I've just read this entire series in the past 24hrs and have really enjoyed it! I'm glad I had all three to read because I don't think I could've stood it if I had to wait years to find out what happened. They tell a story of lifelong friendships, first loves, heartbreak, loss and the strength of family bonds.
In Book 1, "The Summer I Turned Pretty", we meet 15 yr old Belly Conklin (real name Isabel), her brother Steven and their friends Conrad and Jeremiah Fisher. They spend every summer together at the Fisher's beach house at Cousins Beach with their Mom's, Laurel and Susannah "Beck" Fisher who are lifelong friends.
Belly, having grown up with "Beck's" boys has always been plagued by being the "little sister". They've teased her, picked on her, done all the things that big brothers do and she's certainly done her fair share of annoying things to them, like being a tattletale or pouting just to get her way. The boys have always been close, like a club and have only allowed Belly a certain amount of access. All that's about to change this summer when she shows up and they see for themselves that little Belly Button isn't a kid anymore...she looks like a real live girl. Watch out boys!
Steven, Belly's older brother is the epitome of "big brother". He's just the right balance of annoying and protectiveness. He notices that his little sister has changed (which totally grosses him out) but at the same time he still wants to be sure she's OK. He goes home early this summer so he can visit colleges with his Dad, leaving Belly, Conrad and Jeremiah to fend for themselves which creates an interesting predicament.
Jeremiah Fisher, (the youngest Fisher boy), is the closet in age to Belly and they're best friends. He's the funny, out going one, the kid that everyone loves to have around, the life of the party. He's also pretty cute.
Conrad Fisher, the oldest of the group is more reserved, brooding almost and is the one boy that Belly has been in love with for as long as she can remember. (sigh) He too, is also pretty hawt. When she thinks about her "forever" she thinks of Conrad. The only problem? He doesn't notice her, he never has, not any more than just plain old Belly. At least, not until this summer...
Laurel and Susannah have known each other forever and have been through the thick and thin of it as friends. They've been coming to the beach house every summer since before they even had the kids and are like second mother's to each other's children. Susannah jokes that Belly was born just so she could marry one of her Fisher boys and she would be happy with whomever Belly ended up with. Susannah has a secret though, one that will forever change things at Cousins Beach.
Summer ends an there's both a new beginning and an ending in sight that will only add to the changes they've all experienced this year.
In Book 2, "It's Not Summer Without You", we find 16yr old Belly in between her Junior and Senior year of high school but she's not spending her summer at Cousin's Beach like she's done every year of her life. Instead, she's at home. Things have changed over the past winter and leaving Belly hurt, confused and nursing a broken heart.
The only place that's ever felt like "home" to her is the beach house, but now she doesn't know if she'll ever return. She finally finds her way back when Jeremiah calls needing her help with Conrad. Knowing it might be the last summer the three of them share together at Cousins Beach, she's willing to do whatever she has to, to make things right again.
We get to see and read from Jeremiah's perspective in this one which is a nice change. It doesn't seem as one sided and it's always nice to know what's going on inside the mind of a cute boy.
In Book 3, "We'll Always Have Summer", we find Belly a few years down the road and in college. She's in love and happy or so she seems. Is it possible to love two people at the same time though? Truly love them? Belly, or Isabel as she goes by now, thinks it is. She hardly thinks about the boy who shattered her heart. The boy she's loved since she was ten years old, mainly because she's with his brother now and she knows he would never hurt her. Or would he?
I especially enjoyed this book because we were treated to Conrad's point of view for several chapters which only raised his hotness factor, not to mention the romantic tension.
In this final chapter of this trilogy which is full of emotion right up to the very last page. I was having trouble reading at the end because I wasn't sure I was gonna like how it ended. But I did. (So. loved. it. sniff. sniff.) We see hearts betrayed, trusts broken, feelings revealed and tough decisions made and past ones explained. Oh yeah, did I mention that there are two weddings planned?! T-W-O!
You'll have to read the book to find out whose marrying who though and if Susannah's prediction was correct.