The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1)
By Jenny Han
Summary: 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.
Source: I purchased a paperback at a used bookstore
The Summer I Turned Pretty was a summer contemporary novel about Belly, a teenage girl who spent summers with her mom, brother, and her mom’s best friend, who had two boys of her own. Belly was always the outsider of the group, since she was the only girl. She had a crush on Conrad who seemed like the complicated silent boy. And this summer, she was starting to shed her childish looks, glasses, and was finally the pretty girl who was more than just Belly to Conrad.
I loved that the story dealt with growing up and being a girl. I could relate to Belly in many ways, as she was just as much one of the guys as she was a boy crazy teenager. It’s definitely possible to be both and to have feelings for someone and still want to experience being desired for the first time as a girl. It was quite complicated for Belly and she was dealing with all the new emotions that stem from finally dating and putting yourself out there and realizing you are noticeable.
The book wasn’t as deep and complex as I thought it would be at first. In most ways, it was just a fun summer contemporary novel about summer love and crushes. I suppose with a title like The Summer I Turned Pretty, I expected more emphasis on Belly being a unattractive and feeling that way before, but I never really got that vibe. She had an unrequited crush on Conrad, but it didn’t seem like this summer was the turning point of her beauty or her being noticed. My expectations were a bit off, but for a fun summer contemporary, it was great.
I thought about continuing the series, but I read some spoilers and I know it’s not going to go in the healthy direction I think it should. I suppose I’m not one to root for the childhood crush in any novel because I feel like newer love interests are healthier or even the friends who stood by you all along while you had that unrequited crush are just as good. But I’m not much for the apathetic crush finally noticing the girl because it doesn’t make up for the previous treatment. Basically, I’m not a fan of Conrad and he never became a better character, and I don’t think he does in the rest of the series.
The Summer I Turned Pretty was a short and sweet contemporary romance and I would definitely recommend it to fans of contemporary romance and fans of Jenny Han’s other novels. It’s great, cute, and enjoyable.