Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Can summer be truly summer without Cousins Beach?
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.

First line:
"It was a hot summer in Cousins."

It's hot in Cousins in more ways than just summer. Cousins is the beach house where Belly and her mom and brother visit friends. Only this time, Susannah is dying. And Conrad told Belly he doesn't love her. And Jeremiah does. It's a brotherly love triangle.
It's a rough summer for Belly. She's use to going to the Cousins beach house every year. This year Susannah is gone, Conrad hasn't called her back and Taylor, the BFF, is pushing Belly to get over Conrad by making out with another guy, and Belly's own mom is distant.
Jeremiah, Conrad's brother, called Belly in a panic and asked if she could help him find Conrad who's disappeared from college.
This is the way most of them end up at Cousins again. It's not as pleasant as years past. It's awkward with Conrad and Belly since he dumped her/she yelled at him. And Jeremiah wants a chance with Belly if Conrad's over her.
All the characters have matured a little since the last summer. I wished Belly would get over her lifelong crush of Conrad. He doesn't treat her well at all.

Ms. Han brings this summer romance story to life with her details, internal dialogue, characters and writing.

What I liked:
Great summer read

What I didn't like:
Taylor's attitude
Belly's obsession with Conrad

Rating: PG13
V: No
L: Yes: swearing + couple of "F" bombs
S: Kissing, making out

25% test (.69):
"...loved him more than anything. Because, he was everything. And I hated that, too.
"Connie's having a hard time with all of this. It's a lot." She paused and pushed my hair out of my face, her hand lingering on my forehead as if I had a fever. As if I was the one who was sick, in need of comfort. "Don't let him push you away. He needs you. He loves you, you know."
I shook my head. "No, he doesn't." in my head, I added, The only person he loves is himself. And you.
She acted like she hadn't heard me. "Do you love him?"
When I didn't answer, she nodded as if I had. "Will you do something for me?"
Slowly, I nodded.
"Look after him for me. Will you do that?"
"You won't need me to look after him, Susannah, you'll be here to do it," I said, and I tried not to sound desperate, but it didn't matter.
Susannah smiled and said, "You're my girl, Belly."
After lunch, Susannah took a nap. She didn't wake up until late afternoon, and when she did, she was irritable and disorientated. She snapped at my mother once, which terrified me. Susannah never snapped at anybody. Nona tried to put her to bed, and at first Susannah refused, but then she gave in. On the way to her bedroom, she gave me a little halfhearted wink.
Jeremiah came home around dinnertime. I was relieved..."

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