The Summer I Turned Pretty: To Grow Up in a YA Romance


Author: Jenny Han
Publication Date: 2009
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Fiction; YA Contemporary
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★½

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han | Book Review

STORY | For Isabel “Belly” Conklin, nothing says summer better than the annual vacation her family takes. This year, however is different. This summer is the first year when Belly is noticed as more than the annoying “little sister” she is treated as. This summer is also different because her brother will be touring college campuses. This means her mother and her will be the only two guests at her mother’s best friend, Susannah’s summer house.

Jeremiah and Conrad are Susannah’s sons; one is her best friend, and for as long as Belly can remember, Conrad has been the only boy she’s had interest in. This year is going to be different… Belly knows this, and it would seem as if Conrad may also recognize the chance this summer promises.

BOOK REVIEW | To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Love Letters with Heart

REVIEW | Given its title, this secular young adult novel seems the perfect “must read” of summer TBRs. Even if it is, by now, considered a “classic” YA release. Written by fan favorite author Jenny Han (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), this story might not be quite as strong as her later work, but the entertainment value is still here.

I like the importance of family, an element Han’s stories always seem strong in. This one is also full of familial strife, joy and support. There’s an unexpected aspect to the family plotting that I didn’t see coming, and it does bring the story down a bit from the high we think it’ll be; a lighthearted summer romance. Despite this, the characters are interesting which makes the novel more of a complex study in character, and therefore the plot more than just summertime romance.

“It’s the imperfections that make things beautiful” ― Jenny Han, The Summer I Turned Pretty

Though she’s young and has much to learn, Belly is a fun character. I cannot say the same for all of the guys, but I like how the story progresses, and feel like the next two novels will change them, hopefully eventually in the best of ways. Heartbreak may be a part of the story, but given it’s a YA summertime romance, that’s kind of part of the package deal. Fortunately, there’s two more stories to help mend these hearts.

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About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


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