It's Not Summer Without You picks ten months after The Summer I Turned Pretty Left off. So much has changed. Belly is not at the summer house for the first summer of her life. Susannah, her mother's best friend and Belly's own surrogate mother, has passed away. Her relationship with Conrad developed over the winter, but then fell apart. Now Conrad is missing, and his brother Jeremiah (who also has feelings for Belly) enlists her help in finding him. There's really just one place he would be: the summer place. Does Belly have the strength to go back there? Can she help Conrad? And where does Jeremiah fit into all this?
I can practically smell the sunscreen with these books. They evoked such a powerful summer-memory reaction from me that ran parallel to the actual events of the story. My favourite parts of this book were the sections where Jeremiah's voice took over and he narrated chapters. I think he's my favourite character in these books, and I would love to read more from his perspective. At some points I felt my age while reading these, watching teenage Belly caught between two gorgeous young men, and I wanted to step in and give her some "wisdom" about secretive brooders, but mostly I was content just to watch the story unfold. I have to wait another year now to read what happens next, but I think having to wait in real time might just add to the experience of the story.
Find it at IndieBound.
Read it with:
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
Zen and Xander Undone by Amy Kathleen Ryan
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Shug by Jenny Han
Dishes by Rich Wallace
Maine Squeeze by Catherine Clark