Parman Teen Book Review:”It’s not summer without you” & “We will always have summer” by Jenny Han
These two novels are the final books in the Han’s trilogy, starting with the book The Summer I Turned Pretty that I previously reviewed. First off, I wanted to say that this trilogy is by far my favorite. I have read The Hunger Games, Divergent, and tons of other well-written, noteworthy novels, but this series resonates with me because of Han’s beautiful characterization. The characters in these novels are so sweet and candid, and love the protagonist – Isabel “Belly” Conklin – unconditionally. However, Belly can be quite oblivious to how much her friends and family care about her, like we can all be from time to time. More importantly, all of Han’s characters, despite being lovable, are also very flawed and, therefore, realistic. Belly can be parochial, childish, and ignorant; Jeremiah can be too carefree and immature; and Conrad does not know how to deal with his feelings and often succumbs to being unemotional because he does not know how to cope with the truths of life. The reader watches these three characters grow from the first novel to the last. I was able to see Belly develop from being an awkward child to a young lady who is faced with the toughest decision of her life. Jeremiah goes from being all fun and games to having to make serious choices as well. My personal favorite, Conrad, has to recognize the feelings he has been trying to run away from for a long time. In the midst of this, Susannah’s infinite presence and Laurel’s motherly concern make situations much more complicated and meaningful. I cannot even express using words how phenomenal this trilogy was, keeping me engaged from the first page to the last. The final two books in the series offer a highly satisfying conclusion to a wonderful story.
P.S. The paperback edition of the last novel, We’ll Always Have Summer, has a mini epilogue at the end that has letters detailing Belly’s growing relationships that were excluded from the hardcover version. I highly recommend reading the epilogue after finishing the trilogy (or Googling it) because it really makes the story complete and all the more sweet!
Niraja, 16 Parman TLLC