Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Okay, this is the last one! After finishing this one Steve & I watched movies. I took home Sarah Dessen's That Summer because it's the only book by her that I hadn't read and I'm anxiously awaiting her new novel, Just Listen, which is out early in April. I read her blog regulalry, and she updates it all the time, so I feel like I know a lot about her. I love her books, as do our students. If you are looking for good stories that are tender, romantic and real, Sarah Dessen is a great place to start. I recommend these books all the time, and I've never heard of a teen girl not liking them. BIG NOTE TO PARENTS BUYING BOOKS FOR KIDS OR TEENS LOOKING FOR GOOD READS: SARAH DESSEN IS YOUR GIRL!
That Summer is the story of Haven, who's having a rough summer, in fact. Her father left her mother and is now marrying the Other Woman. Haven's sister Ashley is also getting married, to the rather boring but dependable Lewis - the last guy in the world Haven can imagine her rebellious, outspoken, formerly boy-crazy sister marrying. As Haven's summer gets tougher, she remembers the last good summer they had as a family, before her father left - the summer her sister was dating Sumner. Sumner now abruptly re-appears in Haven's life, and he seems to be the only one who understands what she's going through, until Haven discovers that summer, the perfect summer she remembers, wasn't actually so perfect, and maybe accepting the present is better than dreaming about the past.
This was Dessen's first book and, while it isn't her best (my opinion!), it's still wonderful. My favorite by Dessen is, I think, This Lullaby (Hate Spinnerbait!) (read it and you'll get the reference :)). I also think Dreamland is fantastic, but it's much darker than Dessen's other books. It's about an abusive teen relationship and should be required reading for all teen girls. I've read that Someone Like You is the one Dessen receives the most emails about; since it's about a girl whose best friend becomes pregnant, that doesn't surprise me (teen girls are fascinated by books about pregnancy - no sex need be included. Dessen's books have little sexual content, except for Dreamland & maybe a little in This Lullaby). Oh, and I can't forget her most recent one, The Truth About Forever...what can I say, they're all good! Another good sell for Dessen's books is the movie How to Deal starring Mandy Moore, which is a combination of two of Dessen's novels, Someone Like You and the one I just read, That Summer! I haven't seen the movie yet, but it's sitting at home waiting for me, as soon as I have time...

Dessen, Sarah. This Summer. New York: Speak, 1998. ISBN 0142401722 $7.99.

What I'm Reading: Bone: Out from Boneville
On My Bookshelf: A whole bunch of stuff for class - haven't read most of the titles for next week


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