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July 9, 2011

Review: Summer trilogy by Jenny Han

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer--they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.
Before I actually start reviewing the book, I think it's important to know that I've never been a fan of contemporary novels. The whole reason I turn to books is to escape from reality, but contemporary fiction tends to emphasize those same events that I'm trying to get away from. I don't read many "summer" books either, but I thought I'd give this series a chance. Now, I'm so glad I picked up this series.

Isabel Conklin, more commonly known as Belly, spends each summer at Cousins Beach with not only her own mother and brother, but her mother's childhood friend Susannah and Susannah's boys, Conrad and Jeremiah. All three of the boys have always seen Belly as someone for them to pick on and make fun of, just like older brothers do to their little sisters. This summer, however, is different. Belly is growing up, and Conrad and Jeremiah both start to take notice of her differences. Unfortunately for Jeremiah, Belly has been smitten with Conrad since she was ten years old. What happens next is enough to tear your heart into pieces.

I can't tell you more without spoiling the novel, so I simply suggest that you read it for yourself.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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.
I really think the blurb did an excellent job of explaining It's Not Summer Without You in a nutshell. When I picked up this book, I was so anxious to find out what was going on with Belly, Conrad, and Jeremiah. What I found was enough to bring out the tears--again.

Belly hasn't seen the Fisher boys in months. When Jeremiah calls to inform her that Conrad is missing, she immediately runs off to find him. What the two discover is that Conrad is at the house in Cousins Beach--but he's not just trying to get kicked out of school. He's there for a purpose, which becomes a main issue in the novel. Of course, his feelings for Belly still leave both of them hurt and confused. On top of that, Jeremiah expresses his love for Belly, and everything turns chaotic.

I loved what Jenny Han did with this second book. She added on to the story without any unnecessary pieces, and it worked perfectly. The characters are a year older, giving us a bit more of a mature but still impulsive point of view on each event. Also, I appreciated the chapters in Jeremiah's point of view; it added a nice twist.

Rating: 4/5 stars

It's been two years since Conrad told Belly to go with Jeremiah. She and Jeremiah have been inseparable ever since, even attending the same college-- only, their relationship hasn't exactly been the happily ever after Belly had hoped it would be. And when Jeremiah makes the worst mistake a boy can make, Belly is forced to question what she thought was true love. Does she really have a future with Jeremiah? Has she ever gotten over Conrad? It's time for Belly to decide, once and for all, who has her heart forever.
Once again, the blurb is a good, succinct explanation of what happens in the final Summer novel--and goodness, what a crazy ride it was.

When I picked up We'll Always Have Summer, I was taken aback. The characters had grown quite a bit, as Belly was almost finished with her first year of college. Guess who was at school with her--yes, Jeremiah. And they were dating. I smelled drama coming.

I was right. Jeremiah does the unthinkable--I'm sure you can figure out what that means--and Belly is miserable. And then something else rather intense happens...and this something almost made me put the book down altogether. If you don't want to know, STOP READING.

Jeremiah proposes to Belly. And she says YES. I mean, seriously?! She's eighteen, for crying out loud, and he admitted to the world's biggest mistake barely five minutes earlier. It was all a little too much for me, honestly.

And then Conrad finds out. He's still in love with Belly, of course. However, he knows how much she's been hurt by him, and so he shrugs it off at first. Eventually though, he starts to realize that his brother and Belly are serious about marriage, and he decides to do something. *cheers for Conrad* In case you haven't already noticed, I wanted Belly and Conrad to be together all along.

I won't tell you how it ends, but I will tell you that I was almost in tears. Happy tears or sad tears? Who knows...find out for yourself. ;)

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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