Monday, May 30, 2011

Review: It's Not Summer Without You (Summer #2) by Jenny Han

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty
Series: Summer #2
Author: Jenny Han
Release Date: April 27, 2010
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing
Source: Library
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.
Review: Jenny Han’s Summer Trilogy has easily become one of my favorites. After reading The Summer I Turned Pretty, I wanted the second book, It’s Not Summer Without You really badly. When I got it, I devoured the book in about an hour and a half. It was simply amazing.

It’s Not Summer Without You begins off a year after the first book. A lot has changed since then but one thing stayed constant: Susannah. She really is the rock behind these two books; mostly what the story revolves around. But not in a bad way. I’ll explain in a bit. Now, the plot and story centers around Belly and the other and how they’ve (if they have) gone on with their lives after Susannah’s death. The story moves along quiet quickly but it’s a pace that works really well with this series as I’ve noticed. I don’t want to give too much away but the ending left lots of questions that will hopefully be answered in book 3.

Jenny Han writing is in one word, beautiful. Or authentic. Or real. Actually, it’s real contemporary. The type of contemporary that you want to read. I love her characters and Cousins Beach and the beach house and everything else about this book. One that that gets me about Han’s writing is how well she brings about emotion in her writing. A lot of times when an author attempts this, they make it seem forced but Han makes it seem elegant. I’ve found myself feeling what Belly is feeling towards both boys and her family.

Belly, Conrad, Jeremiah, Belly’s mom, and everyone else was back. Except Susannah. But you could never tell because Susannah was mentioned so many times throughout this book. As said above, Susannah is what this story revolves around and it’s actually a good thing. The thing is, the characters change and grow as things change. Susannah dying thrusts Belly, Conrad, and Jeremiah into a whirlwind of emotions and conflicts, something none of them had experience before. That’s like real life in more than one way and the way that Han depicts these characters and their reactions to this change is something that’s been seen in teens (and even adults) throughout many years.

Belly has grown up so much and her growth is evident in her manner of talking and her actions. She’s still a teenager and that’s evident as well. It just goes to show that not everything changes with everything else. Belly’s so realistic because of how she reacts to big change, especially when someone close dies. I could feel what she felt and I knew what I would feel like to lose someone I cared about and loved. Jeremiah and Conrad are hurting but they’re coping in different ways. While Jeremiah tries to make things lighter and happier, Conrad is in a sullen, dark mood. This is also really realistic because I’ve seen this happen in people. I still loved both boys (well, Conrad was a jerk…a lot of times) and Belly was once again a great protagonist. We did get some Jeremiah and I have to admit, I felt bad for him. He loved Belly but couldn’t tell her so.

Overall, it was an amazing addition to a trilogy I’ve come to love. If you want real contemporary, something that’ll make you feel, check out the Summer Trilogy.
Overall: 5/5
Cover: 5/5 It's Belly, Conrad, and Jeremiah! At the beach!

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