Wednesday 30 May 2012

Book Review - That Summer

Title: That Summer
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: 2 July 2009
ISBN-13: 978-0141325828

For fifteen-year-old Haven this is the summer where everything changes.

Dad is remarrying. Her sister Ashley is planning a wedding of her own. They're both moving on, but Haven is lost in memories of a time when life was happy and her family was whole.

And then Ashley's ex, the charming and funny Sumner Lee, arrives in town. He reminds Haven of carefree days gone by, and she can't help but wonder - has fate brought this person from her past back to change her future?

My Review
I am working through Sarah Dessen's book and this one happened to be my next choice (mainly as it was short and I wanted a quick read, and at only 212 pages, this was perfect!)
 Haven's life has been turned upside down, her parents got divorced, her dad is now getting married again, her sister is also getting married, and her best friend went away to Summer camp as a shy, sensible girl and came back boy obsessed. Haven can't help but think back to what she remembers as the perfect summer, her family all together and one of her sisters ex-boyfriends (Sumner) who seemed to bring everyone a new lease of life.
Now Sumner has re-appeared and it's bringing back a whole load of other memories and feelings. 

I'm not really sure what I made of this book, I started it at lunchtime today, read a little bit more after work and then finished it when I got home from trampolining, so in total about 2 hours reading total. Haven does come across as very human - she's not perfect, she has moments of laughter, anger, hurt, sadness, sarcasm and indecision. She overall seems quite a strong character and seems to be a bit like the brace that holds the other characters together, but she does start to crack and I could almost feel the pressure building on her until it burst.
Her mum seemed to be a bit weedy - hiding her feelings and just finding things to obsess over so she doesn't have to talk, but then tells her daughters off for trying to do the same thing - hypocrite. 
Ashley (her sister) is quite self obsessed and totally consumed by her wedding, but you do get moments where the sisters connect and it gives you a better insight into their relationship.
Sumner is a bit of a mystery, you don't find out until right near the end why he and Ashley broke up. Until that moment I think you are supposed to believe that he is a really sweet, sensitive guy who was the one that was hurt by the break up, but I got a sense throughout that he wasn't all he seemed. Maybe I'm just cynical!
Being so short, the story does move at a good pace and there is enough happening to keep you interested, but for me this didn't feel as good as other books by Dessen. Maybe it's unfair to judge it in comparison to her other books, but I really love her stuff and this just felt a little off mark. It was still a good little read and if you haven't read a Dessen before then you would probably really enjoy it.
So not what I was expecting, but still enjoyable.

My Rating

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