The Summer I Turned Pretty.

5:55 PM

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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rating: 3.5 stars

Also another teen romance novel that received plenty of hype. And this one comes in a trilogy which is really unique I think as it’s quite a realistic teen romance, no vampires and werewolves involved. As the title suggests, this would be a go-to summer read. And since it’s always summer where I’m from, I felt that I should give this book a shot. I must say that this book met my expectations in the “lightness” of the read, if that make any sense at all. I breezed through it SUPER quick.

The story revolves around a girl named Belly (which I found extremely distracting and unromantic at some tender moments), her real name is Isabel though. Every summer she would go to Susannah’s (her mum’s best friend) summer house with her mum. Susannah has two sons who grew up with Belly and became her childhood friends, along with her brother, Steven. Belly had developed a huge crush on the older of the two brothers, Conrad, since the age of 10, which later evolved into full-blown love. This summer was different than all the summers, as this was the summer where Belly emerged from her “little sister” shadow and turned pretty. She tries to get over Conrad by finding new love in Cam (a boy she met a party). But other things were different about this summer too. There was a dark secret that weighed on the entire house and people were hiding it by putting up the façade of perfection. When Belly find s out the reason as to why people around her were acting so weird, she knew that the summers after this would never be the same.

The plot was good and the writing style of Jenny Han really pulled at the heartstrings as we learn more about each character. The pacing was jumpy with her moving from memories to the present in a staggered manner. Sometimes, it gets a little confusing and I feel disrupts the flow of the story, but I guess it is to illustrate the importance of each moment in the present that is directly caused by the past. It’s a nice change from the usual linear narrative, so I didn’t mind it so much.

Belly was an endearing character who always felt left-out even in her own home. She realizes her shortcomings and also her strengths and that is something I admire of her. Also, I felt like I grew up with her as all her childhood memories were revealed. So I was really rooting for her. But I did find her very childish at moments when she throws tantrums when she’s left out or when she CONSTANTLY sticks out her tongue (I can’t even count how many times). I guess this made her maturity at the end of the book more obvious. And generally, I felt that she was way too hung up over Conrad. She almost turns poetic. When I can't really understand her devotion to him 'cos Conrad isn't very nice to her and I felt that there was not enough tender moments to justify such devotion.

But then again, she's 16, so I guess emotions are always at extremes when you're at that age.

I have to say that my fave character is Cam. HE IS SO INCREDIBLY SWEET! And such a nice guy. I get quite angry when Belly complains or picks on Cam's shyness and awkwardness. Not everyone can be as brooding and nonchalant as Conrad. But it is really obvious that she was just using him to get over Conrad. And I kinda hated her for that as I felt that Cam was really sincere in his feelings.

Jeremiah also deserves a mention for being a sweetheart too. And being another reject of Belly, thanks to her Conrad-obsession.

The thing at the end, I expected it. Belly was just too self-centered to notice anything. But it doesn't take away from the impact of the revelations. I think everyone sort of fell apart and my heart went out to the characters. Including Belly's mom who I thought at first to be a really cold, unapproachable woman.

Overall, this book is good! I have no major complains about it except for the Conrad's bad boy routine and the staggered nature of the writing that moved from past to present, sort of disrupting the flow. But it is really the perfect Summer read. It's light-hearted but still heartwarming and not overly "blah". It deals with rather real teenage emotions, so I would recommend it at any time of year, whatever season. =)

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