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The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

The Summer I Turned Pretty (edition 2010)

by Jenny Han

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1,008768,471 (3.92)14
Title:The Summer I Turned Pretty
Authors:Jenny Han
Info:Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (2010), Edition: 1, Paperback, 304 pages
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The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han


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Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
The premise didn't seem particularly special to me. However, Han is a good writer, and I liked this book--but not nearly as much as I thought I would once I actually started reading.

Contemporary romance is really difficult to do well, without sounding melodramatic and cliche, even though it begs a certain formula. For the most part, I thought Han did well.

But as I continued reading, I was less impressed. The romance didn't get to me in a special way, even though I thought it should have because I read so much supposed history between the main characters, because Belly was so consistently depicted as childish (not just in name-calling by other characters, but even in her own descriptions of herself--"I said in a voice that sounded whiny, even to me" is a paraphrase, but there were many phrases like this) and the romance felt mostly one-sided and underdeveloped.

I was more immediately intrigued by the premise in [b:To All the Boys I've Loved Before|15749186|To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)|Jenny Han|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1372086100s/15749186.jpg|21442106], so I definitely want to read that, but this one was a bit disappointing despite the good start and generally good writing. ( )
  elephantine | Nov 27, 2015 |
I usually don't read this type of novel, but I saw Jenny Han at the National Book Festival and I was curious. She described her characters and writing process in a way I found unexpected. Her fans described how close they felt to the characters and how they saw themselves in her book. So, I wondered. After reading The Summer I Turned Pretty, I get it.

Belly is telling the story about the summer when she starting crossing over to young adulthood. She reflects on how her body matured a little faster than she was ready for. And at the same time how some people still see her as a child when she feels she is growing up. Sometimes she is self-conscious and worried about how others are looking at her. Sometime she is unaware of how others see her. The book is filled with these contradictions as she navigates what might be "the last summer" with her summer family (oldest child, Conrad, is heading to college). And realizes that this is also the first summer where she hasn't been the little sister just trailing the older boys around.

While nothing really happens in the book, Jenny Han really does fill the story with a real sense of what is like to be a girl becoming a woman. The angst that Belly feels when she is left behind when the boys go out and have fun. Being overprotected by parents and siblings enhancing the sense of alone-ness, separateness. The excitement of that first boyfriend. Feeling embarrassed when others don't see things the way you wish they did. Being annoyingly self-absorbed and boy obsessed. It all rings true to me.

I never spent any summers lazing about a beach house. But I could relate to the feelings described in this fun summer read. ( )
  sbecon | Sep 13, 2015 |
Belly spends the better half of the year counting down the days until summer vacation. Fall, winter, spring, they don't matter. It's summer when she comes alive, when she can let loose and live freely.

She's never missed a summer at the beach house and she never plans to.

Spending the weeks lounging around by the pool with Jeremiah and Conrad, watching old movies with her mom and Susannah, going into town to get ice cream with Steven.

All her best memories happen at the beach house, all her firsts, everything important starts and ends in Cousins.

But this summer things start to change, people start to grow apart, lines are drawn in the sand and somehow the magic of summer starts to fade right before Belly's very eyes.

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I ended up liking this book a lot more than I thought I would. When I first started it I was a little put off by how immature Belly was and frankly how annoying her character was but the more I read the more the book as a whole outweighed my dislike of her.

Yes she did have her moments and her tempter tantrums but I just had to keep reminding myself that she was only 15 and sadly some 15 year old's I know do act like that.

What I did like about the book were the other characters, obviously Conrad and Jeremiah and even Steven and Belly's mom but it was Susannah that kept me reading. Susannah and her beach house are what made me fall in love with this book.

The second I opened it up I would find myself smelling the faint scent of sunblock, chlorine and salt air.

I found myself turning the pages and longing for sand between my toes and slight sunburn on my forehead.

If you're looking for a fast, beach read that makes you nostalgic for your childhood summers I highly recommend picking this up.

Until next time,
Ginger ( )
  Ginger_reader22 | Apr 5, 2015 |
Originally published: New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c2009.
  Bookman1954 | Feb 17, 2015 |
Originally published: New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c2009.
  Bookman1954 | Feb 17, 2015 |
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To the most important sister women in my life and especially Claire
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I say, "I can't believe you're really here."
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Belly spends the summer she turns sixteen at the beach just like every other summer of her life, but this time things are very different.

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