Wednesday, April 27, 2011
We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
It's been two years since Conrad told Belly to go with Jeremiah. She and Jeremiah have been inseparable ever since, even attending the same college-- only, their relationship hasn't exactly been the happily ever after Belly had hoped it would be. And when Jeremiah makes the worst mistake a boy can make, Belly is forced to question what she thought was true love. Does she really have a future with Jeremiah? Has she ever gotten over Conrad? It's time for Belly to decide, once and for all, who has her heart forever.
Ahh. It's spring finally and though this is the perfect beach read, love is in the air. If you've read the other two books in the Summer series by Jenny Han, you'll appreciate that we finally get closure in the final book in the series. Belly, now in college and known as Isabel, has been dating Jeremiah for two years and though the course has not always been smooth, it's been pretty good and they are in love. So when they decide to get married they can't understand why everyone is so against it. Didn't everyone expect her to marry one of the Fisher boys and everyone knows you can't count on Conrad. The obvious choice is Jeremiah. Isn't it?
Okay, you know that much from the book jacket so no spoilers there. This book explores Belly's and Jeremiah's relationship and a few bumps they face in it leading up to the big question. Then all the problems that question causes. Jenny Han writes that part of the book-the headlong rush into marriage just like that. There is a flurry of planning and questions and troubles and the book rushes too so that you can feel the underlying panic, maybe, that both Belly and Jeremiah feel to get it over and done with. Belly wants to prove that she loves Jeremiah. And maybe Jeremiah wants her to say "I do" before his brother can enter their lives again. For some reason there is a sense of urgency and as a reader, I felt it too, rushing through the book as I read. Yes, Belly loved Con, when she was younger. He was her first love, but hey we all remember our first loves. Some of us fondly, some not so fondly. But, they have a part of our hearts because they were the first to break them. This was true with Con. He hurt Belly and she ran off to Jeremiah. The question is did she choose him, one of the two she loved or was he the one she loved?
And then in this book, we finally get a peek into Conrad's head. Thank God! He'd always seemed like a heartless bastard before and I could never figure out what he wanted. He just seemed to be toying with Belly. And he seemed to delight in hurting her except for those six months they dated. Now we find out just how he felt and his motivations and it all makes sense. It's kind of like getting a chance to see inside Edward's head in Midnight Sun. (Twilight fans will know what I'm writing about.) The distant, enigmatic Conrad becomes a real person in this novel and I say it's about time. In fact, it would have been nice to have had his perspective all along. It would have made for a more tragic love story. But maybe Ms. Han just wanted us to have a nice light series to keep us entertained. And I have been. I read this in about four hours, stopping only to help tape up the air conditioner in our room. It's light, easy reading and satisfying to the very end. I loved the ending. It didn't feel contrived, but very natural and Cousins like. Now, if we could all have grown up that way....
In previous books, Belly and the women were the most developed characters, but in this one, Jeremiah, Conrad, Laurel, Belly's mother and Taylor, Belly's best friend were well developed as well. Cousins, the beach where most of the action of the series takes place has always seemed like a character, the house, the beach, the pool, Belly's room, the kitchen table, each played a part in the series. Belly, Jeremiah, Conrad and Steven (Belly's brother) grew up in the house during the summers and monumental things happened there. If an inanimate object can be a character, then Cousins is definitely a character. It had it's effect on everyone.
This would definitely qualify as a One Sit Read for me. I wasn't going to bed until I read the last page and I didn't cheat. It would have cheapened the series for me. I highly recommend this series for a light summer read, now that all three books are out and there are no cliffhangers. Teenage girls should love this one, but I'm way past that and eagerly anticipated this last book in the series so any YA lover looking for a nice easy read should read this series. I can't wait to see what Jenny Han writes next!