Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (April 27th, 2010)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardback: 288 pages
Series: Summer #2
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
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.
May contain spoilers!
This really turned into a fantastic series! I reviewed book 1, The Summer I Turned Pretty, and it was a great book but I wasn't sure when I would get to read the rest of the series. Recently, I was in a "summer book" mood and read It's Not Summer Without You and We'll Always Have Summer in 1 day! I was completely mesmerized by the beautiful setting, characters, and plot.
It's Not Summer Without You takes place a year after book 1. It's summer again and Belly is dealing with the aftermath of a horrible loss. Summer isn't going to be the same, but even with her friends back home trying to make her have a fun summer, she can't stop thinking about Cousins Beach.
Jeremiah calls Belly and says that no one knows where Conrad is. She immediately leaves with him so they can hopefully track him down and convince him to come home. It seems obvious where he is but it surprises her to find out exactly why he ran away.
While at Cousins, lots of memories come back from the year before. We get a chance to discover how Belly and Conrad's relationship had developed and changed over a short amount of time. I loved that the story brought up these details. Readers can follow their current situation while seeing what exactly brought them to that place.
This is one of those series where, even though we have a love triangle, I never exactly could pick a side. Jeremiah and Conrad were amazing, and frustrating, in their own ways. Jeremiah was the more sweet, loving personality, while Conrad was more mature (sometimes!) and heartwarming character. He always seemed to be having an internal battle with himself but when he let his true feelings show, wow, watch out! It will make you fall in l-o-v-e!
It's easy to see how these characters grew and matured over the course of a difficult year. Jenny Han has created characters that you feel you actually know once you finish the book. They are so realistic, imperfect, and passionate that it's impossible to not feel something as you go through their story.
It's Not Summer Without You is a heartwarming tale of loss, love, and friendship like no other I have read. It's the perfect summer read!
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