07 May 2012

Book Review: It's Not Summer Without You

It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han
Summer # 2
Official Website
Description: Last year, all of Belly’s dreams came true and the thought of missing a summer in Cousins Beach was inconceivable. But like the rise and fall of the ocean tide, things can change-- just like that. Suddenly the time she's always looked forward to most is something she dreads. And when Jeremiah calls to say Conrad has disappeared, Belly must decide how she will spend this summer: chasing after the boy she loves, or finally letting him go.

Review: This book wasn't very memorable, except for the ending, which I was rooting for since book 1. That was a really shitty first sentence. Let me rephrase that. It's not that it wasn't memorable, it's just like I said about Sucky Sequel Syndrome. Okay, this book didn't suck. It was more like two notches above Eh.

i'm really bad at reviewing sequels because i feel like i'm spoiling the first book so please for the love of cheesus, if you didn't read the summer i turned pretty, please evacuate the premises.

In The Summer I Turned Pretty, our gal Belly gets together with Conrad, the male that she has loved her entire life. He's finally noticed her, and everything is peachy-keen. They're going to prom together, Susannah is getting better, and her mother is moving on with her life. And then Conrad starts getting sketchy, and Savannah, my favorite woman, passes away.

Susannah was Belly's second mother, the woman she looked up to while at Cousins. Susannah was tough as nails, but when it came to Belly, she was soft and fragile. She made Belly feel welcome in a world full of boys and roughhousing. As I said in my review of TSITP, Susannah and Belly's mother, Laurie, fall in my favorite fictional friendships of all time.
This book deals with the loss of an honored hero, and tells the story from both sides: Jeremiah's and Belly's. I don't know why, but I was very shocked to see something from Jeremiah's point of view. I really enjoyed it, because you don't see the male's point of view too often in young adult books. It made me feel even more like shit because not only did I get Belly, Laurie and Steven's depression, I also got to read the joy that was Jeremiah's sadness. And Jeremiah is the most emotional boy I've ever had the pleasure of reading about. I really hope I get to see his POV in the last book.

The thing that really stood out for me about this book, and also a great reason as to why I am giving this book three stars on goodreads, is the realness with which Belly reacts to Conrad's douchery. Conrad has always, and will always, be indifferent to Belly. She's loved him for years, since they were kids, and now he's finally giving her the time of day. She's the little girl who finally received the love of her crush, so of course she's going to fall head over heels for him. And on top of everything else, he's going away to college when he and Belly start their romance. He acts like a dick, which we all expected because he's Conrad. But Belly gets crushed, because she got her hopes up too high.

This book also ventures into the idea of a relationship with Jeremiah, whom she was closer to, but as a best friend. He was the one who always wanted Belly to tag along, and he looked out for her as a kid. He also had to sit on the sidelines while Belly plainly lusted after Conrad. That.. had to suck as a kid. Growing up in Conrad's shadow, when you liked the girl FOREVER, and Conrad gets her when he felt like it. I really loved loved loved how Jenny Han showed glimpses of their childhood. Like how it was growing up with a strict as balls father. It really shined light on how the boys grew up and became the men they are today.

I think this book should be read by girls who have to decide whether to get their hearts broken a million time over an unpredictable guy, or to be nice and cozy with a guy who she;s comfortable with. I have never had to make this decision, but if I were in Belly's shorts, I would choose Jeremiah. She's secure with him, and that's what most people look for in a relationship, security. They want to know that someone will be there, on the other end of the telephone line, hearing them out. If you have to wonder if your boyfriend is coming home, or if he'll answer your texts, it's unsettling. This book was an accurate depiction of the girl who is lost and confused because the guy she had put all her trust in, bounced. He dipped. There was a lot going on with Conrad, with his mother, the beach house, school, but overall, he's not certain. He won't be a fixed point in her life. And It's Not Summer Without You displays that.

I don't really think that Belly grew as a character, except for the end when she started looking up instead of down. I also didn't like how Taylor is the worst friend in the entire universe, and Taylor made Belly feel bad about herself. Taylor does literately no good for Belly. Maybe it's because I'm not used to having friends, but Taylor deserves to be drop-kicked. Every sentence she spoke, I just say it in this mean girl voice that probably isn't correct, but whatever because Taylor is a meanie. (Excellent adjective there, Lauren)

Overall, this book felt like a bridge of some sorts between the first masterpiece and the third book. The actual action started picking up with Belly stuck her tongue down Jeremiah's throat. (I actually called him Jeremy this entire review and now I have to go back and change it all and it will suck. I also called Susannah 'Savannah' and I am the best.)I'm curious as to how this ends, because right now I have no fricking idea who she'll pick. This book just continued to show us what an asshat Conrad is, what a sweetheart Laurie is, what a flounder Belly is, and what a teddybear Jeremiah is. 

"The future is unclear, but it's still mine."
-It's Not Summer Without You////Jenny Han

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