Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: May 5th 2009 by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Series: 1st in a trilogy
Format: Paperback, 276 pages
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.
This is a sweet book about a girl named Belly, her brother, and her 2 close guy friends, one of whom she’s been in love with forever. They spend every summer at the boys’ beach house and have since before Belly was born. This year, however, she expects things to be different. This is the year she hopes Conrad will finally notice her. But he doesn’t. Instead, everything is just the same as it has always been. The three boys hang out and leave Belly out of their circle. Luckily Belly meets a new boy, Cam, and starts spending a lot of time with him.
The plot isn’t especially unique in itself, but don’t let that give you pause. The characters are so well-developed that you can overlook any lacking in the plot area. Belly, Steven, Conrad and Jeremiah are all complete people; they have their faults and their strengths, and you understand their motives (though Conrad’s are a mystery, which is part of the lure, I think). We don’t learn too much about the moms, Susannah and Laurel, though. That’s to be expected because they’re secondary characters and we don’t need to know as much about them. I might have liked to hear a bit about their friendship through the years. Cameron is somewhat of a prop for Belly and we don’t learn a lot about him (though I knew enough to feel sorry for him).
The dialogue was fabulous, very true. I liked the way Susannah and Laurel talk to each other, just like old friends. Conrad, Jeremiah and Steven had the comfortable conversations of boys that have known each other forever. Belly had great internal dialogue that was funny and real. You could feel the tension when she and Conrad got together, she loves him so much she can barely stand it.
There isn’t much outright sexy hotness, but there are hints of it. Maybe I would call is sexy sweetness. Between Belly and Conrad, Belly and Jeremiah and even Belly and Cam (I just realized how slutty that may seem, but really, it’s not like that!). They are all teenagers trying to figure out this whole love and relationship thing.
A quick, fun read with lots of heart. It’s sweet and delicious, a perfect beach read.