Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc. Everyone is welcome to join in at any time!
This week, in the spirit of Sarah Dessen Week, I'm doing That Summer, her very first book.
At First Sight: Haven's summer will be framed by two weddings. First, her father -a local celebrity - will be marrying her the woman he left Haven's mom for. And then, her outgoing older sister Ashley will marry a man with no apparent sense of humor.
But that's just the cherry on top of everything else that's going on in her life. There is the ugly maid of honor dress, the job she hates at a shoe store, and the fact that she keeps growing and growing and is currently almost six feet tall.
Things look slightly up when Sumner Lee returns. Who is Sumner? He's just Haven's favorite among the long list of Ashley's ex boyfriends. And she associates him to the last time things were truly good at home: her parents were still married, her sister was still fun, and sometimes she felt included, and summer was just meant to be fun.
Second Glance: That Summer is the very first book that Sarah Dessen wrote, the first by her that I ever read, the first book I bought off Amazon: and for all of those things it will always be special for me.Now, about the book itself, I don-t love it and I had the hardest time sticking to it -but I had already bought Someone Like You, Keeping the Moon and Dreamland, so I was invested - but, in the end, I'm glad I read it.
Do I re-read it often? Nope.
That Summer is not the kind of book I've come to expect from Sarah Dessen - the pace is a bit off, some characters are more developed than others, and there is no love story - but sometimes she hits these scenes were everything clicks and you can see glimpses of the stylish, classy and awesome writing that make Sarah Dessen one of the holy pillars of modern YA.
Bottom Line: That Summer is not a perfect book, by far. And I've never actually heard anyone say that it's their favorite, but it's worth reading partially because of the precedent that it is, and because it's not that bad.
Sarah Dessen Week is an event hosted by Heidi@YA Bibliophile and Jacinda and Jasmine@The Reading Housewives of Indiana
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