I really enjoyed the first book in this trilogy, even though the narrator, Belly, tended to get on my nerves Han's beautiful writing made it all worthwhile. So I was definitely planning to pick up the sequel, It's Not Summer Without You to find out how the drama between Belly and brothers Conrad and Jeremiah.
However, unlike The Summer I Turned Pretty, there is pretty much nothing appealing about Conrad in this book, which makes it frustrating to see Belly continue to be devoted to him for the reasons the reader can't quite comprehend. He may have been her first love, but he's a complete jerk this time round. My heart just broke for Jeremiah who was basically being strung along by Belly, in a way that made me think of Belly's boyfriend Cameron from the last book. Adding to this are the short chapters told from Jeremiah's viewpoint that just made me sympathize with him more. So it was a complicated emotion– even though I wanted Belly to choose him, I felt like he deserved better than her.
In It's Not Summer Without You, Susannah has died and Belly is actually spending the summer at home, but of course she can't stay away from Cousins for good. The feelings of summer that Han captured so perfectly in book one are back, her vivid descriptive moments and that sensation that is summer nights and kisses. When the book begins, Conrad has gone missing and Belly and Jeremiah head to track him down. And even though Belly annoys me at times, she definitely has started to grow up and it is clear that she is mourning Susannah deeply. By the end of the book I was really conflicted over Belly's decision, and especially the afterwords left my stomach in knots going into book 3, which was definitely not what I expected. But more on that in my next Summer review.
Release Date: April 27th 2010 Pages: 288 Source: Borrowed