That Summer


Haven is too tall. At fifteen, she is nearly six feet. That's not the only awkward thing. She's dealing with her parents' divorce. Her father's recent marriage has left her mom despondent and added more drama to her sister's upcoming wedding. Enter Sumner Lee, her sister's charismatic ex-boyfriend who is less love interest and more of a reminder of a time when life was simpler. Is it ever possible to go back? And do we really want to?

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Teens looking for a book that says "this is my life" will dive headfirst into this book. Don't let a female narrator keep you from recommending this to boys. They'll love it!

Content Awareness Factors:

Readers looking to be transported away or a "tied up" ending may not enjoy this story. There is some mild language and a few sexual references, but nothing graphic or detailed.

Young Reader Reaction

That Summer thankfully skews the unrealistic teenager stereotypes we see in most young adult media. Through Haven, we learn vital lessons about the perils of growing up and moving on from the past. Dessen has created a truly relatable character. Haven never seems like an adult's version of a teenager. She is young, immature, and frankly clueless about the ways of the world. Toward the end, parts can get confusing. Don't expect closure or any dramatic finale. There are no big discoveries or insights into the universe. It is raw and speaks truthfully to the highs and lows of life. Haven is simply existing and growing. The book ends positively, leaving the reader with the knowledge that wherever she is destined to be, Haven will eventually get there.

Type of Book:
This coming-of-age story is realistic, giving teens laughs, insight, and life lessons, too. This is a high interest / low readability book.
Educational Themes:

From physical changes to emotional growth, there is plenty that teens can relate to in Haven's story. They also create opportunities to talk about a variety of things in your teen's life - or their friends (e.g., divorce and remarriage)

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
11 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
12 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow, at least.

Title That Summer
Author Sarah Dessen
Publisher Speak, Imprint Penguin Books for Young Readers © 2004
ISBN 9780142401729
Material Hard Cover
Genres Family, Coming of Age
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