That Summer

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A keenly observant narrative full of witty ironies. Her combination of unforgettable characters and unexpected events generates hilarity as well as warmth.

—Publishers Weekly, Starred review

This first novel is written with such easy grace that you want to quote sentence after sentence.


In Sarah’s Words

That Summer was the first novel I sold and for that reason it will always be special. It was actually the third one I wrote, after a terrible book I did in college and one that was marginally better the year after. I never intended That Summer to be a YA book while I was writing it: to me, it was just a novel with a teenage narrator. But when I got an agent, she suggested it would be a good book for teenagers. When I look back over That Summer now, I always think that I was writing a bit more freely then, because it was before I knew to worry about reviews or publishers or what everyone else thought. Sumner Lee, Ashley’s long-lost boyfriend, has remained one of my very favorite characters of all time. Plus when I was planning my own wedding, I found that I could relate, in a way I never had before, to Ashley’s Bad Bride Behavior (although I didn’t always want to admit it). That Summer to me, though, is mostly about Haven finding a way to feel comfortable in her skin. It’s a theme that comes up in a lot of the other books as well, especially Keeping the Moon: this idea that confidence can carry you further than you ever could have believed. Also notable about That Summer is that it contains my husband’s all time favorite scene, where Sumner is filming the cheese commercial. It doesn’t matter what else I write, to my husband that’s the best. Hands down.