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