It's Not Summer Without You - Jenny Han

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.


I wasn't sure if the first book was the kind of book that could deal with a sequel, but I was riveted by this book and enjoyed seeing the characters growing.


The loss of an important character proves very telling for the rest. Everyone deals with grief in different ways and it's intriguing to see how they all change and how their relationships between each other evolve following this loss. It all feels very real, not at all faked.


I loved Belly in this book a lot more than the previous. She's immature, but she can see this, and I could really see her struggling to grow up and to deal with the circumstances. Her more rash actions were plausible and I loved the way she thought about things later and grew from them. As a YA character, she was quite plausible.


Belly doesn't feel quite content with her school friends and with being at home for summer--she's always felt like she really lives at the beach house. The moments that made this clear were the most powerful to me because I understand what it's like to have different worlds and to miss one profusely. Han did a great job of capturing this sentiment.


I'm entirely unsure what I want to happen in the third book, but I'm excited to read it. This book captivated me more than the first and I recommend it.