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That Summer

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  46,523 Ratings  ·  2,382 Reviews
For fifteen-year-old Haven, life is changing too quickly. She's nearly six feet tall, her father is getting remarried, and her sister&150the always perfect Ashley&150is 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 r ...more
ebook, 208 pages
Published May 1st 2004 by Speak (first published January 1st 1996)
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Aj the Ravenous Reader

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 s
May 06, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sorry-not-sorry
I decided to not finish this book because of too many reasons I could not avoid.

First- The storyline was boring.
Second- The characters were boring.
Third- The writing wasn't all that great. Very repetitive.
Fourth- I found no story progression and only 80 pages in I was just skimming through the pages 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 no r
Cait • A Page with a View
I love Sarah Dessen books because they just feel like summer and capture a moment so well. There wasn't really anything in particular that I disliked about this book (other than the "retarded children" phrasing), but the story itself was so brief that it felt like it just skimmed the surface of what it could've been.

Haven is the steady, responsible younger daughter who focuses more on what everyone else wants than on herself. The story's mostly about her looking to the past at a moment when eve
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.
Morgan F
Nov 14, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Really devout Dessen fans
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.
Jun 28, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 mo
Christine Marie
Jan 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who can relate to Haven's problems and life
Recommended to Christine by: Barnes and Noble
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 lov ...more
Kristin Hackett (SuperSpaceChick)
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.
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 bo
Neil (or bleed)
First time I've read Sarah Dessen novel and definitely will never be the last.
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
“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.
Emily (Obsessed Reader)
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!
Mar 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 we ...more
Sam :)
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.
Aug 17, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 w
Lauren Johnson
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.
Katie Mitchell
Nov 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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. Sam
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read more bookish goodness on my book blog: Cal's YA Reads

4.5/5 stars.

This was my first ever audiobook; and I finished listening to it within 1 day. I speed it up to 1.5x, because I find Americans are quite slow at talking.

A few thoughts on the format itself;

wonderful speaker, however I'm really confused why everybody but Haven had a bloody southern accent??? She had a more western, Valley accent, which left me in hysterics when I heard every southerner accent. Also, when the speaker read the
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'r ...more
Taylor Knight
I've only read two of Sarah Dessen's other books so I can't really rank That Summer but it wasn't my favorite of the her books I've read.
I did really like That Summer though. It was a little slow at first but it's such a quick, fun read.
I liked the main character, Haven, and I felt really bad for her. She had a lot of difficult things going on in her life that she had to overcome. I couldn't really find Haven relatable at this point in my life because she's like 6 years younger than I am but i
Julie Zantopoulos
This is my first Dessen book and a really quick audio book read but ugh! Not only is Haven so naive at 15 it's painful but her sister is so obnoxious it's intolerable. There was no plot, no conflict, just an awkward girl who finally realized sometimes life isn't what you want it to be. I couldn't get on board with a girl that old still not getting it. Also, the use of the word "retard" is unforgivable to me and Sarah drops that bomb in this one. I'm not giving up on her as an author but I did no ...more
Bark's Book Nonsense
Nov 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I've heard a lot of good things about Sarah Dessen and even though I'm not a huge fan of teen fiction I grabbed it up when my library made it available on audio.

It turned out to be a very realistic slice of life novel about a fifteen year old girl named Haven whose life has been turned upside down. She is adjusting to her parents divorce, her father's wedding to the "other woman" and her sister's impending wedding. She is unable to share any of her feelings with her best friend because she's tur
Jun 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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.
Wendy Darling
A short, thoughtful book that perhaps could have been even better if it had been expanded a bit more.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very realistic book with a sweet family message. The only thing missing was the signature Sarah Dessen romance.
Sarah Dessen's first novel. Haven is such a great character. She's 15, and she has a crappy job at a children's shoe store, and her father and older sister are both marrying people she's not sure are right for them. Her best friend Casey returns from 4H camp with a long-distance boyfriend and a smoking habit. Haven's mother is thinking of selling her childhood home. With all the changes happening in the people Haven once relied on, she fixates on a particular time: a trip to Virginia Beach her f ...more
Oct 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 o ...more
Jenny  (Mama Bear Reads)
That Summer was enjoyable but didn't leave me very impressed.
I found a few mistakes and typos along the way. The characters weren't as relatable and likeable as I remember Dessen's others to have been.
The story itself was a little flat, but as always there were a good amount of quotes that I found to be very honest and hit home.
I could tell this was her first work, but I'm excited to continue on in reading all of Sarah Dessen's books.
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“Maybe not," she said as we came to the car. "But maybe that isn't so bad. You can't love anyone that way more than once in a lifetime. It's too hard and it hurts too much when it ends. The first boy is always the hardest to get over, Haven. It's just the way the world works.” 481 likes
“It’s funny how one summer can change everything. It must be something about the heat and the smell of chlorine, fresh-cut grass and honeysuckle, asphalt sizzling after late-day thunderstorms, the steam rising while everything drips around it. Something about long, lazy days and whirring air conditioners and bright plastic flip-flops from the drugstore thwacking down the street. Something about fall being so close, another year, another Christmas, another beginning. So much in one summer, stirring up like the storms that crest at the end of each day, blowing out all the heat and dirt to leave everything gasping and cool. Everyone can reach back to one summer and lay a finger to it, finding the exact point when everything changed. That summer was mine.” 179 likes
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