Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty

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 wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.–From Amazon

I’ve seen a lot of reviews for The Summer I Turned Pretty and its sequel It’s Not Summer Without You (A Summer Novel) floating around the blogosphere. I wasn’t particularly excited about either book, but many people said that they were better than you would expect, and Amazon kept recommending them to me as well. Since these books are set on a beach, I figured I would pick up the first one from the library and use it for the Books and Bikinis Reading Challenge.

Throughout the first half of the book, I was enjoying Belly’s summer adventures at the beach more than I had anticipated. The playful relationship between Belly, Jeremiah, Conrad, and Steven was nicely illustrated, and the romantic tension was intriguing. Jenny Han is a quiet writer; she develops characters slowly, as though chipping away at them with a dull utensil until she ultimately reveals a beautiful surface underneath. You just have to be willing to wait around a while. After that first half, I was ready for the book to hurry things up a bit. There were whole sections I would have liked to skim, while other parts were so funny or touching I couldn’t quite let go. Belly was an average girl, and the book felt fairly average to me as well. The end did leave me wanting to know more, but I’m not sure that I’ll be rushing out for the sequel.

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