Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

August 12th, 2011 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Purchased

Publication date: May 5, 2009

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars

Summary from 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.

I’ve literally had this book sitting on my shelves for years and after hearing so many people with similar tastes talk about how great it was I finally decided to pick it up.  Sadly while not a bad book I was not as blown away by it as I was expecting.  Perhaps it was a problem of going in with too high of expectations since everyone built it up to be this 5 star, totally awesome, must read book.  It did contain all of the elements I enjoy in young adult, chick lit type books.  There is the girl who blossoms and all of a sudden finds herself the center of romantic attention from several boys and she’s torn between who she really loves.

The problem for me was there was no unique twist and to be honest I did not really care for Belly.  She was so self-centered and totally oblivious to what was going on around her.  There was obviously something wrong with her mom’s best friend, Susannah, but Belly who even at one points thinks she loves Susannah the most, is so busy obsessing over Conrad that she doesn’t notice.  She also talks about one summer that was ruined when she invited her best friend to come visit the summer house.  She invites her for some pretty selfish reasons and then blows up when things back fire on her.  The final bit of self-centeredness that got to me was when she accuses Conrad of being moody because he’s jealous.  Yes that was part of it but there were plenty of other clues that something deeper was going on but did she catch on?  No!  I kept telling myself she’s a teenager but I would hope most teenagers aren’t really that clueless to everything going on around them.

Other than Belly I really enjoyed all the other characters.  I loved Conrad’s shows of kindness in the flash backs when he defends Belly when she was much younger against the teasing of her own brother.  He also shows sensitivity to his own brother’s moods and knew when to support him.  In the present day he is a tad more moody than I like but given the situation I think that is only to be expected.  Jeremiah is a polar opposite of Conrad and always happy go lucky.  He kind of reminds me of a big puppy dog that can’t help but put a smile on your face.

The romance was sweet and I have to admit I was torn over who I wanted Belly to end up with.  I am glad I finally read this book and I feel like if I had read it before all the hype I would have enjoyed it even more.  Still I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Posted in 3 Star Books, Books, Young Adult

3 Responses

  1. Michelle

    One of my all time favorite contemporary series. I just loved the summer vibe and the characters. I agree, Belly can be a bit trying at times but I found that it really kind of suited her age. Maybe a tad bit excessive but, for me, barable overall.

  2. Pam (@iwriteinbooks)

    I’ve also heard a LOT about this and I have to admit I’ve been a bit turned off by it just because I feel like the last one to read it. I’m glad you liked parts of it even if Belly wasn’t perfect.

  3. Debbie's World of Books

    Michelle-yeah, I kept reminding myself Belly was so young. I really need to find my copy of the second book.

    Pam-lol. I know what you mean. I felt like everyone has read it already.

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