It’s Not Summer Without You (Jenny Han)

It’s Not Summer Without You is the second novel in the The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy by Jenny Han.
Finished on: 29.1.2023
[Here’s my review of the first book.]

Belly was supposed to be happy this summer, after finally connecting with Conrad in the way she always hoped they would. But her relationship with Conrad was short-lived, and now Belly is facing a summer not only without Conrad, but also without Susannah and the beach house. But then Conrad disappears from campus and his brother Jeremiah comes to Belly for help with tracking him down and bringing him to his senses. And where else would he be than at the beach house?

It’s Not Summer Without You hits just the spot you’d hope it would: a light beach read with enough emotional drama and fluid writing to keep the pages flying past you.

The salmon-colored book cover with corals, algae and shells around the book title.

At the end of the first book in the trilogy, I was a little taken aback by a jump forward in time that was way too fast for my taste. At the start of this book, we get yet another jump even further forward. Irritating at first, Han doesn’t leave the jumped-over parts blank, but slowly fills in the gaps in the course of the book. And that structure worked very well for me as we basically reflect Belly and Conrad’s relationship (or lack thereof) along with Belly who is slowly working through it to arrive, finally, at a conclusion that I can whole-heartedly agree with: love isn’t just a feeling, somewhere deep down inside a person, it is a continuous series of actions. It was a beautiful conclusion to draw, and one that, I think, more people, especially women, can take to heart. There is no doubt that Conrad loves Belly. But that knowledge isn’t enough if Conrad isn’t able to put it into actions that make Belly feel safe and loved and taken care of.

The book also gives us a few chapters from the point-of-view of Jeremiah, sharpening him as a character. He has already been my favorite in the first book, and I feel very vindicated by this book. That Belly can finally work through her Conrad obsession enough to see Jeremiah for what he is worth, was beautifully developed here. And it is definitely a testament to Han’s writing that I didn’t keep rolling my eyes at the love triangle in general.

I might still like the To All the Boys series better than this one, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy reading this book, and that I’m not looking forward to the last novel in the trilogy. I am sure that it will be yet another Sunday (or so) well spent, curled up with the book on the couch (the lack of beach in my life is a travesty but that’s what you get form living in a land-locked country with winters) and letting myself fall into the epic emotions of young love.

Summarizing: delivers absolutely.

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