Book: It’s Not Summer Without You (Summer #2)
Author: Jenny Han
Rating: 4 stars
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. [via Goodreads]
My review: I almost didn’t read this book because I wasn’t a huge fan of “The Summer I Turned Pretty” but I am so glad that I read this one. I think the big difference is that the plot was noticeable in this one unlike the first book. And the plot was strong and had the ability to make a good book– which it did. When Conrad goes missing, Jeremiah calls Belly to try to find him. Once they find him, they have to figure out why he ran away.
Being back at the beach house was different for them this time because not everyone was there. It felt empty, but they all loved the house and felt better being at the house. The first book revolved around the house as a setting or place but this book revolved around the house as a symbol. A symbol of what was there but now is gone and trying to keep it around. A symbol of people missing but trying to keep them around for as long as possible. This book made the house more important than just “the house we spent every summer in” because now it’s the house that “Susannah wants us to be in” and I can easily get behind that.
In my review of Summer I Turned Pretty, I said “In the end, I hope she grows up throughout the series and learns that the world doesn’t revolve around her. I’ll end up reading the rest of the series because I started it so why not, but I just hope that she is more mature in the next book.” She truly did grow up and in this book I actually liked her. She wasn’t always talking about Conrad because she finally found out there are more important things.
The one thing that just doesn’t seem believable to me is that both boys would have a crush on Belly. They both treat her like a little sister but then they both also like her? It just seems weird to me. Fortunately this book focuses more on her relationship with Jeremiah than her’s with Conrad. Conrad was not the focal point of this book, which is why I said the plot was more noticeable.
It’s Not Summer Without You focuses more on Belly trying to find herself after losing Susannah than her trying to find Conrad. That’s not to say she didn’t have her bratty or annoying moments, but they were fewer and far between. She didn’t spend a whole chapter complaining about Taylor. She didn’t spend two whole chapters complaining about girls that Conrad was dating that weren’t her.
Belly still has some growing up to do, but she’s a likable character and I’m excited to read the third book of the series.