I love Jenny Han’s books. In the same way that I occasionally (very occasionally) enjoy dancing around my room to One Direction, I like reading Jenny Han books because I know they will be unashamedly fluffy and light and full of feelgood fun. And in the same way that That’s What Makes You Beautiful never won an Ivor Novello Award, Jenny Han’s Summer books aren’t going to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
But do you know what? I so don’t care.
We’ll Always Have Summer is the third and concluding book in the series about Isabel ‘Belly’ Conklin and Jeremiah and Conrad, the two brothers she has loved since she was a little girl. Like the first two books, it’s set over the course of one summer. This time, Isabel is just about to finish her freshman year of college. She’s been dating Jeremiah since her senior year and although things aren’t always awesome (he can be kind of selfish and juvenile) generally they rub along like a house on fire.
Then Jeremiah reveals that when he and Belly were on a break he did something really, really bad and everything is thrown up in the air.
And I’ve gotta say, at this point the book took a bit of an odd turn.
I was on about page twenty when I looked, properly looked, at the cover. ‘Wait a sec,’ I thought. ‘Is that ... confetti?? Please, Jenny Han, please don’t try to get me to buy into a teen wedding.’ I’m so not a fan of teen weddings. It’s weird.
It was confetti. And she did try to get me to buy into a teen wedding.
Basically, Jeremiah thinks the best way of atoning for his screw-up is by asking Belly to marry him. Belly, even more astonishingly, accepts and from that point on the story explores Belly’s excitement and doubts about marrying (marrying!) Jeremiah and whether she might secretly still be in love with Conrad.
Literally everyone she knows asks whether it might not be a good idea to wait until she’s finished college. And her answer is no. Because when your boyfriend cheats on you, do you:
(a) Burn all his clothes on a bonfire?
(b) Cut his knackers off with a rusty pair of scissors?
(c) Dump him?
(d) Agree to marry him?
Obviously the answer is (d). What else would it be?
And the teen wedding/atonement marriage thing wasn’t the only odd thing Jenny Han asks us to buy into in this book. I was very sad to see Jeremiah, who, up until this point, had been painted as such a lovely, kind boy, basically become a dickwad. I was most unkeen on this turn of events.
Despite these reservations, I did enjoy this book. It was a perfect bit of fun for the drizzly, grey evenings we’ve been having for the last week or so and made me feel toasty inside. Jenny Han’s writing is just so lovely - it’s like the literary equivalent of eating toffee ice cream. And I did like finding out the resolution of the love triangle. I approved of the final resolution, as well.
All in all, I’d definitely recommend the Summer series - if you’re looking for a light, fun read, you can’t really go wrong.