Published Date: May 5th, 2009
by Simon & Schuster
Pages: 276 (paperback)
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 seen The Summer I Turned Pretty floating around on the never-ending bookshelf that is Goodreads many times in the past. To tell you the honest to goodness truth, I didn't want to read it. My initial thoughts of this book ran along the lines of preppy and shallow, wasn't worth my time. I hate to say it, but I judged this book really harshly. Soon though, I warmed to the idea of finally reading it, give it a chance since my preferred reading genre is now the one this novel occupies. I was surprised when I dove headfirst into The Summer I Turned Pretty and finished it in less than a day.
The Summer I Turned Pretty is about a girl nicknamed Belly who spends her whole summer in Cousins Beach dreaming, loving, and crushing in the beach house owned by some family friends. Well, not just some family friends, but the family friends. Susannah, Jeremiah, and Conrad. Owners of the beach house that Belly has lived half her life in, where she's spent her summers. Where she’s seen what it looks like to be loved and has learned to love back. Enter Conrad, who Belly has had a crush on since they were little kids, playing in the sand and sun in the shadow of the beach house. The Summer I Turned Pretty turns from being light and full of love to tragically sad as Belly soon learns how to deal with heartbreak and loss as the book drifts to the end. Han draws an amazing picture of the pain Belly feels as her worlds starts to crumble when bad news is thrown her way.
The Summer I Turned Pretty plays heavily into Belly's memories of her life at the beach house so most chapters are just flashbacks. I've always loved when books dove more into the past than into the future which I know is very odd of me. It makes the story beautiful in an emotionally deeper way; the reader gets more invested into the character’s lives.
If you’d asked me today what my favorite trilogy is, I’d this one. I’d tell you how much I love every word, every pages and its smell. I’d tell you about how much I've felt for these characters, how much this book reminds me of my own life. How it reminds me of my summers on the beach. I guess that’s why I loved it so much, because of its semblance of my life. I've spent many a summer in the summer sun, surrounded by miles of ocean just as Belly has. To me, it felt like coming back to all of those memories I have stored inside my head. Han brings them all to the surface as her writing takes me back to those days in my childhood. I thank her for that. The Summer I Turned Pretty is a novel I’ll never get tired of reading as I hope to read it many more times in the future.