Book Review: That Summer by Sarah Dessen

That Summer is about a very tall fifteen-year-old girl named Haven, who is self-conscious about her height. The novel begins as Haven’s dad remarries. Her formerly wild older sister, Ashley, is also getting married to a straight-laced fellow at the end of the summer. The story revolves around the dramas of Haven’s dysfunctional family, and her frequent reflections upon one perfect summer at Virginia Beach, when her family was at it’s most ‘normal,’ and Ashley was dating a boy named Sumner.

Now, the jovial and exciting Sumner unexpectedly reappears in Haven’s life, constantly popping up in unlikely places and bringing the comfort, ease, and security Haven craves. Whether or not Haven has a romantic interest in Sumner, or he in her, is ambiguous. A readable debut by Dessen, but IMO hasn’t stood the test of time.

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