That Summer by Sarah Dessen
Viking Publishing 2006, 240 pgs
I've heard a lot of good things about Sarah Dessen and even though I'm not a huge fan of teen fiction I grabbed it up when my library made it available on audio.
It turned out to be a very realistic slice of life novel about a fifteen year old girl named Haven whose life has been turned upside down. She is adjusting to her parents divorce, her father's wedding to the "other woman" and her sister's impending wedding. She is unable to share any of her feelings with her best friend because she's turned into a boy crazy self-centered stranger.
It seems the only one she can confide in her sister's ex-boyfriend whom always made everyone happy. Haven longs for the days when things were easy; back when she was close to her sister and her parents still loved each other and Sumner is the only one who takes the time to let her vent.
This isn't a romance instead it explores Haven's feelings, all of the pain, the longing and the new reality that she must face and it doesn't flinch away from it. I liked that. Sumner is the catalyst for a change within Haven and ultimately helps her heal simply by listening and then by being imperfect.
I thought this was a very good book. These people felt real to me. They weren't always likable but reacted in ways that didn't ring false. If this book is typical of the author's writing I can see why she pops up on so many favorite lists.