I first read Jenny Han’s writing when I was in high school. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is one of my favorite books and last week when I was browsing at Target I came across a book that was a collection of another one of her series dubbed as the ‘Summer Series.’ I expected this series to be sort of romantic but more of a coming of age series. It was a mixture of both forsure and kept me super anxious and on my toes the whole time.
The series revolves around Belly and the beach house in Cousins and Conrad and Jeremiah. It’s about that and how intertwined her life is. She measures her years and experiences through her time at the beach house. It’s her mother’s best friend Susanna’s beach house, who is/was a second mother to her as well as Conrad and Jeremiah’s actual mom. Even though as the series goes on and her summer starts to change, her whole life seems to revolve around the time she spent at Cousins beach.
The firs book’s narrator is only Isabel ‘Belly’ Conklin. At the beginning of the series she’s still in highschool and is navigating her way through life. Her main concern at the time is wanting to be apart of the boys’ group. The group being her older brother Steven, Conrad, and Jeremiah. For as long as she can remember Belly has been in love with Conrad.
The second book alternates between Belly and Jeremiah a year after the first novel. The last book alternates between Belly and Conrad two years after the second novel. It’s a very sad part of Belly’s story. She has to do a lot of growing up and the main theme is to push and not give up even when times are rough. Belly does some growing up and has to realize that life won’t stay the same forever and makes some difficult choices. A major theme throughout the series is fate, and everything comes full circle by the end of the 3rd book.
Jenny Han KNOWS how to write a story with flow and great characters. I’ve read a total of 6 of her novels now, and every single one has managed to pull me in and get me to care about characters. I usually don’t care for novels that involve romance but Han’s writing style doesn’t overdo it and make it strictly about romance. She makes readers feel attached to her narrators and characters and I felt like I spent my summers at Cousins beach with them. Belly is a very stereotypical teenage narrator. She’s like the underdog in novels or the girl who doesn’t think she’s special but everyone else does. It was easy for me to get into the books and to stay engaged.
My favorite book in the series is probably the first or second one
I recommend it for anyone and everyone.