Thursday, 21 April 2011
We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
5 Stars. (Young Adult)
I read through It's Not Summer Without You in 5 hours last night reading from 10:30 to 3am. Then I started We'll Always Have Summer. How could I not when I was desperate to know how these three turned out? It was such a treat to read these final 2 books in Jenny Han's Summer series.
There's not much else I can say about this book that I didn't mention in the previous review of book 2. It had the same emotional intensity, the same depth and the same moving moments that left me breathless. I really loved that Jenny Han made Belly's voice distinct in each story given that she ages through out the series - starting the book at 15 and ending at 24. Belly noticeably matured through out the series and yet she retained her Belly essence.
This book had the perfect ending for me. It worked out exactly as I'd hoped. I'll say no more because I don't want to spoil anything.
The only remarks I'll make is that I wished the story had been a little more focused on Cousins and the beach house and spending the summers there. As everything progressed I found myself missing the way things had been in the beginning, the first book especially; that feeling of endless summer when emotions and excitement fun high. When anything seems possible. This book focused heavily on the relationships of not just the three main characters but all the extended family and friends. I enjoyed that for sure, and it was necessary to develop the scope for the drama of this book and eventual climax, but I missed the simplicity of the original main cast - Belly, Jeremiah, Conrad and the mothers. I missed the memories they shared as kids and their overall innocence. The added cast felt right though, as all the kids were growing up and moving on. It was necessary to show this development.
Conrad was a delight to read in this book, even though I've really enjoyed his character all the way through - the broody ones are always much more interesting :p I could go on about him, but let's just say he's something special. He delivers the highest highs and the lowest lows, it takes a special guy to be able to do that!
Jeremiah really changed for me in this book. As I mentioned before, I never really thought much of him in the first book, he got more interesting for me in the second, although he still wasn't my favourite character. In the third he changed a lot...he wasn't the same carefree, easy Jere from times past. But the way he did change, for better or worse, seemed totally believable and appropriate for his character. I could totally see him acting in the selfish sometimes oblivious ways he did. I also bought the sweet silly side of him that sat right beside his negative attributes. It all seemed to fit.
I really appreciated how Han ensured her characters were all fully three dimensional. They all had sparkling, tender and really endearing qualities, but not one character was perfect. Each one had flaws, had made awful mistakes and tried to reconcile them. It worked and only went that much farther to making these characters stand out and leap from the page. I felt like I could have known each one of them in real life. I could have experienced all this with them.
We'll Always Have Summer was the perfect ending to a great series.