Ruby's Reviews > We'll Always Have Summer

We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
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's review
Jun 26, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: teen

** spoiler alert ** This review was first posted on

A large part of one's enjoyment of a series is based on the enjoyment of the characters. At least, this is the case for me. Plot, and a romantic element are additional requirements, but the truth is, if I don't like the characters even those won't be enough to win me over. The truth of this statement is exponentially compounded when the story is told in first person narration. If you're familiar with this series, you already know that the first books is entirely first person perspective from Belly's POV. Book two alternates between Belly and Jeremiah's perspective and the last book finally gives readers insight into Conrad's mind. And continues with Belly's, of course.
The thing is, if you held a gun to my head right now and demanded that I tell you which of this cast of three I liked best...I'd be hard pressed to tell you. Should I name self-absorbed Belly? Conrad, who jerks everyone around and generally acts like a jackwagon? Or Jeremiah, whose inferiority complex is the size Texas, Alaska and Canada combined? What about Susanna, Conrad and Jeremiah's deceased and practically canonized mother who, with the power only dying parents can wield, conspired to make things as messed up as possible between her two sons and Belly? My feelings for these characters couldn't be described as dislike--frustration fits better.
I couldn't stomach Belly because it was clear to me that she never, ever, got over her feelings for Conrad. Jeremiah (and anyone else) would always, always be second best. I almost didn't blame him for cheating on her (but I can't, really) because I suspect that Jeremiah always knew that she was with him by default. She was with the brother she could have--because the one she wanted had refused her. Blech.
Conrad, on the other hand, spends most of the books being emotionally abusive. True, he has reason to be in agony. But--honestly--talk about the road to jerkhood being paved with "good" intentions. Whatever. I hate it when a character's bad behavior is "excused" by some higher purpose. My ultimate feelings about Conrad were that he was far too immature to deal with any of the stuff that was on his plate--and I kind of blame his mother for putting the pressure on him. It was like she handed Conrad a fifty pound sack of potatoes and said, "Promise me you'll carry this on your back for the rest of your life." What was he supposed to say? "How about if I carry it for, like, a week?" Um, not to your dying mom, he can't.
When it comes down to it, "Immature" is the word that best illustrates all three of these characters. And while I found it excusable in The Summer I Turned Pretty, I expected some growth by the time we got to book three. I think this is a trilogy that I would have preferred to end after the first volume. After that, things just fell apart and I felt less inclined to support/care for the characters and I had even less interest in the love triangle. It was sordid, not intriguing.

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