{Book Review} The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

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{Book Review}  The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny HanThe Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Simon and Schuster on December 21st 2010
Genres: Adolescence, Family, Friendship, General, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 304
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.

Isabel Conklin, Belly to everyone, lives for summer—her entire life revolves around jumping in the car, the windows rolled down, and riding to Cousins. Cousins Beach is where the Fishers are. Susannah, her mother’s best friend, and her boys, Conrad and Jeremiah, are Belly’s favorite people and even when she’s not in Cousins, they’re always on her mind. Things have changed for Belly since last summer, and everyone is looking at her differently; the boys are acting differently around her, she is attracting the attention of people who’ve ignored her for years. Even though her heart has always belonged to Conrad, she can’t ignore the lingering looks from Jeremiah and the new boy, Cam, who is showing her wanted attention. Belly soon realizes that this will be the summer that changes everything.

“Life would be different. And that summer, it finally was. I was.”

The book traveled through, what she fears will be her last, summer at Cousins, but also traveled to her past summers with the boys. By going through her varying ages at Cousins, it was easy to pinpoint the stages in her life that contributed to the person that Belly would become.

When I first met the Fisher brothers it was difficult for me to decide which one I loved the most. They are both infinitesimally different from one another, and their differing characteristics play essential roles in the emotional turmoil that Belly experienced throughout the novel. Jeremiah was the hilarious, comforting type and it was nearly impossible not to fall in love with him instantly. Whereas Conrad was presented as the brother who had it all, he brooding exterior through this particular summer added something new, which I had mixed emotions about at some moments. Both of the brothers had lovable and undesirable attributes, however, but Belly’s love for them—even though it differed for each brother—stays strong even through their hardest of times.

“Moments, when lost can’t be found again. They’re just gone.”

Belly had always been used to being the youngest and only girl of the group. Since the book is told in her perspective, everything she thought is written down on the pages; even the things that she herself admits that she would have liked to forget. I found her character very relatable, even at her most irritating of times. Whether most teenage girls admit it or not, at one point or another, the teenage angst-ridden thoughts have passed through her brain at least once. Belly was more open about the person that she was and the way she felt about everyone involved in her life. With Belly, everyone knew exactly where he or she stood. Her brother, Steven, balanced well with her persona, and complimented the dynamic trio of the three boys. While the other boys have mixed feelings about the new Belly, having one of the three being her brother helps anchor them all to reality.

I enjoyed escaping to Cousins beach with Belly and the Fisher boys for this tumultuous summer. It made me want to dig my toes deeply in the sand, listening to the echoing waves under the setting summer sun—most definitely a summer romance for the light-hearted dreamer. When I finished the book, I knew that their story was not done yet and can’t wait to see what is in store for the summer after the summer everything changed.

Moriah (1)

About Jenny Han

Jenny Han (Han like Han Solo, not Han like hand)
was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. She went to college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Heels!) and she went on to graduate school at the New School in New York City, where she received her MFA in Writing for Children. She lives in Brooklyn.

Favorite dessert: Passion Fruit anything
Favorite superhero: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Favorite time of day: 8:00pm
Favorite article of clothing: knee socks
Favorite book: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Favorite fictional father: Atticus Finch
If I could have any job, I would pick Oprah’s best friend or Santa’s helper. Also, nail polish namer, TV writer, White House party planner, ice cream tester.
If I was a fruit, I would be a peach.
If I could have any superpower, I would pick the power of charm.

Weaknesses include: cookbooks, boys with dimples, biscuits with butter and jam, an afternoon nap, popcorn at the movies.

Special talents/abilities include: dialogue from the movie Clueless, the perfect brownie, board games, neat handwriting, 90s song lyrics, nicknaming people and stuffed animals.

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