough to travel to the West Coast (US) and spend an entire month there. During that month, I decided to make a tour through second-hand bookshops and that’s how this beauty came into my life ♥

While I grew up watching “How To Deal” on repeat, I never really knew it was half-based on this book. So, finding that out was a nice surprise.

However, what I liked the most about the book was that it follows Haven’s life at a very crucial time—a moment when she stops being a little girl and starts to become a young adult. This, of course, is a very complicated matter. It can leave anyone feeling like this:

However, Haven will have to learn to put aside her childhood ideas of love, friendship and sisterhood. What’s more, during a summer full of life-changing events, she’ll have to revisit the past only to learn that things aren’t always what they look like.

Getting so tangled up in her own emotions, unable to fully grasp what love really is, Haven starts to rebel against her family and drifting apart from her sister Ashley. For deep down, Haven still can’t understand her sister’s current relationship (full or arguments and hysteria) or why she broke up with Sumner all those years ago.

But in the end, things find a way to become clear. And when Haven learns what really happened that summer—hence, the title—and what led her sister to break up with her first boyfriend, she can begin to look at things from a new perspective. After all . . .

There are two things that I specially loved about this story and I’d like to point out—first of all, the lack of romance when it comes to Haven. I loved it! Growing up is not always about falling in love and Haven’s story just comes to prove that. She’s dealing with so many things right now, that the thought of a love conflict is just too much.

Secondly, I loved the ending. I’m not going to spoil it, of course, but all in all, I found it just perfect. For what follows after an epiphany? Well, life.


“It’s funny how one summer can change everything.”

“The first boy was always the hardest.”

“Sometimes love can be an ugly thing.”

“Sometimes there isn’t a good guy or a bad guy. Sometimes even the ones you want to believe turn out to be liars.”
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