Jenny Han once again creates a bittersweet tale about summer, love, and finding yourself in It’s Not Summer Without You.
After reading The Summer I Turned Pretty, It’s Not Summer Without You immediately became one of my most anticipated releases of the year. And, after reading it, I can’t quite decide which book is my favorite. It’s Not Summer Without You was wonderful in it’s own, unique way. It was quite different than its predecessor, but Belly and her summer boys made it unforgettable.
Unlike the first novel, this one did not encompass an entire summer. Instead it took place in the small window of a few summer days. Even with the time period so greatly shortened, I felt that far more happened in this novel than in The Summer I Turned Pretty. It had all of Belly’s memories and inner monologues that I loved from before, only with the added bonus of rapid development. This time crunch made It’s Not Summer Without You impossible to put down – the characters’ emotions were heightened, their relationships intensified and the story was fast paced.
The flashbacks that were so instrumental in building Belly’s character in The Summer I Turned Pretty make a return. Only this time they give the reader a glimpse back at the previous year and everything that brought her to this point. I absolutely adore how Han sprinkles in the flashbacks throughout the course of the novel, always enriching the plot and twisting your heartstrings.
One of my favorite things about this novel was the deeper exploration of Jeremiah’s character. This time, Belly’s is not the only point of view included. Han gets into the mind of shy and sensitive Jeremiah, allowing the reader to see some of the biggest developments of the novel (both past and present) through his eyes. I was intrigued by Jeremiah in the previous novel, and relished the chance to get to know him better. Unlike Conrad, Jeremiah’s complexity is not shown outright. He’s the steady, controlled brother. It was wonderful to be able to get insight into his character and see how all the events of the past year affected him. This was a refreshing addition, and one I greatly enjoyed.
It’s Not Summer Without You is another excellent novel from Jenny Han. This book is the perfect summer read. It will have you smiling, laughing and tearing up all the way through.