Sunday, May 2, 2010

It's Not Summer Without You, Jenny Han

I have been waiting to read this book ever since I heard there would be a followup to The Summer I Turned Pretty. I was actually pretty surprised to learn there would be a sequel since it doesn't seem to happen with realistic fiction YA's as much as with the supernatural ones. But I was a very excited kind of surprised because I love, love, loved The Summer I Turned Pretty.

Where to start with my gushing? I love Belly. I love Jeremiah & Conrad & their fierce mom & even annoying older brother Stephen & especially sweet Susannah & not to mention how much I love the beach they get to spend their summers at. Last year's installment sent me into prolonged  and involved fantasies of a beach house vacation for several months to no avail. At least this time I expected to be obsessed with summer vacations spent at the seaside. I want to go to there!

This book surprised me. I thought I had a handle on where things were headed with Belly's love life at the end of the first book and well, I was wrong. As I was reading this plot twist was making me mad but by the time I finished (and after rereading book 1) I realized that this was exactly how Conrad would behave because in the end he is kind of a jerk. A jerk that is sensitive and still a good person in his way but definitely not the hero on a pedestal that Belly had created in her mind. And that is the problem. I was swooning and rooting for the Conrad Belly had imagined and he doesn't really exist.

I liked that sections of this book were in Jeremiah's point of view as well. It would have been interesting to hear from Conrad as well but then again that might have swung my sympathies back in his favor which would have left me in an even bigger knot of nerves about how this series will end. I like my happy endings so I am a little stressed imagining where the 3rd book will take things.

This book made me tear up in several places as well. The storyline with Susannah was so tender and bittersweet. I am so impressed with Jenny Han's writing to have a story that is romantic and beachy (in a good way, of course) but still has some big issues handled seriously as well.

I loved this book and I loved rereading The Summer I Turned Pretty. I'm just mad that I have to teach school for 6 more weeks and deal with a bunch of unpleasantness before I can begin my own summer. I need a beachhouse! Or maybe more realistically just a subscription to Coastal Living.

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