Movable Type 3.2
May 20, 2005
Posted by Kat at 09:50 AM
May 15, 2005
Review: That Summer (Sarah Dessen)
I have to admit that the writing was somewhat rough and cliched at times--it was clearly a first novel. And it did follow a lot of the conventions of young adult coming-of-age novels, making it somewhat predictable. But Dessen's unique voice and compelling characters are as real as ever.
The main character, Haven, has the weird name that seems to be a requirement of YA heroines, but instead of the usual mousy ugly duckling about to become swan looks, she's six feet tall. The book revolves around two weddings: Haven's sports reporter father to the weathergirl he ran off with, and her older sister to a young man Haven finds deplorably dull. Haven's mom is changing too, putting her life together after her divorce, and Haven feels like there's no place for her in her rapidly evolving family. Add her awful summer job, drama-ridden best friend (who, unfortunately, never becomes a three-dimensional character), and the whirlwhind of activity surrounding her sister's wedding, and Haven's got more than enough on her plate.
Enter Sumner. One in a long line of Haven's sister's ex-boyfriends, Sumner is the one that Haven remembers as being special. Haven's best memory is an idealized version of the summer vacation that Sumner took with her family several years before. Now, in this difficult summer, he reappears as though to save her and put her family back together again.
Impressively, though, Dessen doesn't have Haven get romantically involved with Sumner. (There aren't enough YA novels in which the heroine doesn't get a boyfriend as a matter of course along with her personal transformation.) Indeed, Haven learns that Sumner, and everyone else around her, are more complicated than they seem to be. And, really, so is this book--it goes past the light beach reading implied by the title to create a memorable main character and worthwhile, if not wholly unexpected, commentary on family, beauty, love, and more.
Posted by Kat at 10:43 PM
Posted by Kat at 03:02 PM
May 04, 2005
I thought we were friends. I've been carrying you around with me all the time and introducing you to everyone. I took you to two movies. (Okay, Trainspotting was kinda weird, but don't take it personally.) I even was very careful to thoroughly wipe my hands after each bit of popcorn to make sure you didn't get dirty. You made friends on the T. I took you to class, where you impressed everyone with your style and charm. Basically, I feel like you've had a pretty good life so far.
So. Tell me. What is UP with the pooling thing? You were fine through the cuff and heel, but as soon as we hit the picking-up-stitches bit (I know, I hate that part too), you freaked out. What's going on? Anything you'd like to talk about? You know, I have it on pretty good authority that the back of the linen closet is a perfectly reasonable home for projects who do what you're doing. That doesn't sound like much fun, does it?
Now, since we've had such a good relationship so far, I'll give you a chance. But. I have some conditions:
1. I don't know how you got yourself into this pooling mess or how you're planning to get out of it, but whatever you come up with must look at least reasonably unstupid.
That's not too hard, right? Just do that, and we'll be back to our healthy loving relationship.
Thank you for your attention.