The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Series: Summer, #1
Publication: May 5, 2009 by Simon & Schuster
(279 pages, hardcover)
Summary: 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.
My thoughts: I finished The Summer I Turned Pretty in one day; and not because it was fast or short, but because it was that good. Summer reads tend to be hit or miss (at least for me), and this one was definitely a hit. I know I'm one of the last people to read this, and I'm really sorry I waited so long. The characters were realistic, the scenario was beautiful, the feeling was nostalgic, and I'm just dying to get my hands on the second one!
Belly has always spent her winters pining for summer, and her summers with Jeremiah, Conrad, and Susannah. Conrad has always been her crush, and despite his seeming indifference, this summer hasn't turned out to be much different from all the others. Well, until everything changes and suddenly nothing is the same as before. And Belly wishes more than anything that it could be like before, even though she's always wanted things to change. Belly was a really easily relatable character; everyone has wished for things to change and then wanted to change them back. And the story was not only spectacular and surprising, but sweet, funny, and honest.
I have to admit; I've fallen partially in love with Jeremiah. But Conrad stole a bit of my heart too. Both boys were so different and special in their own ways. They were both three-dimensional and I loved each one, just like Belly. It was one of those books where not a ton happens plot-wise. I can't say I was taken completely off-guard by what happens, but I was happy with how everything fell into place. Susannah was my favorite character though; obviously she wasn't as perfect as Belly wanted and thought her to be, but she was always there for her boys and Belly, even when it was even more difficult for her.
My complaints were all relatively small, except one: it seemed like Han wasted a lot of time having Belly get to know characters who weren't vital to the plot. i don't want to ruin it for anyone who hasn't read it yet, but there just seemed to be a lot of extra pages about how Belly spends all of her time with a guy who, while I didn't dislike him, just wasn't as key to everything falling in place as Jeremiah or Conrad. I would've preferred if some of that time had been spent on her relationships with the other main characters instead. It was one of those books where not a ton happens plot-wise. I can't say I was taken completely off-guard by what happens, but I was happy with how everything fell into place.
My favorite part of the novel was probably how much I could relate to Belly. All of her emotions (even the unjustified ones) felt real and whole. She was a three-dimensional character, and one that i can't wait to read more about. I also really enjoyed the writing; it wasn't anything special, just what the book need. Han does a great job in revealing the key moments in summers past. I loved how summer was the only part of the year mentioned: it made the book flow well. The Summer I Turned Pretty is a romantic, cute, honest read that had me longing for the beach and my own summer family.
Covering the Cover: Still not a fan of faces on novels, but I like the lighter colors they used. The book's cover fits the story inside well.
Overall Rating: 4.5 stars