I’ve heard a lot of good things about Jenny Han and the Summer Series but because I am not a huge YA fan, I had never really intentionally read any of her books, that is, until I needed to read a “third book in a trilogy” as a category in the Bingo Challenge I joined for the book club this year. I’d also stayed away from reading trilogies and series books because of how they always tend to eat up away my sleeping time (low EQ, sorry) so if I wanted to read a “third book in a trilogy”, I had to start with Book 1. And this is how I ended up binge-reading the Summer Series, well, this summer.
The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1) begins the series which is about a girl called Belly and how she would spend her summers in a beach house together with her mom and her brother and her mom’s best friend and her two sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. I never really warmed up to Belly in this book, I found nothing exceptional in her, although I had to admit that I also found her character easily relatable. Belly’s insecurities, her confusion, her feelings — well, they weren’t really foreign to me but my present (older) self had to learn how to make allowances because hello, who is already mature at 16?
The first part of the story was rather long-winded, the frequent flashbacks in time jarred me, but the pace picked up halfway through. I was only glad when it ended, except that I had to start with Book 2 immediately so that I can finally get to the “third book in a trilogy”. There is nothing like a challenge, albeit a self-imposed one at that, to make one read faster. Haha.
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
It’s Not Summer Without You (Summer #2) continues the story of Belly and her finally getting what she wanted – Conrad. Except that Conrad has gone missing and Jeremiah asks her for help. Towards the end of Summer #1, I realized that this series isn’t the fluffy, butterflies and balloons love story that I had expected. It was raw with all kinds of emotions, mostly sentimental ones, and I can’t help but get into Belly’s character — feel her pain and confusion and at the same time cheer her on as she makes her choices. Belly is still selfish and immature but she has also learned to stand up for her choices, even though most times I don’t agree with her actions. I never really liked Conrad, although I would have loved to read more about his POV so I can understand what made him into this angsty, uncaring boy. Jenny Han has definitely intended it for readers to like/love Jere more than Conrad because, well, (spoiler) I think the plan was that we get to choose whose side we’re on (and read on to Book 3!). 😛
My Rating: 3/5 stars.
Finally, I got to the “third book in a trilogy”, yay! We’ll Always Have Summer (Summer #3) brought Belly’s story to a close, but not without some tears and a broken heart. The crybaby that I am, I had to contend with a stuffy nose and wet pillow after I finished the book, because this time, I got to read Conrad’s POV. This is the part in the series that closely resonates with me because, we are no longer talking about teenage crushes, Belly. This is already real life. Planning a wedding (at such a young age!) is not a laughing matter and while I sympathize with Belly’s willfulness to stand up to her choices, I had to agree with her mom. Sigh. If only hindsight comes quickly. Taylor was such a refreshing character and I loved her feisty, no-nonsense attitude. In the end, I loved how the story tackled with choices and risks and the courage to face the consequences.
My Rating: 4/5 stars.
P.S. Why do I have this lingering feeling that my emotions had been played at since Book 1?