Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Title: It's Not Summer Without You
Author: Jenny Han
Published: April 27, 2010 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Pages: 288/Hardcover
Series: Summer #2
Source: My personal library

Summary: Can summer be truly summer without Cousins Beach?It used to be that Belly counted the days until summer, until she was back at Cousins Beach with Conrad and Jeremiah. But not this year. Not after Susannah got sick again and Conrad stopped caring. Everything that was right and good has fallen apart, leaving Belly wishing summer would never come.But when Jeremiah calls saying Conrad has disappeared, Belly knows what she must do to make things right again. And it can only happen back at the beach house, the three of them together, the way things used to be. If this summer really and truly is the last summer, it should end the way it started--at Cousins Beach.

***This review contains spoilers for The Summer I Turned Pretty***

Review: The books in the Summer series may have their flaws, but they're still so much fun to read, and that also applies to It's Not Summer Without You.

The characters were still a big problem for me in this book. I didn't understand what was going on with Belly and Conrad. A lot of the book is going back and telling what's happened between Conrad and Belly since the end of The Summer I Turned Pretty. I was happy to see that they had actual interactions between books and that that's where they formed their "relationship" but then Conrad went on to confuse me. Throughout the book (in the present and flashbacks) I could tell that he cared about Belly. Little things like the necklace and remembering the cocoa at the end made me see that he really does care for her and possibly love her. But he still acted like a jerk half the time. I wouldn't have minded as much if I knew why he was acting like a jerk. I've read some early reviews of the final in the series, We'll Always Have Summer, and found out that Conrad's behavior is explained in it, so hopefully we'll soon see why he treats Belly the way he does.

Belly was up and down for me. I loved to see that she grew and matured after Susannah's death. She came to realize that maybe she should give other people the benefit of the doubt and it just might not be all about her. However, she still got under my skin quite a bit. At times she seemed to revert back to "old Belly" and became very annoying.

I couldn't really see any relationship between Jeremiah and Belly working out, simply because they seem better at being friends than a couple. As much as Conrad confuses me with his attitude towards Belly I really do think he would be better for her than Jeremiah. 

I loved that It's Not Summer Without You had two different first person perspectives. Jeremiah and Belly both narrate separate chapters in this one, and I thought it really helped with letting me inside Jeremiah's head to see how he felt about certain people and situations.

The plot itself seemed to mostly be back story and flashbacks from when they were all younger, but near the end came the meat of the story. I was so glad to see Conrad fighting for the beach house. Because of the way he was with people seeing him fight for something (even if it is a house) showed that he is in fact capable of caring. 

It's Not Summer Without You was a great continuation of the Summer series. The characters grew on me (a little) and the writing was as good as ever. Although I'm still not sure about some aspects of the overall story, the next and final installment, We'll Always Have Summer should clear things up, or so I've heard. 

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