The Summer I Turned Pretty – Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon and Schuster (US)
Release Date: 21st December 2010
Other Titles in the Series: It’s Not Summer Without You, We’ll Always Have Summer
Some summers are just destined to be pretty.
When each summer begins, Belly leaves her school life behind and escapes to Cousins Beach, the place she has spent every summer of her life. Not only does the beach house mean home away from home, but her favourite people are there: Susannah, her mother’s best friend, and her sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. Belly has been chasing Conrad for as long as she can remember, and more than anything, she hopes this summer will be different. Despite distractions from a guy named Cam and lingering looks from Conrad’s brother, Jeremiah, Belly’s heart belongs to Conrad. Will he offer his to her? Will this be the summer that changes everything?
I had heard endless good things about Jenny Han’s Summer trilogy so when I decided to do Contemp YA Month, I knew I couldn’t let it pass without reading The Summer I Turned Pretty. Boy, am I glad I didn’t.
This novel caused me much indecision. You see, there was a love quadrangle. I can’t remember the last time I came across one of those. There is Cam who is sweet, if a little bland; Jeremiah who is one of her best friends and worships the ground Belly walks on; and then there’s Conrad, the moody, bad boy who Belly’s loved since she can remember. Cam never really came into the picture for me, I felt he was kind of a stepping stone to getting one of the brothers, if I’m honest. At first I was all in favour of Conrad, then in the middle I was cheering for Jeremiah and then I switched back to Conrad. But by the end...I just couldn’t decide. Both boys, while very different, are brilliant YA heroes.
There was a lot more to The Summer I Turned Pretty than the love story, though and I have to admit that I wasn’t really expecting there to be. There are family problems for both Belly and the boys, a rather serious and dramatic issue that I won’t go into as I want it to surprise new readers like it did me and the changing of friendships as you grow older. I think that there’s something in this novel that every teenage girl, and everyone can remember being a teenage girl, can relate to.
Another of my favourite elements of The Summer I Turned Pretty is the flashback chapters. I loved how each was related to the current-time chapter that came before or after it. They were very nicely done. They didn’t feel thrown in at all; they were completely natural. I also liked how Belly’s age at each of the flashbacks was stated at the beginning of the chapter. Not knowing a characters age at a certain point, or in a novel in general, is something that really gets on my nerves so I was very pleased to have that given out immediately.
I loved The Summer I Turned Pretty and I’m now eagerly waiting for my copy of It’s Not Summer Without You to come through my letterbox.
I purchased a copy of this book myself.