Yikes! Pretty Awful

That Summer - Sarah Dessen

I am astounded at how much I didn't like this Dessen book. I think the other one that brought out similar feelings in me was "This Lullaby". 

 

"This Summer" is about 15 year old Haven dealing with the upheaval in her life over the course of a summer. It's also about her looking back with rose colored glasses on the last summer she sees her family as being happy. 

 

Without much ado, in the first few pages we find out that Haven is going to her father's wedding to a woman he had an affair with. Her mother is now obsessed with gardening and hanging out with her new friend on the block. And her older sister Ashley is preparing to wed in about two months after her father's wedding. Haven longs for a time when her father was all together. And weirdly starts obsessing about her sister's ex boyfriend named Sumner (not a misspelling) who she believes was the key to her family all being happy. 

 

I am sorry, you can't see my face right now but I am cracking up. I think that if Haven had been younger, maybe I could have been more sympathetic. But the fact of the matter is, she's 15 going on 16 (now that song is going to be in my head all day) and acts like she's 12 for most of this story. She sneaks around privately listening to conversations between her mother and sister. Judges her sister for getting married to someone she finds boring and not as exciting as Sumner was. And she doesn't confront her father for being a lousy parent and an even worse husband to her mother. She just flails around for most of the book before acting like a total ass to her mother and sister and then gets woken up to the fact that people are not what they appear to be. 

 

Yep, that's the lesson. 

 

The other characters in this one stay pretty flat from beginning to end though and don't stay consistent the whole through either. For example, we are told that Ashley doesn't like to think negatively of their father, defends him, etc. but we see that out of the two of them Ashley is upset about what happened with her family and that she does blame their father for her parents marriage ending. Same thing when Ashley and Haven finally have a big talk (not really) at the end and then we are supposed to think of "Sisters". Honestly this book had me wishing to re-watch the tv show "Sisters" cause that to me was a more realistic look at sisters who love and also want to strangle each other sometimes. 

 

I felt bad for the short look at Haven's supposed best friend. Haven calls her friend a "slut" but everything in name and made me cringe for how disdainful she was being towards her.


Sumner was an empty shell and didn't even make sense as a character. I don't think he shows up in any other Dessen works, but don't quote me on that.


There's also a neighborhood girl now a woman gone good (she became a model) who is now home and is wandering around not really there. I don't even know why she was included as character. 

 

The writing was so-so and repetitive in most cases. The flow was not that great. I thought there was a lot of show and not tell happening and the book moved so slowly that I was happy to get to the end.

 

Bank:
April 15: $20
April 17: $23. I read "The Wangs Vs the World", electronic pages 368.
April 24: $28. I read "Dream Wedding", electronic pages 512.
April 25: $28. Landed on BL and had to post a vacation photo or tell a story about a vacation.
April 29: $31. Read "Whitethorn Woods", 354 pages Kindle edition, $3.00
April 29: $34. Read "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", 256 pages;$3.00.
May 4: $37. Read "The Ghost Brigades" Paperback, 346 pages; $3.00
May 8: $42. Read "American Gods" Hardcover, 465 pages; $5.00.
May 8: $45. Read "Moon Called" 298 pages Kindle edition; $3.00.
May 13: $50. Read "Solitude Creek" 434 pages electronic; $5.00.
May 14: $53. Read "No Country for Old Men" 320 pages Kindle edition; $3.00
May 19: $56. Read "The Witches: Salem, 1692" 384 ebook; $3.00
May 30: $59. Read "The Good Earth" 372 pages ebook: $3.00
June 4: $62. Read "The Wind in the Willows" paperback edition, 256 pages: $3.00
June 27: $67. Read "The Lincoln Lawyer" kindle edition, 528 pages: $5.00.

 

THE BIG SHAKE UP

 

June 28: $75. Read "That Summer" kindle edition, 174 pages: $8.00.