This is a simple story with a heart. As Sarah Dessen's debut novel, That Summer really impressed me. Nothing much happens really, but I was personally touched by this book. It's a simple story about how you see life from the point of you of a teenager. It's the time of your life when you feel that everyone and everything is against you.
As I was reading the book, I was angry at all the side characters, everyone just seemed horrible to Haven, the main character. Throughout the novel, I just wished she would just scream and do something bizarre. I forgot I was reading from the point of view of a teenager. Everyone seemed horrible because that was the way she saw them. At the end of the day, they weren’t that bad. They were just people. However it took me a long time to see that. Because we see everything from Haven’s perspective, the other characters seemed one-dimensional most of the time. We don’t get enough time to see them for how they really are. To me, that was the book’s weakest point.
Haven is a very relatable character. I understood what she was going through. Things just don’t seem the way they are when you look back at them as you get older. Sometimes, when you have nothing in life to look forward to, you look back at the good times of the past so you would have something to hold on to. That’s why Haven kept looking back at that one summer when everything was the way she wanted them to be.
I think this book requires a certain level of patience to read. You have to read all the way through to appreciate the story. Although, I could say the story could’ve been more. I enjoyed it for what it is. The simple execution of the premise shaped a heartfelt story.