Wednesday 30 May 2012

Book Review: We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han.

Product details:
Publisher: Puffin.
Release date: May 3rd 2012.
ebook, 304 pages.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Ages: 12+
Series:  Summer #3
Other books in series: The Summer I Turned Pretty, It's Not Summer Without You.
Overall series rating: 4 out of 5.
Source: Purchased.

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.

Please note: This book is part of a series. There may be spoilers for previous books in the series in this review.

In We’ll Always Have Summer the conclusion to Jenny Han’s heart-warming, and sometimes heart-wrenching Summer series, eighteen-year-old Belly has to decide once and for all where her heart lies.  Will she choose Conrad, the boy she has loved all her life, but who never let her in to his, or his brother, Jeremiah, who has always been open and honest about his love for her?

We’ll Always Have Summer opens two years after the cliffhanger events of It’s Not Summer Without You, where Conrad let Belly leave his life.  We now find out that she went straight into the arms of his brother, where she’s been ever since, even going so far as to attend the same college as him. So maybe Belly has already made her choice.  In no way is her relationship with Jere just a substitute for what she had with Conrad.  She’s with Jere now, and she’s in love with him just as much as he’s always been in love with her.  They have the perfect relationship, and Conrad doesn’t enter the picture at all. Conrad, her first love, the boy she said she’d love forever, is no longer in her life. 

But just like his brother, the boy who had it and threw it all away, Jere’s not perfect.  He’s living college life to the full, and when he does the worst thing that a boy can do to a girl, when he breaks Belly’s heart, she has to decide if she can have him in her life anymore. Should she let him go for good, or should he be her forever guy?

We’ve seen Belly grow up, and while she’s sometimes a naïve girl who doesn’t make the best choices, she’s an endearing character too, and we want the best for her. As they have done throughout the series, Han’s expertly executed flashbacks will once again tug at your heartstrings here as Belly recounts summers past, and we recall all the years she’s spent at Cousins Beach with the boys, how once upon a time she could never imagine Jere as anything more than a friend, how it was always Conrad for her.  Surely that can’t be it for the two of them.  Surely Belly and Conrad can’t be done.

Conrad feels that way too. Finally, finally, we get to see inside this boys head as Han includes chapters from his point of view. Finally we get to see why he’s done some of things he’s done, why he pushed Belly away, why he can’t tell her he loves her still, that he’s always loved her, that he’s never loved anyone but her.  Conrad is a closed book, he protects his heart, he hides himself away from hurt, but he’s a special guy.  I get why some people might not get Conrad, why they might see him as a jerk, why they might not lose their heart to him. I get it.  But right from day one, it’s always been Conrad for me.  Jere is the easy choice.  He’s an outgoing, carefree, fun-loving guy.   What you see is what you get with him. With Conrad though, you have to work a little harder, you have to dig a little deeper to find out what makes him tick,  find out what makes him care so much.

Really, I could talk about Conrad all day long.  He’s a character of such multi-layers. I love how he cares.  Conrad cares more than anybody. He cares in his own way, and he might not always show it, he might not always let others see it, but it’s always there.

So, the choice is easy for me, but it's not so easy for Belly.  Will she stay with Jere, who she loves,  or will she choose Conrad, who might no longer be at the core of her day to day life, but who is never far from her mind, always in her heart.   I can’t tell you who she chooses, of course, but I will tell you that it’s not Cam Cameron. That guy does not make a comeback in this book!

 We’ll Always Have Summer was, for me, a wonderful read, with Han’s voice as always pitch perfect on every page. This  book has passages to bookmark, quotes to remember, and words to savour, words that will make you think, words that you won’t forget.   If you haven’t started on the Summer series by Jenny Han, what are you waiting for? These books are the ultimate summer reads. They are heartfelt, honest and true. They’ll make you tear up completely, and they’ll make you smile wide all day long.

What more could you ask for from a book?

US Paperback Bonus Material

The US Paperback of We'll Always Have Summer (April 2012, Simon & Schuster) includes some extra special bonus material in the form of Conrad's letters to Belly. Eeep!  Just a heads up for anyone who didn't know about this already. I need to read those letters!!


  1. Amazing review. I completely adore this trilogy and I'd definitely choose Conrad as well :)

  2. While the US cover is soft and pretty, I really love the pinks of this cover! I've heard such great things about these books, I need to give them a try don't I? I want to meet Belly and Conrad and Jere:)

  3. Great review! I actually was thinking about reading this one and your review made up my mind :) I will certainly pick this one up when I have some free time! 

  4. I've been hesitant to start this series because it always seemed to me like too much of a romance for me to really sink my teeth into. I'm glad that this isn't the case, and I think I'll have to add book one to start with as a summer read.

  5. Aw, this is such a lovely review, Leanna! It didn't resonate with me as much as it did with you but I did like this series. I really liked seeing from Conrad's POV too and want to get the paperback US edition for his letters too. Ultimate summer reads is right! 

  6. Brandileigh200331 May 2012 at 04:43

    This sounds so good, esp the way you describe him. Thanks for review. Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  7. Yes, yes, yes! Team Conrad all the way! This was by far my favourite book of the series and I'm glad you loved it too, fantastic review Leanna! - Jess Hearts Books

  8. I need to read those letters too! I must get my hands on a paperback copy. I am so glad you loved this book too and I feel the same way about Conrad- I could talk about him all day too. :)  Han is such an awesome author and I was so sad for this series to end. It definitely tugged on my heartstrings and you are right---this series is the ultimate summer read.  Great review, Leanna!

  9. Leanna, I have this series on my shelf! It's been sitting there forever.  I didn't read your whole review because I didn't want to spoil things but your last paragraph makes me excited to pick this up! :)

  10. This trilogy sounds great--I haven't seen it around, but I'll keep an eye out for it. I like both cover designs, but the pink one feels a little edgier.

  11. daisychainbooks4 June 2012 at 23:28

     It was a non-contest for me all through the series! :)

  12. daisychainbooks4 June 2012 at 23:29

     You so need to read these, Jenny! They are such great summer reads!

  13. daisychainbooks4 June 2012 at 23:30

     This series is definitely not all fluffy romance! There are darker themes too, especially in the second book.

  14. daisychainbooks4 June 2012 at 23:31

     It was my fave of the series too! Just perfect! :) p.s I am sending you that package this week!! x

  15. daisychainbooks4 June 2012 at 23:32

     Aw, I was so sad to say goodbye to the characters too. I thought this book was pretty much perfect (as is Second Chance  Summer which I just finished today--you will love that one!) I need to read Conrad's letters!!

  16. daisychainbooks4 June 2012 at 23:32

     Read the series! Perfect summer reading! :)

  17. Paula Duhnke Amatriain21 August 2014 at 21:17

    Where can I find Conrad's letters? Is there another option beside buying?


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