Friday, August 17, 2018

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Summary from Goodreads:
When each summer begins, Belly leaves her school life behind and escapes to Cousins Beach, the place she has spent every summer of her life. Not only does the beach house mean home away from home, but her favorite people are there: Susannah, her mother's best friend, and her sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. Belly has been chasing Conrad for as long as she can remember, and more than anything, she hopes this summer will be different. Despite distractions from a new guy named Cam and lingering looks from Conrad's brother, Jeremiah, Belly's heart belongs to Conrad. Will he offer his to her? Will this be the summer that changes everything?
This was just the summer read I was looking for. Technically, I have a bunch of other books I’m supposed to be reading because they are due back to my library soon, and I own this one, so there’s no timeline…but I wanted a paperback to take with me to comic con, and this was perfect. I started it while waiting in line for the Weasley twins photo. And I finished it this morning (the next day). I just love Jenny Han.
Jenny Han just captures the essence of being a teen girl better than most. The insecurities, the fear, the attraction, the bravery, and the acceptance. All of her main characters feel so real. I loved Belly. I understood her feeling left out from the boys. I was the youngest sibling to two big brothers, and I routinely felt like I was missing out on things. I loved her relationship with the boys. And I loved it even more with Susannah. I have family/friends like her. I also know what it’s like to live for the summer time and always go to the beach.
This was a light, coming of age, summer book. But there were a few deeper/darker elements in the background. The one thing I really didn’t like about this book was that I caught on to the deeper/darker elements, but Belly didn’t. She did not see what was coming, even though it was so clear to me. I kept wanting to slap some sense into her a bit. On the other hand, I’m not sure I would have noticed things if I were in her position either. She was in teenage brain denial. And aren’t we all, at 15?
I loved watching her figure out her heart too. Just because she’s had this everlasting crush, doesn’t mean she’s un-open to other love and other possibilities. I love how brave she is. I love how she stands up for herself. And I love how deeply she cares for her family (blood or no blood). I’m seriously considering blowing off my library books for another week, and just binging the whole series. I need to know what the next summer brings. I need to know how things resolve.
I really enjoyed this book, more than I was even expecting to. I did wish to slap the main character a couple of times. And I also am a little tired of the tall, dark, and brooding love interest trope. I wished Conrad was nicer and less into the girl with the baseball cap. And I wished Belly was less naïve. Maybe that happens in book 2. All in all, I give this one an 8/10.

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