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. This book should not be the first one you read by Dessen. Why? Because it’s 50/50 chance. Either you’ll relate with this book or you won’t, but if you’re a hard-core Dessen fan, the weight behind relating to this story is lifted a little. I liked this story because I can relate to it. This story that Dessen meant a lot to me, and because of that I almost couldn’t finish it. Overall, I can see why people see through it as a lower-rated book on average, but because of the feeling that comes through in Dessen’s writing, I was able to see past that. I do admit the story and the writing goes around in circles for a while, but it didn’t bother me as much as it would have. 3 stars.
Just a note:
I recently got my contemporary-romance loving friend a copy of THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS by Sarah Ockler and The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen for her birthday. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of CR, but I knew that Sarah Ockler was pretty reliable and Sarah Dessen appeals to about 75% of the CR fans that read her, so I was pretty proud of my gift.
She just started reading THE MOON AND MORE a few days ago, and the same day she starts reading it I got an email from her asking me to buy her the rest of Dessen’s books for Christmas.
Let me use this as an example and just state that I can definitely see where the appeal lies with Sarah Dessen. She’s able to craft real-world situations and problems and place them into strong-willed, great girls that end up getting “swoon-worthy” guys (most of the time, anyway). That is a talent, and no one is able to pull it off the way Dessen can. I just happen to be one of the people who doesn’t enjoy her work as much. That’s not to say that I don’t like it at all, I’m just not a huge fan of hers.
Overall, I think my Dessen read really helped me to appreciate her work more. I see it in a different way now and I think there’s a lot to be said for her talent in what she writes. As I’m wrapping up my Dessen re-read (you can see all of them if you look up those Dessen books though in the search box above) I wanted to say that if you haven’t read Dessen yet and you have any interest at all in Dessen’s work, try her. She could potentially change the way you look at all contemporary romance. There have been a few authors like that in my life in a lot of genres, and they are amazing. Sarah Dessen is the same way for many people. Who knows? The next person could be you!
pg count for the hardback: 240
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