August 15, 2012

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


Summer, the beach, tans, parties, first crushes, first kisses, first loves, forever loves. This book had it all. I felt physically and emotionally transported back to when I was 16 years old and experiencing all the emotions and changes that Belly the main character was going through. When her heart pounded in her chest, so did mine. When her eyes filled with tears out of frustration and anger, so did mine. When her heart was broken, swollen with love, or hurt, I felt it all too. I have never been so physically affected by a book as this one. It was like experiencing life at 16 all over again. The heartbreak, the crushes, the yearning - it was all my heart could handle. At 29 and happily married, it’s easy to forget about the whirlwind of emotions that you go through in your younger years, when you’re discovering first loves and all that comes with it. Would I want to go through it again? No, I wouldn’t, but I had an amazing time escaping in it. 

Belly and her brother Steven, and Conrad and his brother Jeremiah, have spent every summer of their lives at Cousin’s beach. Conrad and Jeremiah’s mother Susannah, is best friends with Belly and Steven’s mom, Laurel. It’s technically Susannah’s beach house, but during the summers, it is home to them all. Belly, the youngest of the four, has always been the “baby”, the first one to be left out, and the first one to be teased. But this summer is destined to be different. Belly is almost 16. She’s no longer a little kid and she has a pretty good feeling that this may just be their last summer all together at the beach house. She’s determined to make it the best summer yet, or at least the most unforgettable. 

I loved all the characters in this book. While Belly could be annoying or immature at times, her actions and reactions were understandable given she was the youngest and of the age where your emotions are so strong, it’s impossible not to let them show through your words and actions. And who can blame her – she had no real girlfriends during the summer – no one to over-analyze every little feeling or thought like girls are known to do.  

And then there’s Conrad and Jeremiah. I have no words. It’s no wonder Belly loved them both - I loved them both! My heart melted when Conrad was introduced. Dark and brooding, there was something about him and the way Belly reacted when around him, that had me swooning from the get-go. Even when he was being a jerk, he was easy to forgive.  Jeremiah – Conrad’s polar opposite – was goofy and charming and so loveable. He was Belly’s best friend, closest confident - the guy she could totally be herself around. It was impossible to pick a favourite. 

Even their mom’s had a large, welcome presence in this book. There’s Laurel, your typical mom – kind, protective, and annoying in front of your friends. And then there’s Susannah.  The mom everyone wishes there mom was like.  She was a breath of fresh air every time she appeared on the page -so gentle and full of love and kindness. I wanted to know her in real life. 

I really can’t rave more about this book. It sucked me in from the beginning and had me bawling my eyes out by the end. Even if you aren’t a fan of YA or love-triangles, this one was so different, and so real. While I can’t wait to get started on the next book in this trilogy, The Summer I Turned Pretty didn’t leave me on a cliff-hanger, or make me want to throw the book across the room. Sure, I want to keep reading about Belly, Jeremiah and Conrad (how could you not?!), but I can honestly say that I closed the book after reading the last page with a satisfied sigh, and tears running down my face.

13 comments:

  1. You don't know how happy I am to know that you enjoyed this book. I need to read it again some time soon. (:

    Great review !!

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    1. I absolutely loved it, Leanne. Did you read the other two books in the trilogy? I just started the second one...

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    2. Yup, I read the whole series!! I loved it!!

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  2. I've seen this book around but the title has always turned me off. Though your enthusiasm alone makes me want to give it a chance! Thanks for changing my mind!

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    1. Ya, the title isn't the greatest, now is it? But it makes sense once you read the book and it isn't as shallow as it implies. I'm hoping I love the next two books just as much...!

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  3. Great review, Brie! I can't wait to read this one. :) Soon! Before summer is over!

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    1. Yes, do it! I think you'll love it, too! :)

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  4. You and Kristilyn are convincing me to read YA! It's a miracle! :) I love it when a book makes me cry.

    I'm gonna go out on a limb and say I would prefer the dark and brooding guy. I always do. Like Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, or Ben over Noel on Felicity...

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    1. Not many books can actually make me cry, so if I cry, I know it's good. Unless I'm crying because it's bad.. and I'm frustrated ?! LOL, but you should read this series, it's awesome!!

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    2. I'm the same - not a lot makes me cry when I'm reading, but this one - the tears just kept coming, but in a feel-good way! I always prefer the dark and brooding guy, but I love Conrad and Jeremiah both so much (which is odd for a love-triangle!). You need to read this one Laura AND The Fault in Our Stars! :)

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  5. I am not the biggest reader as you know, but you made me really want to read this book! And that is hard to do! Maybe you can lend it to me? I know how much you love lending out your books ;) ;)

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  6. YES, FOUND IT. you're right, that does sound great! hmm.... i'll purchase it on my next trip to the bookstore. I love books that connect me emotionally to them. I want to cry when the main character cries, not attempt to feel what they're feeling. Now I'm a little excited about this... I've been saying how I haven't cried since my sisters keeper, maybe this can finally break my 'no-books-can-make-me-cry' bubble!

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    1. Well, I'm not a big crier either, but something about this book just got in my soul. I really hope you like it too!

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