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It's Not Summer Without You

Review

It's Not Summer Without You

For every summer since she can remember, Belly went to the house
on Cousins Beach with her brother Steven, her mother, her
mother’s best friend Susannah, and her boys Conrad and
Jeremiah. While they are all mostly like family, Belly has loved
brooding Conrad since she can remember. Things finally started to
happen between them last summer. Then other things happened, and
this year no one is going to Cousins.

Belly can’t believe how boring and pointless life at home
seems this summer. Taylor, her best friend of many years, tries to
help her snap out of her funk over Conrad, but Belly just
isn’t into dressing up and can’t bring herself to flirt
with other guys. Taylor and the other girls are getting tired of
her lack of participation, but she can’t stop thinking about
the past year. At home, her mother is in a haze of grief as
Susannah has recently died from cancer. Belly can hardly believe it
either --- that a woman who was like a second mother to her is
gone.

Before she passed away, Susannah was thrilled that Conrad took
Belly to her prom. Belly practically had to beg him to do so, but
no one knows that. She thought that since they had spent a great
night in the winter at the summer house talking and kissing, she
meant something to him. But when he doesn’t bring her
flowers, or want to dance, and then leaves her at the prom early,
she realizes his feelings don’t match hers. Her emotions boil
over at Susannah’s funeral, and she feels she has severed
contact with Conrad forever.

Then Jeremiah calls. Conrad has disappeared from his summer
school program and is in danger of failing. He wants Belly to help
him find Conrad before he fails completely. They spot Conrad at
Cousins, bringing everything full circle. None of them can move
forward without sorting their feelings and grief about Susannah.
And they must band together to save the house.

Anyone who has felt the anguish of unrequited love or the loss
of someone close will understand Belly’s feelings. Hanging on
to a longtime crush is not good for anyone, and this story shows
lots of hope for Belly’s future. While a great summer and
beach read with its wonderful setting, the book is also filled with
feeling. 

At times it is confusing as the point of view changes through
different characters, including Jeremiah. But that technique helps
readers understand and sympathize with what they are all going
through. With this follow-up to THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY, Jenny
Han will continue to draw fans as she portrays mature, real,
thoughtful teens who are about more than flirting and
appearance.

   -

Reviewed by Amy Alessio on October 18, 2011

It's Not Summer Without You
by Jenny Han

  • Publication Date: April 27, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 1416995552
  • ISBN-13: 9781416995555