It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han | Summary, Themes & Analysis

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Jenny Han is the author of the young adult book “It’s Not Summer Without You.” It was released in 2010 and is the second book in the “Summer” series. Three boyhood friends who spend their summers together at a seaside home in Cousins Beach, Connecticut, are the subjects of the book: Belly, Conrad, and Jeremiah. The main characters, storyline, themes, and style of the book will all be covered in length in this description.

About the Book (It’s Not Summer Without You)

TitleIt’s Not Summer Without You
AuthorJenny Han
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication DateApril 27, 2010
SeriesThe Summer Trilogy (Book 2)
Pages288 pages
POVFirst-person (Belly’s perspective)
SettingA beach house in Cousins Beach, a fictional town on the East Coast of the United States
ProtagonistBelly (Isabel) Conklin, a sixteen-year-old girl who spends every summer at her family’s beach house with her mother and brother, and her mother’s best friend’s two sons, Conrad and Jeremiah


Belly – The protagonist of the narrative is a sixteen-year-old girl by the name of Belly. She spends the summers in Cousins Beach with her mother and brother at their beach cottage. Belly has always been interested in Conrad, one of the sons of the owners of the beach home, and she is devastated when he breaks her heart.

Conrad – The owner’s elder brother and a gloomy, brooding individual.

Jeremiah – Conrad’s younger brother, friendlier and fun-loving. Despite having a long-standing crush on Belly, he is afraid to admit it.

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Summary (It’s Not Summer Without You)

Conrad and Jeremiah Fisher were Belly Conklin’s childhood friends. Belly, her mother, and her elder brother, Steven, have spent every summer at Susannah’s home in Cousins Beach since Susannah and their mothers have been lifetime best friends.

Yet, everything is different this summer. In May, Susannah passed away from cancer, leaving her friends and family in sorrow. Given that she hasn’t spoken to Jeremiah much since Susannah’s burial and that her relationship with her ex-boyfriend Conrad is getting worse, Belly feels as like she has lost the entire Fisher family, not just Susannah.

From the time she was a young girl, Belly has loved Conrad. The previous summer, they had finally started dating, but during Susannah’s burial, they had fought. Conrad was in the basement, laying his head on a girl’s lap, when Belly went to locate him after the burial. Belly recollects that the beach house was crowded with people at the time.

Even though Belly and Conrad had previously broken up romantically, the sight of him being consoled by another female made her enraged. The girl was Conrad’s ex-girlfriend Aubrey. When Belly was instructed by Conrad to mature, she yelled at him. Afterwards he declared that she is so immature that he was mistaken to ever begin a connection with her. She claimed to despise him, and the two parted ways amicably.

In July, Belly is still grieving Susannah’s death but carrying on with daily activities. But then Jeremiah calls her. Conrad missed two days of college and skipped his summer classes. To assist him in his search for Conrad, Jeremiah wants Belly to accompany him on a road trip. The stomach concurs.

From Jeremiah’s perspective, he remembers how much Belly had changed the summer before. She appeared at the summerhouse all of a sudden attractive and mature, and despite the fact that she only had eyes for Conrad, he started to think romantically of her. He was upset that she would pick Conrad over him and even more so that Conrad had suddenly shown interest in Belly after years of ignoring her.

Belly misleads her mother by saying that she would be spending a day or two at the home of her best friend Taylor. After picking her up, Jeremiah takes her to Conrad’s college so they may ask his roommate about his absence. Jeremiah remarks on Belly’s prom pictures with Conrad.

Conrad drove down from college to go to prom with her the previous spring, and Belly wonders how Jeremiah knew this. Belly is reminded of her catastrophic prom with Conrad as a result of this. He looked terrible the entire night, wouldn’t dance or make conversation, and wouldn’t engage in any of the romantic prom activities she had imagined. She had to coerce him into going with her. He had a cold emotional distance. Belly understood that he had only gone to her prom at his mother’s insistence. Belly had crushed her heart by telling Conrad that their love was ended.

They find out he’s gone to the beach home. They need to find him is urgent. He will flunk the summer term if he doesn’t show up for his tests on Monday.

Belly remembers that Conrad had traveled for hours only to see her for Christmas. He stopped in front of her house and she rushed outside to get in the car with him. He drove her to the beach home at Cousins Beach, where they spent the night. That was Belly’s most romantic night ever, despite the fact that they simply shared a kiss.

In the beach home, Jeremiah and Belly make an effort to persuade Conrad to go back to school. He is adamant that he is staying at the beach home. Belly and Jeremiah spend the night so they may carry on their argumentation the next day.

Belly is pleased to be back at the seaside home where she had so many childhood memories despite her contact with Conrad being uncomfortable and unpleasant. The home is visited by Mr. Fisher’s real estate agent the next day. Belly understands that Conrad didn’t travel to the summerhouse to avoid his exams and run away from his difficulties when he sends the woman away and tells her that the house won’t be put up for sale after all. Instead, he came to stop his father, who was out of touch, from selling his mother’s favorite spot.

Conrad rejects his father’s proposal to sell the beach house and invites Mr. Fisher over to talk to him. Despite Conrad’s opposition, Mr. Fisher declares that the home will be sold before leaving. Jeremiah plans to buy wine and have a party if it’s his last night at the beach house. Jeremiah challenges Belly to kiss him as they consume wine before the party. When she merely gives him a cheek kiss, he expresses obvious disappointment.

When guests begin to arrive for the party, Belly starts to consume more alcohol. Conrad prohibits Jeremiah and Belly from swimming in the water because he believes Belly is inebriated. Belly storms out of the house and approaches the water in a fit of rage at Conrad. She seizes a bottle of tequila from Conrad’s hand and sips it straight when he pursues her.

She challenges him to stop her from swimming. She screams at him and begs to be set down as he scoops her up and brings her away from the water. She sobs and apologies for mistreating him on the day of his mother’s burial after he drops her on the sand.

She returns home after receiving forgiveness from Conrad. Belly phones her mother, Laurel, asking for aid in preventing Mr. Fisher from selling the property while completely drunk and upset at the fact that Conrad hasn’t chosen to resume a romantic connection with her.

The following morning, when Laurel gets to the beach house, she is angry because Belly lied about sleeping at Taylor’s home. Belly angrily rejects Laurel’s demand that they leave and insists on preserving Susannah’s home. She claims Susannah would never forgive Laurel for allowing the Fisher boys to lose their beach house and that she wishes Susannah were her mother rather than Laurel.

With the final statement, Laurel slaps Belly. She immediately expresses regret for the slap as well as for being away from Belly’s childhood due to the loss of Susannah. Laurel makes a commitment to defend the boys’ house.

Mr. Fisher is invited to the beach home by Laurel, who persuades him to abandon the property so the lads can use it. Conrad must go back to summer school and pass all of his final tests in order for Mr. Fisher to agree to not selling the home.

Conrad receives all-night study assistance from Jeremiah and Belly after they set up a workspace at the beach home. The following morning, Belly sobs as Conrad, Jeremiah, and she leave the beach home. Belly says that leaving the place seems like losing Susannah all over again.

When Conrad drives to his institution to take his examinations, Belly and Jeremiah have a heart-to-heart conversation. After his mother’s burial, Jeremiah wonders why Belly never visited him. She says she should have come and apologizes. Belly queries Jeremiah on if Conrad ever thinks about or misses her. She continues to be attached to Conrad, which irritates Jeremiah to the point that he kisses her. Belly gives him a kiss in response as he declares that he still likes her.

Conrad finishes his last exam and finds his brother and Belly kissing in the car. When he runs away angrily and Belly runs after him. She and Conrad exchange some tense words, but even though he’s jealous, he won’t actually say that he loves her. Belly realizes that she should choose the brother who will say what he really thinks instead of always hiding his true feelings. Conrad tells her that he never wanted her.

The three of them silently make their way toward Belly’s house that evening. They are forced to stop at a motel and spend the night there due to a heavy downpour. As soon as Jeremiah nods out, Conrad tells Belly in a hushed voice that he was lying about never wanting her. He nods out, and when Belly awakens the next morning, he informs her that Jeremiah will take her up from the hotel and that a buddy is coming to pick him up.

In the end of Belly understands that their relationship is finally coming to an end and that Conrad will never be able to show her the kind of love she desires. Belly clutches Jeremiah’s hand as he drives her home, feeling pleased and at peace with her decision.


Love and Loss – The novel addresses the themes of love and grief against the backdrop of the characters interactions with one another and the beach house. The focus of the book is Belly’s adoration of Conrad and her growing fondness for Jeremiah.

Family – The beach house and the residents’ shared recollections of prior summers are major themes in the book. The characters’ family structure is complicated because of the strained relationship between Conrad and Jeremiah and Belly’s mixed feelings for both of them.

Identity – Belly is having a hard time defining who she is as she matures and starts to interact with new people. She is unclear of who she wants to be or what she wants out of life since she is divided between her love for Conrad and her developing feelings for Jeremiah.


From Belly’s point of view, the novel is written in the first person. With a concentration on speech and character interaction, the aesthetic is uncomplicated and direct. With a few artistic flourishes here and there, the language is understandable and simple to read. The tale advances swiftly since the chapters are brief and the tempo is rapid. The book is primarily written for a teenage readership and sensitively and accurately reflects the feelings and experiences of adolescence.

Han employs pictures to convey a sense of longing and nostalgia throughout the entire novel. The characters’ recollections of previous summers are well detailed, as are the beach home and the beach itself. Belly and Conrad’s sadness is compared as a storm that rages within them, further evoking the sense of loss and grieving that permeates the whole novel.

Also, the novel addresses serious issues including alcoholism, sadness and death. Han treats these subjects with tact and candor, never downplaying the characters’ reactions to these events on an emotional level. The book is a moving examination of the complexity of love and loss as well as the pleasures and pains of maturing.


“It’s Not Summer Without You” is a beautiful and emotionally resonant novel that captures the experience of adolescence with accuracy and sensitivity. The characters are well-drawn and complex, and their relationships with each other are explored with depth and nuance. The themes of love and loss, family, and identity are explored with honesty and insight, making the book a poignant and moving read.

About the Author – Jenny Han

NameJenny Han
BornSeptember 3, 1980 (Richmond, Virginia, USA)
GenreYoung adult fiction, romance, contemporary fiction
Notable WorksTo All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2014)
Awards– 2015 Cybils Award for Young Adult Fiction (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before) <br> – 2015 ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before) <br> – 2017 Goodreads Choice Award for Young Adult Fiction (Always and Forever, Lara Jean)

FAQs for “It’s not summer without you”

What is “It’s Not Summer Without You” about?

A young adult book called “It’s Not Summer Without You” tells the tale of Belly, a teenage girl who spends every summer at a seaside home with her mother, brother, and family friends Conrad and Jeremiah. Belly’s relationships with the boys are examined in the book along with how they develop over the course of the summer.

Who is the main character in “It’s Not Summer Without You”?

The main character in “It’s Not Summer Without You” is Belly.

Is “It’s Not Summer Without You” a sequel?

Absolutely, “It’s Not Summer Without You” is the second installment in Jenny Han’s “Summer” series, after “The Summer I Became Beautiful.”

Is “It’s Not Summer Without You” a good read?

Readers and reviewers have given “It’s Not Summer Without You” favorable feedback and it is regarded as a touching and moving book. But since preferences can vary, it is advised to read reviews and sample chapters before making a choice.

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