Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han (May 2011, Puffin, ISBN: 0141330554)

Notes: Review will contain some spoilers for The Summer I Turned Pretty.

Review: This is the sequel to The Summer I Turned Pretty and is set the following summer. Belly (short for Isobel) is spending her first summer at home rather than at the beach house in Cousins where she has spent every summer before with her mum and brother and family friend Susannah and her two sons, Conrad and Jeremiah.

Things have changed and Susannah is dead and Belly and Conrad's sort-of relationship has broken-up. Everyone is grief-stricken and matters come to ahead when Conrad disappears from summer-school. Jeremiah asks Belly to help him find Conrad and their journey takes them to the beach house.

Over a weekend, Belly, Conrad and Jeremiah's relationships with each other will change. Family truths will be spoken and a new way forward decided upon.

For me I found this a sad book to read: pervaded with the loss of a loved one, the loss of love and the loss of childhood. I felt sorry for Belly and how she felt about Conrad and the unhappiness it was bringing her. The present day dilemma is threaded with flashbacks and sometimes these were from the point of view of Jeremiah and included Belly's arrival at the beach house last year. I wonder if Conrad will "speak" in the final part of the trilogy. As before, this was a fast read; I was entranced. The book ends with a tantalising teaser for Belly's future but I have no idea of the identity of the "him" mentioned in it. I don't know whether I can wait 196 days for the UK edition of We'll Always Have Summer, I may have to splash out on the already available US version.

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