Title: It's Not Summer Without You
Author: Jenny Han
Release Date: April 2010
Published By: Simon & Schuester
Goodreads Rating: 4.27 stars
Review: Belly knows all too well just how quickly things can change, especially when, in the blink of an eye, the summer she's always so looked forward to is the one she now dreads. Her dreams, which had come true last year, now crashed down, and it only gets worse when Jeremiah calls with startling news: Conrad's missing. She has to make a choice whether to chase after the boy she loves or finally let him go.
Confession time: I know almost everyone and their cousin loves this series, but when I read the first book, I wasn't all too impressed. It wasn't bad and I liked it, but I didn't understand why it felt like every blogger in the universe was swooning over it, and so I decided not to read more of the series. However, I was reading a review of the third book, and the reviewer mentioned that she too hadn't thought much of the first book but adored the second and fell in love with the third. And just like that, I decided to pick up IT'S NOT SUMMER WITHOUT YOU.
And you know what? I'm so glad I did. This book was a crazy, tumultuous ride of emotions, swinging up and down, and completely, utterly engrossing me. The last thing I expected was to be captured from beginning to end in Belly's story, with my own heart throbbing in sympathy for her. Part of the reason I felt like this was such an improvement over the first book was that this one seemed to have so much more depth to it, which really made all the difference.
It still wasn't perfect. One thing that I didn't like so much in the first book was that Belly could be immature, and even though she was a little better here, she could still be on the whiny and selfish side at times. This could tick me off a bit and sometimes I really just wanted to grab her by the shoulders and tell her what to do. However, I'm confident that she will continue to grow as a character and hopefully mature into the protagonist this series needs by the next book.
I can't emphasize enough how glad I am that I read the review encouraging those who didn't like the first book to pick up the second, because I've begun to fall in love with this series. Even though Belly was irritating at points, the intensity of the emotions expressed in this book and how far it strays from simple fluff balanced it out, and I'll definitely be picking up the third one. For all you readers out there who, like me, didn't necessarily love the first book: read IT'S NOT SUMMER WITHOUT YOU. I hope it'll change your mind like it changed mine.