We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When I first met Belly, Jeremiah and Conrad I didn't like Belly. She was too raw and honest about her flaws. It made me uncomfortable. But the more I thought about it, the more authentic Jenny Han had created her. I remember the summer I turned pretty. I remember my summer boyfriend and he will always hold a special piece of my heart. I was also an awkward girl suddenly in a pretty teenager's body. A lot like Belly.
So here we are now at the end of Belly's freshman year at college. Conrad is absent, Jeremiah is in a frat house and he and Belly are still best friends who date. She's survived her first year of college and things are pretty good. She and Jere go to a frat party that is out of control. Someone spills a drink on her, she hunts down a bathroom and overhears Lacey talking about a foray she had with Jere in Cabo, when he and Belly were on a Rachel and Ross break. Belly freaks out and then Jere freaks out and tells her the truth.
Lots of crying, not speaking, texting, more crying and finally Jere is invited to Belly's room. He proposes. She accepts and then the drama really begins. They meet with opposition from parents (age and lack of education), no money, do the whole wedding prep, all that jazz. Con is strangely silent but a couple of chapters are written in his POV which adds a new dimension to Conrad. The story plays out the mother/daughter dynamics of wedding preparations, brother of groom who loves the bride dyanamics, and best friend dynamics. All uncomfortably accurate.
The problem I forsaw with this series is that, at some point, Belly would have to choose between brothers. I couldn't see a happy ending. Jenny Han does an exceptional job at playing out the relationships between all the parties. The ending is satisfying, a little bitter sweet but mostly happy. I didn't feel sad for any of the characters in the end. Okay, maybe a little bad but, like I said, it was satisfying.
Will it be Jeremiah? Conrad? Some stranger? You can find out on the very last page but you won't be satisfied unless you read the whole book. It's the journey that makes the story. Loved it.