Review: We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han

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Title: We’ll Always Have Summer
Author: Jenny Han
Series: Summer #3
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Publication Date: April 26, 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Purchased

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Rating: 3 stars

It’s been two years since Conrad told Belly to go with Jeremiah. She and Jeremiah have been inseparable ever since, even attending the same college– only, their relationship hasn’t exactly been the happily ever after Belly had hoped it would be. And when Jeremiah makes the worst mistake a boy can make, Belly is forced to question what she thought was true love. Does she really have a future with Jeremiah? Has she ever gotten over Conrad? It’s time for Belly to decide, once and for all, who has her heart forever.

Disclaimer: because this is the third and final book of the summer trilogy, this review is going to be filled with spoilers of the first two books. There are also going to be spoilers about We’ll Always Have Summer because it’s the last one and I desperately need to talk about the ending.

Review:

“Just because you bury something, that doesn’t mean it stops existing.”

If you’ve read my pervious reviews, you’ll know that I enjoyed The Summer I Turned Pretty and couldn’t stand It’s Not Summer Without You. But I decided to finish the series because I’d already bought this book a while ago (for $3 – thank you Book Outlet) and it wouldn’t take long to get through. So I made myself push on and finish.

In all honesty, I knew how this series was going to end from the second I read the synopsis of the first book. To be fair, I think everyone knew. But I was still intrigued enough to want to get there and see how they ended up together.

Belly. Oh lord. This girl. She was so clearly never over Conrad and I’m forever going to annoyed at her for being with Jeremiah pretty much because she couldn’t have the Fisher boy she wanted. Even in college, she didn’t seem to grow up much. At least she got over her issues with Taylor and they were able to be friends again. It would have been so weird if they didn’t reconcile.

The boys felt like such an after thought throughout the book. The entire time I felt like both of them kept falling flat as characters. Conrad finally confessing to Belly how he felt, Jeremiah being the one not chosen. I never really felt much emotion when I should have been having all the feels. So much more could have been done for them, and neither of them got what felt like a satisfying ending.

Just like Conrad and Jeremiah, a lot of the other characters felt like after thoughts. Maybe it was because this series could have just been a standalone or maybe it was because Susannah had passed away, but no one seemed like they added much to the story anymore. They could have been there or on the other side of the world not existing in Belly’s life, and it wouldn’t have made a difference.

“There hadn’t been one specific moment. It was like gradually waking up. You go from being asleep to the space between dreaming and awake and then into consciousness. It’s a slow process, but when you’re awake, there’s no mistaking it. There was no mistaking that it had been love.”

Jenny Han is a great writer. As much as this wasn’t one of my favourite series to read, she can write the perfect summer contemporary setting. Every time I picked up one of the books in the summer series, I wanted to be the teenage girl with the awesome summer beach house where I can spend the summer laying on the sand and swimming in the ocean, eating ice cream and BBQ to my heart’s content. Just because of the setting, I would still recommend this as a summer read. Well, the first one anyway.

The plot wasn’t that shocking to be honest. Belly and Jeremiah doing something irresponsible like wanting to get married as late teens after he kind-of-but-not-really cheated on her seems exactly in character. She never seems to think through decisions that much and he’s so idealistic.

The pacing wasn’t great. It felt like a lot of chapters started with “and it was two weeks since Conrad and I had that encounter.” Her life seemed to be told on a timeline of when her and Conrad had some kind of interaction. Or she had a thought about Conrad that was an obvious red light in terms of her relationship with Jeremiah.

Overall, if you want to read this book, go for it. After reading the trilogy, I can without a doubt say that if you only read The Summer I Turned Pretty and stop there, you would be good. The ending of the trilogy is the same as the first book, except We’ll Always Have Summer feels like such a cop out. And the ending is infinitely more rushed and unsatisfying. Just stick to pretending it’s a standalone, and you’re good to go.

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