We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
Published: April 1st, 2011 (Simon & Schuster)
Series: Summer, #3
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Note: this is not the first book in a series, and can therefore contain (minor) spoilers for the previous book(s) in the series. Reading of this review is at your own risk.
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.
This review contains spoilers
Both The Summer I Turned Pretty and It's Not Summer Without You were fantastic books. I loved how they combined the feel of summer and the beach with serious issues like illness, death, family problems. This book feels like a book from a completely different series, even though the characters are the same, at least in name.
While this book is set two years after the second book, I wan't expecting Belly and Jeremiah's urge to "act like grownups". I'm not even taking that seriously, because everyone reading these books can tell it just doesn't feel right. They are rushing their relationship, trying to cover up mishaps and at the same time they're trying to prove to their families and friends that they really are grown up people. Wrong.
My main problem with this book was that it felt like the reader was steered towards a particular idea. I don't like that. I want to make up my own decisions, thank you very much. Jeremiah had gotten a complete personality transplant in this book and I honestly didn't recognise him in this story. Meanwhile, Conrad had also had also had a personality transplant and went from arsehole to saint. What I loved about the two previous books was that even though there was a love triangle, there wasn't any pressure in the story to root for a particular person. In this book, there was. And I hated that. I felt like I was made into disliking characters and liking other characters because their descriptions basically demanded that. When I read on, I started realising that everybody who didn't agree with Belly was made to look like an idiot. I mean, why? I am perfectly capable of making up my own mind about who is an idiot. I don't need to be pushed into a particular direction for that.
One of the reasons I loved the previous books was because I loved the combination of beachy, summery reads with serious issues. This book lost all of the beachy summery stuff and because of that, it felt like it wasn't part of the same series. When I look at the reviews on Goodreads I seem to be one of the few people who feels this way -- but I just can't ignore this bad feeling I took away from reading this book.
The conclusion/climax of We'll Always Have Summer was cheesy and predictable and to be honest, if I add everything up, I have to say that this book completely downgraded the series for me. I loved the first two, but this last installment left me so incredibly frustrated. I couldn't believe what I had read. Was this really the end to a fantastic series, one that I held among my favourites while I was reading them? Why, yes, it appears it was. Needless to say, the Summer series isn't one of my favourites anymore.