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IR LETTER 6-7-11

Page history last edited by Laura Mullen 9 years, 3 months ago

June 11, 2011

Dear Mrs. Mullen,

     I've just finished reading That Summer by Sarah Dessen.  It is about a girl named Haven who has to deal with her dad remarrying.  On top of that her sister is getting married also.  Haven does not like the guy who her sister, Ashley, is getting married to.  She thinks of him as boring and dull, unlike Ashley's last boyfriend.  Ashley's last boyfriend, Sumner, made Ashley laugh and always have a good time. Before and after she was with Sumner, she was not as fun and did not laugh and have a good time. Haven always remembers her sister as being nice and calm.  When Sumner came, it opened up her "fun" side.  Now that Ashley is not with Sumner, Haven wishes that Sumner is back. One summer, Haven meets Sumner at the mall and becomes good friends with him.  Haven does not understand why Ashley broke up with Sumner and she wishes everything was back to how it had been a couple years ago.

     There are many things that I really like about That Summer.  Even though this book may seem like it is revolving around Ashley and Sumner and why they broke up, it teaches many lessens and has many inspirational themes.   There were many themes, but the one that stood out to me was "whatever life throws at you, take it head on".  In the book, Haven does not exept the changes that are happening within her family.  Her dad and sister are getting married and she wants them to stay a part of her family.  Even though she is sad, she can still look at it as a challenge to she make everyone her family.  If she thinks of it as just an addition to her family, she will get farther in life.  Another theme I really liked in the book was, "if you don't know the whole story, don't try and make up a part of it".  In the book, Haven does not know why Ashley broke up with Sumner.  She thinks that she just dumped him.  She convinced herself that Sumner had done nothing wrong and that it was Ashley's fault.  Haven never knew the whole story so she thought what sounded and seemed right was the truth.  Sumner had cheated on Ashley and that was why Ashley broke up with him.  On page 191, Ashley is telling Haven what happened.  She saids "All this time you didn't know? God Haven.  He broke my heart" These few sentences make Haven realize that she has wanted to believe that Sumner did not break Ashley's heart because he seemed nice and kind to her.  Even when you want something to be true, most of the times it is not.

     I think I can connect to the characters because there has been lots of times where I was lost in life.  I had no idea what was going on, it was not the same situation but I have felt like Haven and Ashley.  I think I can connect with Ashley the best because Ashley knows what has happened to her in the past, when she did not make her own decisions.  She knows what she wants but she also knows what other people want for her.  In the past I have known what I wanted but my mom and dad want another thing for me.  I then have to figure out what I should do.  For an example, last year in the spring I was playing on two soccer teams and it was a lot of soccer.  This year, I had the option to quit one of the teams so that I would only be playing on one soccer team.  I thought that I should quit one of the teams because it was hard and a lot of work to be on two teams.  My parents thought that I might miss the team that I was quitting, so they thought I should play on that team.   I knew what my parents wanted, but I had already experienced what it was like to play on two teams and I did not want to go there again.  Ashley had a similar experience, not with the subject, but how she handled the situation.  She knew what she wanted, even though her sister did not want her to marry Lewis (the guy she was marrying).  Haven did not want Ashley to marry Lewis because she was scared about "loosing" her sister.  Ashley stood strong and said that Lewis was the guy she wanted to marry.  

    Overall I really liked this book.  It was a light read but it made me think about life and all the confusing things that you have to deal with.  


               Ali Lamson 


Dear Ali,


Great letter!  I have never read any of Sarah Dessen's books (gasp!), but I really want to.  Your letter makes me more eager.  I am very impressed that you were able to identify these meaningful themes.  You also made excellent connections to your own experiences.  No matter what age we are, we must make decisions.  It can be really hard, as you know.  You are so intelligent and thoughtful to recognize how "even when you want something to be true, most of the times it is not."  I am so delighted that reading helped you make these connections.  Reading does help us become better people!


I have loved having you in class this year. Please keep reading and challenging yourself as a reader and writer.  Your ideas are strong.  Take your confidence from the soccer field and use it as a writer.  You just need a bit of help with proofreading for spelling, and then you will be golden! 


Have an awesome summer.  I want a full report on your one-ski-waterskiing when I see you in the fall.



Mrs. Mullen




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