Sunday, July 7, 2013

Read - That Summer

That Summer
by Sarah Dessen
1996
198 pages

For fifteen-year-old Haven, there's just too much going on.  First, there's her father's wedding to Lorna Queen, the local television "Weather Pet."  Then her sister Ashley's wedding to boring Lewis Warsher, who doesn't seem to suit Ashley at all.  And Haven can't ignore the fact that she's nearly six feet tall and still growing.  Haven can barely figure out who she is anymore or where she fits in.  Then Ashley's old boyfriend, Sunmer Lee, shows up and sparks Haven's memories of the summer when her parents were happy, her sister was plucky and carefree, and everything was perfect . . . or so it seemed.

One thing I have learned this year as I've become more aware of the book community online is that people looooove Sarah Dessen books.  She has twelve books out now.  They all seem to be sort of light and quick, usually about teenage summer romance or something contemporary.  They are stand-alone novels, and don't seem to be huge beasts of books.  Perfect!  I decided I would start with her first book and work my way all the way through to the most recent, which was just released a month or so ago.

Well, hmm.  I'm really struggling with how to rate this book.   I want to give it three stars because it's not really *bad* . . . I have read much worse things . . . but I want to give it two stars because there just didn't seem to be a point to this story.  Haven is fifteen and doesn't she feel like she fits in anywhere this particular summer.  Things are happening all around her, like her father getting remarried, and her sister about to get married, and her best friend having her first boyfriend and breaking up, and the neighborhood celebrity having a breakdown, and someone having a baby, and wonderful Sumner Lee coming back to town.  There are just all these events that Haven is on the fringe of, and you keep waiting for 'the main event,' whether it be Haven falling in love herself or whatever.  Anything.  Something!  But it's always just Haven observing these things going on around her.

There seemed to be inconsistencies in all characters, like they were never fully defined or developed.  Things that were happening seemed big at the moment but then just fizzled out, never to be mentioned again as the next thing came up.  The whole thing just seemed very . . . incomplete.  This is Sarah Dessen's first book and it kinda shows.  I'm wondering if her books get better as she becomes a more seasoned writer?  I'm totally undecided at the moment whether I want to read anything else by her if they're all going to be like this first one.

So while this story wasn't *bad* it was lacking.

2 comments:

  1. years ago I stumbled upon her blog and really enjoyed it. I picked up one of her books and just couldn't get into it. I remember thinking if she ever wrote adult fiction I would read it without hesitation. As an author she seems very down to earth and approachable not to mention like you said, very popular.

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    1. I think I will try to work my way through more of her books but I think I'll go to the library for them instead of paying more money.

      ~Deb

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