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 wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.
Having read many reviews lavishing endless praise on Han's sophomore novel, I went into this with extremely high expectations. And were they fulfilled? In a way they were, but in other ways they weren't.
The prose was lovely, each single phrase was beautiful to read. Han is an extremely talented writer so I'm now very eager to read the second novel in the trilogy. Her writing really did leave an impact.
Characterisation was near perfect- most characters were very realistically written, especially the protagonist, Belly. Whilst she was maybe a bit dull, all her actions and emotions were realistic apart from perhaps some regarding a particular character.
Everything the characters said, their actions, made them seem like real people. After reading the book I was just lying there, thinking about Belly and Conrad and Jeremiah and what would happen next. I don't remember the last time I thought about a group of characters as if they existed out of novels.
The setting was perfect and made the novel a true summer read. I loved the use of flashbacks and being able to see former interactions between Belly and the brothers, why she was so enamoured with Conrad.
To be honest, I didn't really understand Belly's attraction for Conrad. He was such a jerk to her for most of the book and even in the flashbacks, the things he did weren't particularly amazing. I don't think we were given a big enough insight into his character. A few more scenes between Conrad and Belly would have really helped to understand why she liked him so much.
All in all, it was a very quick, easy read with some realistically formed characters and beautiful prose.