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.
-Synopsis from Goodreads
Thoughts in General:
If you have read my review of The Summer I Turned Pretty, you know that I was disappointed with it. So I went ahead and read its sequel, It's Not Summer Without You, with low expectations. I do think that this book was way better than it predecessor. I felt that the themes within this novel was much more emotionally packed and solid, which was the biggest fault I have seen on the first book. It had a purpose, which made it superior for me. However, I still had some reservations towards the characters in this trilogy even after I finished it. I am still quite happy with how everything turned out and I did find pleasure in reading this sequel.
Thoughts in Detail (CONTAINS SPOILERS + DISCUSSIONS):
~DO NOT CROSS THIS THRESHOLD, IF YOU HAVE NOT READ/FINISHED THIS BOOK! YOU WILL BE SPOILED! YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!~
It's Not Summer Without You was a decent follow up to The Summer I Turned Pretty. Basically it tackled some issues that was left open in the first book and answered some of those questions (i.e. What happened after Conrad went to Belly's house on Christmas? What did become of Susannah's cancer?). The pacing of this book was much faster compared to the first one, which I liked. So here's my spoilery run down on things:
Basically Belly was still the same girl we encountered in the first book. There was a tiny bit of character growth for her in this book, but there wasn't any big change towards her entire characterization. I sympathized for her when Susannah died and I felt bad for her when Conrad dumped her during prom, but the way she handled things on Susannah's funeral was just tactless (I know she hated herself for that, but I am just pissed at her). There was little growth in her characterization and I was still not that into Belly after I read this book.
I was really happy with Jeremiah's POV in this book. It was such a nice break from Belly's perspective and I really liked how we got to know him, his relationship with his dad, and his feelings for Belly. I really wished that his parts were longer though. However, I was annoyed when he suddenly kissed Belly while Conrad was having his exams. That was just shocking to me and it felt so random that I didn't quite felt the emotional impact of it. Putting that little irk aside, he was probably my favorite character in the trilogy, so far.
Then we have Conrad. I understood where he came from, but he still acted too much of jerk at times. I did see the good in him though. The way he protected the summer house was incredibly admirable and I salute him for that. He was such a good brother to Jeremiah and I admit I am not that pissed at his character anymore.
The highlights of this book for me were...
When Mr. Fischer and Laurel (Belly's mom) argued about the state of the house. This was my favorite scene in the entire book because a) Laurel was such a badass b) The summer house was saved from being sold and c) Laurel was such a badass! This was the most interesting and exciting scene in this book.
Taylor and Belly's friendship was really tested in this book. I really didn't like how Belly treated Taylor in the beginning, middle and end. As always she acted like a total brat, who doesn't care anyone but herself.
We saw how the relationship of Belly and her mom was and how it turned into this emotional turn. I loved it when Laurel slapped Belly in the face (YES! Somebody finally did it!). That part was priceless!
The death of Susannah was handled beautifully in this book. We got to see how she still fought for her life and even though she did die, as a reader, I felt the longing and grief these characters went through. This was one of the biggest reasons why I liked this book very much.
~END OF DISCUSSION~
I give It's Not Summer Without You a...
Actual (Star) Rating: 3.5 Stars
I did like the sequel more than the first book. There was an existence of plot, it had a very interesting interaction between the characters, and the pacing was done well.
What did you think of It's Not Summer Without You? Did you agree/disagree with what I've said? Don't hesitate to sound off your thoughts, opinions and reactions by commenting down below.