Student Book Review: That Summer by Sarah Dessen

I realize That Summer by Sarah Dessen has been around for a while, but for some reason it isn’t the most popular Sarah Dessen title I have in my class library, so I decided to feature it on my blog today.  And what better way to feature it than with a student review?

My student reviewer today is Trista, who was in my YA Lit class last tri and also has me all year for Honors Sophomore Seminar.  She chose the books to movie project in YA Lit and took my recommendation to read That Summer and Someone Like You to go along with the movie rendition of both books, How to Deal.  She liked both books, so hopefully she’ll read more Dessen titles in the future 🙂

Title: That Summer

Author: Sarah Dessen

Student Reviewer: Trista

Summary (From Goodreads): For fifteen-year-old Haven, life is changing too quickly. She’s nearly six feet tall, her father is getting remarried, and her sister—the always perfect Ashley—is 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 really was, and comes to grips with the future.

That Summer is about an insecure 15 year old girl named Haven who is having a hard time dealing with her dad’s remarriage and her sisters marriage. She has learn how to let go and move on or she will never be happy. She realizes that life goes on and although thing may never be the same that doesn’t mean they will never get better.

Haven is the one character I can really relate to. She’s insecure about her height and the way she looks. She would rather live in the past when things were perfect than in the present and deal with her problems. Haven is very close to her mom and feels the need to protect her and keep her safe even though that’s the parents’ job. She’s there for her friend when she’s needed even though she has her own problems to deal with. Also I can relate to Haven because she doesn’t like to talk about her issues or anything she’s dealing with, she bottles up her feelings and takes them out on the people she loves.

I liked how realistic the book is about the divorce and remarriage of her parents. The thoughts going through Haven’s mind were very believable. She wasn’t dramatic or obnoxious about it. Her feelings were real and understandable. She felt betrayed by her dad for leaving her mom for that girl at his work. She also felt hurt because she wanted to believe that he would never do something like that.

I didn’t like how towards the end of the book she had a break down out of nowhere. Maybe she did have a good reason but it was not clear to me why she freaked out and ran away for the day. I’ve been through hard times too but I’ve never had a break down like she had at the mall. I did however laugh when she chased after the rude woman and threw the shoe back at her.

In the end I enjoyed reading this book. It’s not a book I would have picked on my own, but I’m glad I read it. That Summer is a good read.


  1. Your Beautiful says:

    Great Job on explaining how you liked the book, and what was special about. I would like to hear more from you on other stories (:

  2. The worst book I have ever read nothing happened

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