“And no matter what you do or how hard you try, you can’t stop
yourself from dreaming.”
― Jenny Han,
It’s Not Summer Without You
By: Jenny Han
Belly finds out what comes after falling in love in this follow-up to The Summer I Turned Pretty from the New York Times bestselling author of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (soon to be a major motion picture!), Jenny Han.
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.
After watching the Netflix Original for To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before I was in need of a Jenny Han fix. I’ve recently read the Lara Jean trilogy so I thought it was time to pick up another of her series that I never finished. The reason I didn’t finish this series originally wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy the book. I really liked it. However, I was worried that the next books would be too much of a happy ending. But, I decided it was time to give them another chance. I am so happy that I did.
After finishing the series I can definitely say that the second book is my least favorite of the 3. However, I still really enjoyed this novel. Jenny Han’s beautiful storytelling, relationship building, and character driven storylines were woven throughout the entirety of the novel.
As with any good second novel this book truly helped to flush out and develop the relationships we first encountered in The Summer I Turned Pretty. We got to see Belly interact with more characters that seemed more like secondary characters in the first book. I was really appreciative to see more of Belly and Laure’s relationship though it was difficult to witness at times. The different ebbs and flows of the relationships were relatable and made me care for our characters even more.
I was happy to see more character development from all of the characters in this novel. Jeremiah turned from being a yes man to actually having his own personality, Conrad became more than brooding and mysterious, and Laura was a much larger part of all of the character’s lives. I was happy to see the characters try to navigate a tough situation and grow from those experiences.
This novel was not plot driven. They story was definitely carried by the characters. These are my favorite kinds of novels. I love reading a book where all I care about are the character’s thoughts and interactions with others. I don’t need a heavy handed plot. Give me subtle conversations any day. Jenny Han always comes through for me in that arena.
Overall, I really liked this novel within this trilogy. I do wish I could have seen a little bit more of some of my favorite characters. However, as a whole it was a great book. I’m so glad that I picked this series back up.