Review of That Summer by Sarah Dessen + Trivia Quiz

This week kicks off #ReadaDessen,  a six-week celebration of all things Sarah Dessen and a countdown to the publication of Dessen's new book, Once and For All.

I'm officially reviewing two Dessen books as part of the promotion, but I'm also re-reading and re-visiting ALL the books on my own, so watch for those posts as well, which will include my own Dessen Trivia!

That Summer by Sarah Dessen

Originally published by Viking on January 1, 1996

Plot Summary for That Summer by Sarah Dessen

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.

Source: I received a copy of That Summer as part of the #ReadaDessen campaign. But was a Dessen fan long before that!

Review of That Summer by Sarah Dessen

Here are some things I'd forgotten about early Dessen:

1. It's the 90s -- no technology. No cell phones, no Facebook, no Insta. For me, this gives theses early books a timeless feel!

2. These earliest few books feature younger characters and just a hint of romance. Haven is only fifteen and her life is in turmoil -- her father's getting remarried, her older sister Ashley is in the midst of planning a wedding on her own, and her mom is embracing single life with a new BFF.  So Haven feels a little lost and left out.

Enter Sumner, an ex-boyfriend of Ashley's who is holding down multiple jobs, including one at the mall where Haven works. Haven always liked Sumner and can't really figure out what went wrong between him and her sister. As Haven looks at all this coupling and uncoupling, she tries to figure out what love means.

THAT SUMMER Quiz:  how much do you remember?

1. Haven's sister Ashley is NOT worried about which ONE of the following things ruining her wedding to Lewis:
A. Haven growing out of her dress.
B. Whether their cousin Carol will be in the wedding
C. That Lewis' parents don't like her
D. That Sumner will crash the wedding

2. Haven's dad has a new fiancee, Lorna. What is Lorna's job?
A.  Kindergarten teacher
B.  TV Weather forecaster
C.  Marine biologist
D. Clinique salesperson

3. Haven's job at the Lakeview mall is at:
A. Little Feet
B. Yogurt Paradise
C. The Candy Shack
D. Dillard's

4. Haven runs away from her job after she:
A. Gets caught kissing a boy in the storeroom
B.  Shows up late every day for a week
C. Throws something at a customer's head
D. Gets caught giving free merchandise to her friend Casey.

5. Sumner does NOT do which one of these jobs:
A. Mall security guard
B. Dog walker
C. Encylopedia salesman
D. Dance partner at the senior center

How did you do? Answers are here on my #readaDessen page


  1. My introduction to Sarah Dessen was when my friend told me to read Just Listen, and then handed me the book. I really enjoyed reading it, and would definitely love to read more.

    Thanks so much for the giveaway.

  2. There are 3 Dessen books that I have not read yet, this is one of them. Last Summer, I binge read 9 of her books, and none of them received below 3 stars from me. The Moon and More & Saint Anything are my favorites, so far, but I really love all the ones I've read. She is such a wonderful writer!

    1. I liked this one - the MC is a little younger and there's less romance but loved the family dynamics!

  3. I've actually never read a Sarah Dessen book yet! I know, I must live under a rock! lol! I have quite a few of her books on my TBR but haven't gotten to pick them up yet.

  4. I've been reading Sarah Dessen since I was in middle school (I believe). :)

  5. I've been reading Dessen for many years now. My favorite is Just Listen.

  6. I have read them all, and I cannot wait for her new book and seeing her at BookCon!
    Sam @ WLABB

  7. I am new to Dessen, Saint Anything was my intro!

  8. I've been reading Sarah Dessen since forever! No joke have probably read The Truth About Forever at least twenty times.

  9. My daughter got me into them when she was in jr. high. She picked up the audio books from the library and we listened to them on the way to Myrtle Beach. It was our first year without my oldest riding with us and it started a new tradition.

  10. Love the little quiz you have at the end of your post. I just read That Summer as part of the campaign and I found the quiz quite fun.

    1. Aw, thanks. I stopped doing them but maybe I'll do one more!

  11. I read Along for the Ride many moons ago but I don't remember much about it now. I would love to read more of her works, though. I think Sarah Dessen is one of those authors whose YA contemporary can rarely be considered as "stereotypical". Of course, I could be wrong.

    1. Her books have great family relationships, which I like!

  12. Dessen is new to me, but I'm anxious to start her books <3

  13. I ADORE Sarah Dessen!! I just read This Lullaby for the first time. I don't know why I never read it sooner! <3

  14. her books sound so sweet, I am going to have to give her a try soon

  15. I love Sarah Dessen. She was my go to when I was in Jr high/high school.

  16. I'm new to Dessen. This would be a great way to start!


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