Monday, July 2, 2012

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

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Published: May 5th, 2009 by Simon & Shuster
Source: Library (I also own the book)
Format: Audio book
Grade rate: C+

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.

My Review

I’m not quite sure what to make of this book.  I’ve heard so many good things about it, including a brilliant recommendation from one of my friends, but I was a little disappointed with it.

I think one of my biggest hang-ups was Belly herself.  Why would someone go by that name?  Isabel is a pretty name, but Belly, no so much.  Anyway, Belly is self-centered, insecure, and childish.  I know she turns sixteen at the end of the summer, but she is still the youngest of the lot and she acts like it.  I also didn’t particularly care for the way she behaved towards Cam. 

The Fisher boys, Jeremiah and Conrad, are very different, but they have their over protectiveness of Belly in common.   They are all childhood friends that are growing up and growing apart, especially when the ‘glue’ that binds them together is fading (sorry for being so cryptic, but I’m trying to avoid spoilers).
I like Jeremiah better because he was easygoing, he was not afraid to show his feelings, and he was always there for Belly.  On the other hand, Conrad was the typical brooding bad boy and it seems like he didn’t know how to handle his problems (granted, they were huge), other than throwing himself into drinking, smoking, and other stuff.

Belly’s mom is a rock.  She is so steady that everyone things she has no feelings, which I’m sure is not true.  Susannah is so sweet, she’s loving, loyal, and stubborn; I really liked her.  Steven, Belly’s brother is only in part of the story, and it looks like he is very annoying (like any brother ;)

One of the best things about the audio book was the narration.  Jessica Almasy has a great voice and an amazing talent to make the story come alive.  The plot is fairly simple, but made complicated by Belly’s angst and constant whining.  The Summer I Turned Pretty is a short, easy read and a well written story.  The book itself contains a lot of flashbacks to previous summers, to give us background information of the characters and their history.  The ending is a big cliffhanger, made to guarantee that the reader jumps right into It’s Not Summer Without You.  I’ll still pick up book #2 and see where it takes me (again, my friend raves about this series :)

About the cover: The cover is simple, pretty, with light colors that give the impression of being 'beachy'.  I also liked the font and the placement of the title.

Have you read the Summer series?  Did you like it? Should I read book #2?


  1. Glad you finally read this! I feel the same way about 'Belly', especially as Isobel is one of my favourite girls' names. I know Belly's immaturity can put off adult readers, but I do think she's an extremely realistic teenager.

  2. I really loved this series. Too bad it fell short for you. If you do decide to read the next one I hope you can enjoy it.

  3. THANK YOU! You realize that Belly is one of the strangest names ever... And I wasn't a big fan of the first book, but I definitely think the second book is better. (:


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