***My book review may contain spoilers.***
The writing style made this book a fast read. The only reason I couldn’t read it faster is because of a time issue on my end. The overall story was okay. I liked it. But it didn’t really captivate my attention as much as it could’ve, especially considering it’s Jenny Han and I love Jenny Han. I hope reading the rest of the series will bring more maturity to Belly. Which was one of my biggest pet peeves of the whole story. The character’s name.
I get the cuteness of it. Belly. The whole story in how she got her nickname. But I’m over here just completely hating it and annoyed by it and thinking, “What’s her real name?” It’s escaped me. Completely. So completely, I’m googling it right now……oh…it’s Isabel. Okay. I’ll refer Belly to Isabel from now on because again, I HATED THE NICKNAME. Or maybe it was the character. She was very self-absorbed in my opinion in this one. But then again, most teenagers are so I won’t hold it against her.
Isabel and her brother Steven always go to a summer house with their mom to meet her best friend/her best friend’s kids who both happen to be boys of similar age to Isabel and Steven. Their names were Conrad and Jeremiah. So of course Isabel grew up with crushes on both of them (An unexpected plot twist would have been if her brother was gay and also was crushing on them both but clearly that didn’t happen). The number of flip flopping she did in regards to the two of them was evident in the entire story, and was addressed by other characters numerous times. The story was told in flashbacks and present day. In the present day, a new boy was introduced, so it became a love square of some sort, but let’s be real, this kid was a footnote (Sorry Cam. You may have noticed her in eighth grade, but Conrad and Jeremiah have noticed her since she was in diapers soooo….)
Conrad was quite a character. Very moody. You could tell something was going on with him. Both Conrad and Jeremiah were hiding a secret about their mom, knowing she was sick, even though she hadn’t told them yet. So it was clear from early summer that Conrad was hurting. Jeremiah was sweet and caring to Isabel. Conrad was such a jerk. But it’s clear to all of us as readers that they both were crushing on “Belly.” Yes, Conrad, please call her “Bells.” That’s a better nickname. Please bring more of this in the future.
Towards the end of the book, Belly realizes she’s self absorbed once she finds out Susannah (the boys’ mom) had cancer again. Let’s just gloss over the fact that she’s such a be-yotch to her mom and there’s no apologies at all towards her in the entire book, not even when she found out her mom bought her the dress she wanted, and not Susannah who she thought she did the whole time. Susannah doesn’t die in this book, but I believe that’s coming in the impending future.
Isabel had to make a choice between Conrad and Jeremiah. The reason being, Jeremiah professed his love to her, and she decides that it’s always been Conrad. Even though she’s flip flopped her whole life. That’s going to bite her in the ass later. Most probably. She tells Jeremiah she picked Conrad, and then goes off to profess her love. Of course, Conrad rejects her. Then when he out moping about his mom, she goes to comfort him, and by doing this, she decides to kiss him to comfort him. Worst moment ever. I cannot. That’s how the first Conrad and Isabel kiss is gonna go? Ooookay. But then again, Jeremiah’s and Isabel’s first kiss was during Truth or Dare. Soooo…
Which brings me to another point. Isabel had brought her best friend Taylor to the house one summer and Taylor flip flopped between all the guys and told Isabel to address who she really liked. Isabel wouldn’t say anything. Then finds out Taylor’s flip flopping also included her brother and then their relationship was strained ever since. Because she was flip flopping? …….You’re doing the same Belly, you’re doing the same. Because there’s three involved, it makes all the difference? It’s prob because she cared about all three of them too (brotherly caring for her brother clearly). But all I know is, it’s the pot calling the kettle black. At least she didn’t drop Taylor but I did not like how that situation was handled at all. There was no official attachments to anyone AND Isabel couldn’t even make up her mind back then either. The quote of this entire friendship for the reason why she didn’t drop her:“It’s hard to throw away history. It was like you were throwing away a part of yourself.” I agree with this quote. I just hate what it was put behind.
I wish I saw more of the mothers and their friendship. I know it was based on Belly and her shenanigans but it would have been a nice touch. It would have made the finding out about Susannah having cancer again more emotional for me. When they recited Susannah’s poem, it was a nice touch. “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)/it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”
I didn’t get any feels with this book. It was very typical love triangle-esque story for me. From reading this, I pick Conrad. Only because I like damaged, hard to love, unattainable, unavailable, whatever vibes he was throwing at me. I’m a sucker for those.
Overall, it was an okay book. Fast read. I imagine the whole series is.
My Star Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars
Read From January 24, 2018 to February 7, 2018 (14 Days)