We’ll Always Have Summer (Jenny Han)

We’ll Always Have Summer is the third novel in the The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy by Jenny Han.
Finished on: 10.3.2023
[Here are my reviews of the other two books.]

Belly and Jeremiah are at college and they are pretty much the dream couple. That is, until Belly finds out that Jeremiah kept something from her, something that calls their entire relationship into question. Suddenly it seems that there is no more time for figuring things out – decisions need to be made instead. Like if Belly really wants to spend the rest of her life with Jeremiah – or if maybe Conrad still has too much of a piece of her heart.

We’ll Always Have Summer is one of the most disappointing conclusions to a trilogy I have ever encountered. It was still absolutely readable and engaging, but I just didn’t like the story it told.

The book cover showing the title in white on a violet background, surrounded by different seashells and two small purple flowers.


I know, I’m probably in the minority of romance readers in that I don’t particularly like broody love interests. I have always liked the nice guy next door so much more than the broody mystery whose hurtful behavior can be excused (maybe) with some deep pain he harbors. So, it’s probably no surprise to anyone that I was always rooting for Belly to end up with Jeremiah and not with Conrad.

And then they finally did! And thus ended Book 2. Book 3 starts with them well-established and being cute together, but only for about 20 pages or so – when it is revealed that Jeremiah cheated on Belly and everything goes to hell. Jeremiah tries to fix it by proposing, Belly tries to get her happiness back by accepting and things get even worse.

And then Han brings back Conrad. Only now it seems that Conrad, while still not sharing much of his inner life with anyone, and still curled around his pain (as if Jeremiah hadn’t experienced the same loss he did), has actually become the nice guy while Jeremiah is being the distant dick. It’s like Han decided that Belly should end up with the nice guy AND with Conrad. And the only way to do that was to turn Conrad into the nice guy.

It might have still gone along with that if she had managed to sell the romance to me. But not the first time, she makes a jump in time past the most interesting bits – in this case, Belly and Conrad’s courtship, or rather him wooing her. If I had been Team Conrad to begin with, I probably would have hated the book for that particular feint.

I don’t find the character developments here entirely implausible, but the structure of the book with its central conceit of the wedding just didn’t work for me. It’s a testament to Han’s writing that the book is nevertheless a page turner that is quickly finished and still enjoyable. But it is a shame how this series is going out.

Summarizing: I expected more from it.

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