The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
author: Jenny Han
release date: May 5, 2009 (Paperback -- April 9, 2010)
appeals to: Young Adult
genre: Contemporary/Romance
length: 288 pages
overall rating: 4 stars

*the inside flap*
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 review*
The Summer I Turned Pretty describes the kind of summer I wish I could have had growing up. Belly is an ordinary 15-year-old girl who doesn’t understand why she is getting more attention from boys than she is used to. She also doesn’t really care, because she isn’t getting the attention from the boy she wants it from. While reading about Belly’s experiences and emotions, the descriptions are so realistic that I felt like I could have been having those same feelings – at I’m sure I did at fifteen. Flashback chapters give a feel for the embarrassment that Belly felt growing up as she developed crushes on the boys who saw her as a little sister.

The summer romance angle in this story doesn’t seem contrived, and is again what any girl would love: boys, the beach, bonfires, and not a care in the world otherwise. My one complaint would be that Belly was a bit whiny and indecisive. I found myself feeling like Belly needed to pick a boy and get over the others. She had three great options! She also tells about how she doesn’t need the “No Pouting” rule anymore, but then goes off to pout. This being said, I think we all know how easy it is to pout when crushes go unnoticed or, even worse, when they are unreturned. Jenny Han captures the emotions of a teenager’s first love and the angst and confusion that accompany that experience. And the ending definitely left me wanting more.

*short and snappy*

writing: smooth & genuine – Han captures the emotions and experiences of a teenager’s summer and first love
plot: realistic – boys, the beach, bonfires, love, confusion, all ingredients of a real teen summer
characters: multifaceted – even the minor characters are very developed
judging by the cover: it gets you in the mood for a good summer romance
miscellaneous: because of its summer setting, this would be a great book to read on the beach OR to read if you can’t get to the beach

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