Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 276 paperback
My Rating: 3.5-4/5 stars
Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer–they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along. (Summary, courtesy of Goodreads.com)
I have been a nervous wreck trying to write this review! I honestly thought certain blogger people would track down my address, come to my home, and beat me up. This story was good, in fact it was really good but I just wasn’t feeling the love with it. SO many bloggers/readers/book nerds adore this story so I tried so very hard to love it just because I know how much others loved it but it just wasn’t happening for me.
At the beginning of the story I was extremely annoyed with the main character. Belly was whining or crying all the time and when she wasn’t doing that she was obsessing over a guy, Conrad, the oldest of the two brothers whom she shared a beach house with every summer. At first I thought Conrad was a stand-offish jerk who cared about no one but himself. I should also mention that there was a lot of confusion during the first point of the story. At one point the main character, Belly, would be a five year old and then out of nowhere she was thirteen. This last part was cleared up about 100 pages into the story when I finally noticed that the chapter headings told what age she was in that particular chapter. To say the least, the writing at the beginning of the story was a bit awkward and I had a hard time getting through it.
Now before anyone makes a rash decision to come end my life for not liking this book, hear me out. AFTER the first hundred pages or so, my views on the book changed dramatically. Belly became more mature, less whiny, and she really started to view her obsession with Conrad in a whole new light. Conrad, the object of Belly’s obsession, became a lot easier to like. His flirtatious comments and jealousy of Belly’s relationship with a new guy was totally cute. Although I was always rooting for Jeremiah, the younger, sweeter, friendlier of the two brothers, Conrad grew on my quite a bit. While the romance and the relationship between Belly and the two brothers, Conrad and Jeremiah, was a big part of the story, I found myself TOTALLY loving Belly’s relationship with Susannah, the boys’ mother. Belly has a pretty solid relationship with her mom but she is a teenager so she automatically thinks that her mom won’t understand a single thing that is why Belly confides in Susannah. She is understanding, strong-willed, easygoing, and completely lovable. I want someone like Susannah in my life so very badly because she seems to know exactly the right things to say at all the perfect times.
I also really like that this story was very beachy. I live in Michigan, the lake state, so I grew up by the water. I love stories that can depict beach scenes perfectly. Cousins Beach, whether it is a real place or not, sounds like it could quite possibly be the best place for a summer vacation!
Jenny Han did a wonderful job of mixing romance, beach scenes, some sad moments, and quite a few happy moments. While this story wasn’t THE BEST BOOK I’VE EVER READ, it was still pretty enjoyable.