Well I picked up this audio CD without knowing it was a 2nd in a series. That’s OK, I like Jenny Han and I caught on. It’s a story about loss and how one moves on from loss. In this case it’s our narrator, Belly (guess I should have read the first of the Summer series to know why her nickname is ‘Belly’). Anyway, her pseudo aunt has died and left many heartbroken, but she is also recovering from the breakup with Conrad, Suzanne’s son, and summertime childhood friend turned fling after many years.
A good amount of teenage questioning occurs such as how, as we age relationships change. Conrad struggles with the loss of his mom and turns everyone away, while his brother Jeremiah is happy to rekindle his old friendships – especially when Conrad disappears for a few days. The kids have an unrealistic few days at the summer “Cousins” beach house (unsupervised), but it’s a nice coming of age / grieving / growing up that any teen reader will enjoy due to those days of freedom.
What is significant in this novel which deals with death is that the question of how one grieves is brought up numerous times. Sometimes even to question whose grief is more important than other person’s grief – the sons, the best friend, the ex-husband? How everyone reacts to death is different not only based on the relationship, but based on each individual, and Belly finds out that its not whose grief that is most important, but that it is dealt with properly in a way to heal and move on.
Still, I prefer (and loved) To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before also by Jenny Han, which also offers a great coming of age story, but a bit more comical.
The ending though totally makes me want to read the third book – it’s years later and Belly runs out on her own wedding…..what!?!
Series: The Summer I turned Pretty