Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1)
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Release Date: May 5, 2009
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 favorite 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 new 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 decided to pick up The Summer I Turned Pretty because it seemed like a good summer read and it proved to be just that. Don’t pick up this book if you are looking for something deep that will make you think, this is not it. But just because this is a light read it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t good. I truly enjoyed this book and actually had trouble putting it down at times.
Belly has spent every summer of her life at the beach house in Cousins Beach. There she spends her time swimming and hanging out with her older brother Steven and Conrad and Jeremiah, her mother’s best friend’s two sons. For as long as she can remember, Belly has been in love with Conrad but this summer maybe things will be different. New guy Cam shows up and shows great interest in Belly as does Jeremiah who Belly has always seen as her best friend. And of course Conrad still doesn’t seem to feel the same way about her. But maybe that summer things will change for Belly.
Belly was a pretty realistic character and easy to relate to, though at times I had trouble with her. There were moments where I just wanted to tell her to stop being so whiny and move on while others I totally felt how she felt. I could easily relate to many of the things she was going through because some of them I had gone through myself. What girl has never been in love with a guy who doesn’t share her feelings? But like I said there were other moments where I just didn’t understand her reactions to different events.
I think my favorite character would have to have been Jeremiah, there was something about him that I just couldn’t help but like. He was so easy going and it was obvious he was in love with Belly. I was totally rooting for him throughout the whole book. I enjoyed Conrad’s character as well but at times I had mixed feelings about him. I understand that people can be moody and suffer from mood swings but with Conrad they were often over exaggerated. He would go from being totally pleasant one second to yelling at Belly the next. The other characters were also interesting but they didn’t have me as hooked as Belly, Jeremiah and Conrad. Sometimes it felt like they were just part of the setting.
Like I said before, this isn’t a particularly deep story, but at the same time there are some events in the book that give it a certain depth. Though I had trouble following at first, the flashbacks throughout the novel were really useful to explain some of what Belly was talking about in the present. Overall the story was really enjoyable and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a nice summer read.