Monday, April 17, 2017

That Summer by Sarah Dessen

Thank you to Penguin for allowing me to participate in the #ReadADessen countdown tour for Sarah Dessen. I am super excited to have been assigned two amazing books. I am kicking off the tour with This Summer which is Sarah Dessen's debut novel and I will be showcasing What Happened to Goodbye next month. Don't forget to check out the other blogs that are participating during the tour and be sure to check out the giveaway at the bottom of this post.

What is your first Sarah Dessen book that you've read?

Title: That Summer
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Speak
Publication date: June 2012 (first published January 1996)
Pages: 198
Source/format: Paperback from publisher. This is #PRHPartner.

Rating: ☆☆☆1/2

Synopsis (from

The more things change...

As far as Haven is concerned, there's just too much going on.

Everything is changing, and she's not sure where she fits in.

Then her sister's old boyfriend shows up, sparking memories of the summer when they were all happy and everything was perfect...

But along the way, Haven realizes that sometimes change is a good thing.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Sarah Dessen's debut novel is the perfect way to start my spring. Not only is this my first time reading That Summer, but now I can see where Dessen's writing emerged from. Readers can see the growth from That Summer to current Dessen books. What I love is how Dessen's debut novel is centered around weddings and how her upcoming novel, Once and For All, is also wedding centric. It brings her career, as an author, full circle.

Haven's parents are divorced and her father is remarrying. Although it is hard for Haven, her sister and her mother to digest the new marriage, Haven's sister has been planning a wedding herself. Haven's sister, Ashley, starts to go full on panic the closer it gets to the wedding date.

Through Ashley's ex-boyfriend, Sumner, Haven reminisces about her life back in the day where her parents were together and Ashley was still with Sumner. This is pretty accurate about how teens feel when their parents split. Haven wants everything to revert back to the good old days when her family was together. Divorce is something that is hard for teens to take in. Teens blame themselves for the divorce and they think their parents split because of them. However, that is not the case. Sometimes people fall out of love and fall in love with someone else.

Haven's mom breaks the news about possibly downsizing the house and moving into an apartment after Ashley gets married. Again, moving is something some teens can associate with. Moving is hard for anyone but it's harder to relocate especially during high school. It's easier to make friends at a younger age but making friends during high school is quite difficult when everyone has their group of friends that they've grown up with for many years.

Overall, That Summer is a quick read that lightly touches upon current teen issues. However, I felt the novel was a bit short and I would love to see more of the relationship between Haven and Ashley. Getting a glimpse of the sisters past would have made the ending more potent and meaningful.


Sarah Dessen is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen novels for teens, which have received numerous awards and rave reviews. Her books have been published in over thirty countries and have sold millions of copies worldwide. She is the recipient of the 2017 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association for outstanding contribution to young adult literature for her novels: Keeping the Moon, Dreamland, This Lullaby, The Truth about Forever, Just Listen, Along for the Ride, and What Happened to Goodbye. Her newest novel, Once and for All, will be released in June 2017. An NC native, she currently lives in Chapel Hill with her family.


Title: Once and For All
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication date: June 6, 2017
Pages: 400
Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

Synopsis (from

As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen's thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.



Great Imaginations - April 17 
Peace Love Books April 19


Picture Books to YA - April 17
Don’t Fold the Page - April 20
Pink Polka Dot Books April 20


Enter for a chance to win one (1) set of Sarah Dessen’s books in paperback (ARV: $132.00). NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on April 17, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 29, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 1, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Books will be sent by publisher. Nicole's Novel Reads is not responsible for books lost or damaged in the mail. Good Luck!


  1. Yay for your first time reading this older SD book!! I haven't read it in a LONG time, but it doesn't stick out as a favorite of mine. I do love the names that Sarah comes up with though-- Sumner is such a cool boy name :)

    1. I've read a few Sarah Dessen books when I was a teen but it's nice to read her debut novel and to see the evolution of her writing.