Every Sarah Dessen Novel, Ranked

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13. That Summer (1996)

Julia MacRae Books


15-year-old Haven is coping with her father’s remarriage (after cheating on his wife/Haven’s mom with his younger co-worker… ugh) and her sister’s engagement. Basically, she’s angsty and insecure because, well, she’s 15! She’s constantly daydreaming about better days when her family was together and happy, and then one of her sister’s boyfriends from the past reenters her life.


This is Sarah Dessen’s first book, so we can thank it for starting everything. However, it’s simply not my fave. There’s no love interest, which for me is always a letdown, and to be honest I was a little bored with it. I get the point of the book, and why some people might like it, but it’s nowhere close to her best work. How to Deal starring Mandy Moore was partially based on this YA novel.

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