My Thoughts: Well, other than the enormous, gigantic, all-encompassing sadface that I wore throughout every single page (YOU KNOW WHY!), I enjoyed this book more than the first one.
Published: Simon & Schuster (April 27, 2010)
Series: Book 2 of 3
Source: I purchased this book
GoodReads Summary: Can summer be truly summer without Cousins Beach?
It used to be that Belly counted the days until summer, until she was back at Cousins Beach with Conrad and Jeremiah. But not this year. Not after Susannah got sick again and Conrad stopped caring. Everything that was right and good has fallen apart, leaving Belly wishing summer would never come.
But when Jeremiah calls saying Conrad has disappeared, Belly knows what she must do to make things right again. And it can only happen back at the beach house, the three of them together, the way things used to be. If this summer really and truly is the last summer, it should end the way it started--at Cousins Beach.
Belly and the boys are growing up and dealing with something that was forshadowed and inevitable. It's hard. I hated reading about it and my soul felt a little bit empty after that first paragraph of the entire book. Way to drop a freaking bomb, Jenny Han. But, as morbid as it sounds, some of my favorite books contain characters adjusting to and healing from grief. And holy heck, I can't think of a more massive kind of grief than this.
Belly stays true to her annoying, yet lovable, self as she tries to adjust without 2 of the major focal points of her affection. But she's womaned up a little bit in this book and I am a lover of quality character development. Similar to The Summer I Turned Pretty, Belly tells her story in real time and flashbacks. Her heartbreak feels so real, you cannot help but want to reach into the pages and hug her as everything is seemingly being ripped away from her.
One of my favorite parts of this novel is that we finally get to see more of Laurel and the relationship that she has with Belly, Conrad, and Jeremiah. (By the way, I totally missed Steven in this book!) They were a legit family, even though tragedy and growing up and apart has put a damper on the idea of summer at Cousins.
The end, though not ENTIRELY shocking, was a pleasant surprise. I couldn't believe how accepting I was of this new development and how eager I was to find out what happens next. The more time that passes, the more I love this series.