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The Compulsive Reader: It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Every summer, Belly, her mother, and her brother Steven head to the beach house in Cousins to stay with her mother's oldest friend, Susannah, and her boys Conrad and Jeremiah. But this summer, for the first time, Belly isn't going anywhere. Susannah is dead, leaving the beach house empty and her boys and Belly lonely and lost, unable to see past their grief and hurt. Belly passes the days idly, until Jeremiah shows up, asking for her help, and Belly is forced to confront both boys, and her sorrow.

It's Not Summer Without You is a beautiful novel, and though it has a very sad start that finds Belly in the midst of her grief, Han captures the turbulence of emotions, the difficulties of death, and the love and history and complexities of Belly's relationship with Conrad and Jeremiah quite well. Like the year before when Belly attempts to get the boys to see her as more than a kid, there are a lot of misunderstood feelings and misread deeds that lead to complications and drama, but once Belly and Jeremiah start moving past that, Belly and the boys really do reconnect at the beach house in Cousins (with its gorgeous setting and vivid descriptions), and their shared love for Susannah and the beach house helps them come together to save it, although it doesn't immediately fix everything. Han's characters are flawed and fascinating, and though you may think you can anticipate what they'll do next, they often surprise you in the best and worst of ways.

Though the novel is pervaded with grief and heartache, It's Not Summer Without You is hopeful and full of love, all about connections and making amends, and the fragility and endurance of relationships. Like with The Summer I Turned Pretty, this sequel has a rather ambiguous ending that will leave you curious, sad, wondering, and eager for the third book and the fate of Belly and the boys.

Cover Comments: I love the simplicity of the white background and the beach scenes with the main characters. It's clean and beautiful, and it just seems so summer-y--I love it.

Review copy purchased.

7 comments:

Cleverly Inked said...

This sounds so emotional. Wonderful review

emilyandherlittlepinknotes.com said...

I recently finished The Summer I turned pretty and now I am hoping to read this soon, Love your review and you blog

AnimeGirl said...

It's a lovely review.
I've been wondering about these books, I really liked the covers and I think you have convinced me to try them out.

Krista/Tower of Books said...

I'm glad to see this one lives up to The Summer I Turned Pretty. :)

Carly J said...

I thought this book was amazing. It kept me turning the pages and the way the author ended the book makes me unable to wait to read the next one! I loved it so much that i recommend it to any teenage girl out there!

Carly J said...

I thought this book was amazing. It kept me turning the pages and the way the author ended the book makes me unable to wait to read the next one! I loved it so much that i recommend it to any teenage girl out there!

Frenchy Tari said...

I read this story a week ago and I'm still thinking about it. I do want to read the next one, but unfortunately, it is not yet in France... :(
I recommend the trilogy to any girl teen !