Review–How to Deal (Someone Like You and That Summer) by Sarah Dessen


How to Deal (Someone Like You and That Summer)

by Sarah Dessen

Summary: Rule #1: There are no rules Just when you think you've got everything figured out for yourself, things get turned upside down. Families change. Lives end. New lives begin. And love sneaks up on you when you least expect it. The trick is finding that one person you can always count on, that one person who will throw out the rules and help you figure out how to deal with it all.
Here, from acclaimed author Sarah Dessen, are two books about girls who stick together and manage to get it right -- the two books that served as inspiration for the film How to Deal, starring Mandy Moore. Read them, and you'll see where Halley and Scarlett's story began.

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Source: I’ve had the paperback on my shelf for ages.


After reading my first Sarah Dessen book recently, I realized I’ve had this sitting on my shelf for a few years. I remember watching the movie when I was younger and liking it. I don’t know what took me so long to finally pick this up or read a Sarah Dessen book!

How to Deal was a great combination of two Sarah Dessen novels: Someone Like You and That Summer. Someone Like You was the longest and first of the two books and involved characters I was familiar with from the movie, Halley and Scarlett. That Summer had some events that I remember from the movie, but involved a character named Haven. Both were similar in themes and I see why they were chosen to be combined to inspire the movie.

It was kind of cool reading the book because it was written in the late 90s. There was this one part about how Halley’s boyfriend kept calling the house phone after 10:30pm and she couldn’t get him to stop, so she held the phone by her head at night and tried to pick up on the first ring. I don’t know that teens nowadays understand that because most of them have their own cell phones they can control the ringer volume on and it doesn’t bother their parents at all when someone calls. I remember the terror of getting some boy’s number and hoping you didn’t get his mom on the phone when you called him after school when I was teen! I loved that I could relate to parts of the book in this way. I don’t think the book is too outdated for modern teens, but it contains just enough 90s and 2000s things that make it great to read if you’re an adult, too.

My favorite thing about the book was how the characters grow, make mistakes, and change. These aren’t YA contemporary books that are about summer romances that last forever. Instead, they focus on coming of age, dealing with issues, and how a summer romance might change you forever, but might not last. I liked the complication of it all and the fact that it wasn’t a light boys-fix-everything kind of book. I loved the main characters and appreciated the way they grew throughout the stories. I didn’t care much for Macon in Someone Like You, but I thought he was necessarily in order for Halley to grow, change, and understand herself a little better.

 I definitely recommend How to Deal and I’m sure I’ll read more Sarah Desen books in the future.


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