Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1) by Jenny Han

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summer I turned prettyTitle: The Summer I Turned Pretty
Author: Jenny Han
Series: Summer, #1
Date(s) read: February 6, 2013
Genre: YA contemporary
Source: Won (Paperback)

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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.

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Oh my WORD! The second I finished this book, with tears gleaming in my eyes, I knew I had found a favourite. I love that feeling. What I also love is how, in the middle of winter, I can find such a great book that makes me long for summer days, sand beneath my feet, and the sun warming my skin. Really, this was a perfect winter read because it made me forget about the winter.

I devoured this book in a night and a morning, it was just so good. I loved the whole feel of the book, from the descriptions of the beach, to the complications of first loves that linger through the years, to the confusion of that first love, to the feeling of becoming a swan over a year, and to that horrible feeling that things, while looking okay on the outside, might not be as perfect as they seem.Belly was a great character. She was almost 16 years old and played the part. I had never had a beach house to go to, let alone brothers to hang out with each summer, so I wasn’t able to identify with her character returning to them each year and all the feelings that would come with it, what with our bodies and our personalities changing as we grow, but I still felt like a part of me existed in Belly. You know, that part that thinks the world revolves around you, even when there’s something greater happening? I loved Belly’s mom, Susannah, Conrad, and Jeramiah — they were all complicated, but so real. And the great thing about this story was that it didn’t muddle things up with too many extra characters, rather the excess characters blended perfectly in the mix of the ones that I really wanted to know more about.

For me, I really liked how the characters were written and how the story was weaved. There were times where I found myself not liking a character, but knowing that there was more to it than that — I knew that I couldn’t just give up on a character because there was definitely something more to the story that I wasn’t being told. I was more than willing to hang on for the ride. This is also one of those stories that has a love triangle in it (maybe more than a triangle? I’m still not sure.), but it’s done so well that I never found myself doubting what had to happen — but while that thing had to happen, it’s still summer. The characters are still young and other things had to happen first. I think this book was one of the rare ones that I had read where I actually liked the love triangle — or, rather, the complications of young love.

This was an extremely light read — in total, I think it only took me about 4 hours or less to read — which was perfect. I was so happy in the end to know that I had the other books in the series because I immediately wanted to know what would happen next summer, and I wanted to get to know more about these characters I’d come to care about. I love that Jenny Han managed to pull me in so effortlessly, making me fall in love in just a few pages. I can only hope the next books in the series are just the same!

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24 thoughts on “Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1) by Jenny Han

  1. Ahhh 5++! I only lightly skimmed this because I do plan to read this one soon and now I am really excited but then I just thought about and I am actually scared. Will this be a 1 for me *trembles* I hope not. So happy you loved this one so much, I hope I do too!

  2. Wow, you really loved this book. I’m glad to hear that this isn’t a book with too many characters that take over the story. I really like knowing that this is a story of growing up and learning about yourself. I will have to check this one out, I’ve heard quite a few good things about this series. Great review!

  3. Hmmmmm. I think I’ve avoided this one because, love triangles. And IMO I don’t like the implication that the MC lives for summers with the boys. But wow, everyone loves it. And YOU loved it. HMMM. I DO need a good beach read for my beach trip next month. Should I give this one a try? Since you said you actually liked the love triangle….

  4. Yay! I loved this one so much too! I’ve read the second one, but not the third one yet. I actually started listening to the second one on audio today to refresh my memory (it’s only 6 hours which is nice!). Have you read all 3 now?

    I loved that the love triangle wasn’t your typical love-triangle…it just worked in this story. Great review!

  5. I can’t believe I still haven’t read this! Ahhh! It’s sitting there!! I will have to add it to my TBR for next month! Have to!!! It sounds really good and I’m glad you loved it so much! I have all of the books too, so no excuse!!

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  7. Pingback: And Now it’s Sunday (6) & Reading Through the Stacks | Winter Distractions

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