Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's Not Summer Without You

Jenny Han

The sequel to The Summer I Turned Pretty is much darker than that first book in the series, which introduced readers to Belly and the two brothers vying for her affection.  It was inevitable, however, given the nature of where the first book ended.  If you haven't read The Summer I Turned Pretty, I recommend reading that before continuing, as I assume you have, and will spoil things.  Death is always a hard thing to deal with in novels, but Han does a great job handling it in her Summer books.  When Susannah's cancer returned at the end of the first book, it was shocking to everybody, and while we missed her actual death between novels, I felt it hit me just as hard witnessing the ramifications of her death and how it affected everyone in her life.  Susannah was a fully-realized character, as are all of Han's creations in these novels, and how different people delt with her death felt equally as real, as different as they were from one another.  With the death of a loved one hanging over this entire book like a black cloud, it can get pretty depressing, and go to dark places, but I think there's something hopeful in the way that Han handles it by the end.  During the course of the book, we learn that Susannah's husband plans to sell the beach house where Belly has spent every Summer of her entire life with loved ones, despite her son's wishes against such action.  It's a good idea for a sequel, the threat of losing this sanctuary, especially as a metaphor for the memories of Susannah they would lose along with its sale.  And in the end, I think it gives a charge of optimism and hope to the idea of death.  As for the choice between Conrad and Jeremiah that Belly has to make, well, the pendulum swings in another direction as relationships change, but who knows where she'll end up?  I'm glad that Han dealt with the fallout of Susannah's death and what that meant for the teenagers she left behind, as it was important to address, but I'm looking forward to a more lighthearted story with the final volume in the trilogy.

No comments:

Post a Comment