Author: Sarah Dessen
Publication Date: January 1, 1996
Synopsis:The more things change... As far as Haven is concerned, there's just too much going on. Everything is changing, and she's not sure where she fits in. Then her sister's old boyfriend shows up, sparking memories of the summer when they were all happy and everything was perfect... But along the way, Haven realizes that sometimes change is a good thing.
I read my first Sarah Dessen book in 2013 and man did I ever get sucked in. Finally, I found out what everyone else was talking about when it came to this author. This book was my 7th book that I read by her, all the previous ones were 4-5 stars, how could I go wrong? Well I went wrong. So, so wrong. This book is NOT like the rest of her books. It was a horrible struggle to get through, and at a mere 198 pages, took me 4 days to get through, when I was expecting a quick one day read.
Now, That Summer was written in 1996, so it's quite possible that it's not aged well. Young adult was not even a thing back then, it was just Children's books and Adult books. So we've come a long way. Now, it wasn't my only issue with the book. Sarah Dessen's writing style has changed a lot since her early days, unfortunately, it was easy to tell that this was her first book. I really do like her writing, but I'm more used to her new stuff I guess. This book just never sucked me in like her newer ones. It was slow and I slogged through it.
I think one of my problems was that I just couldn't sympathize with the main character, Haven. Her problems didn't seem like they were that bad. Sure, she was going through a crazy growth spurt and was getting really tall and felt awkward. Everyone goes through puberty and we all get through it. Sure, we don't all have our parents going through a divorce and getting remarried and an older sister getting married at the same time. But to me it just felt like Haven was getting upset because she wasn't getting all the attention. Her mom was concentrating on her sister's wedding and trying to distract herself from her ex-husband getting remarried (to someone only a few years older than their oldest daughter) by going out and trying to meet people. Yes, her father was getting remarried, it was over a year after her parents divorce. So the attention was on other people this summer, not her. I don't remember getting all that much attention. I was my mom's easy kid and it didn't bother me that I was left on my own to do my own thing.
I kind of have to agree that she chose the wrong time to have her flip out, the day before her sister's wedding? Yeah. I didn't get the whole thing that was going on with Sumner either. I guess she just wanted things to go back to the way they were when he was with her sister? But that obviously wasn't going to happen. I thought it was a little weird that she kept running into him and having all these heart to hearts, but I guess no one else was talking to her because they were all busy, so it kind of makes sense in a way.
Overall, this book just didn't do it for me. It wasn't faced paced like I'm used to with Dessen. I'm very glad that this isn't the first of her books that I've read. It doesn't change that I love her other books, so I will continue to read her stuff. It's too bad that this one fell flat for me, but it did. I think if you're planning on trying out some of Sarah Dessen's work, or have tried some of her newer stuff already, pass on this one. I mean, it's not the worst thing I've read, and it was okay, but it was hard to get through.