The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer Trilogy #1) by Jenny Han | Book Review + Discussion

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty
Author: Jenny Han
Publication: April 6th 2010 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 
Format: Paperback, 276 pages
Source: Personal Purchase from National Bookstore

Thoughts in General:

I read The Summer I Turned Pretty mainly for the reason that Jenny Han came in Manila and did a book signing there (click the link to see my recap of the whole shebang). Also, a lot of people have been raving about this book (including my best friend, who deemed it as her favorite series, ever). I read ahead, having high expectations, and sadly I wasn’t immensely impressed by this book. Yes I do see it as an entertaining book filled with romance and all the good things a contemporary novel could give you. The hype around it was blazing however, when I finished it, it just didn’t live up to that. I had a hard time connecting with the main character and I felt that the plot of the book wasn’t strong enough (I had moments that I didn’t know where the book was heading, at all). I did like the family dynamic between the characters and the friendships they formed through the years, which was a really nice touch. I will be continuing on with the trilogy just to see if my opinion changes. Sequels normally redeem a book series, so don’t worry guys I am not giving up on this. 
Thoughts in Details (CONTAIN SPOILERS):


The Summer I Turned Pretty was told from the First Person POV of our heroine Belly.
The main protagonist was kind of a roller coaster for me. I had moments that I rooted for her to succeed and get the boy she wanted, but there were moments that I was irrevocably annoyed with her. I want to discuss the things that bothered me about  her character. First, I found that her puppy love for Conrad was a tad bit over-the-top. She just made him into this divinity that does no wrong and it frustrated me to see her pine for him desperately. She was kind of obsessed with him and I just didn’t feel her “love” for him was realistically done (who am I to talk about love?). Second, Belly felt like a total brat at certain scenes (i.e. that bonfire party they went to where she met Cam and whenever she talks about her mom) and her immaturity wasn’t pretty to see. Lastly, she just wasn’t authentic enough and, truth be told, I found her quite boring.
There were things that I liked about her though. Belly was so sweet when she helped Conrad get that girl even though she ended up with a broken-heart. Also, she was witty, gutsy, and so persistent to prove that she was one of the boys and I admire that about her.

Then we have Belly’s childhood summer buddies, Conrad and Jeremiah. I will start off with Conrad, who was the apple of Belly’s eye. I dunno about you, but I wasn’t that fond of him at all. Maybe it was due to the predicament he was in (with what was happening with their mother), but he acted such a douche in the entire novel. Seriously, even in the flashbacks I just didn’t like him that much. He was so stuck up and the way he treated Belly was just… ugh!

Jeremiah on the other hand, was loads of fun to read. I liked his attitude more than his brother and he just felt real to me. He tried to make things lighter and he was just really nice to Belly, which was a treat to see. I felt bad for him when Belly ripped his heart out when he told her about his feelings for her (this magnified my negative emotions towards our heroine). I am not one for Teams in books, but so far I am on team Jeremiah.

Belly’s brother Steven was kind of annoying, however, he still captured the true essence of a brother and an older sibling. I related to Belly when she felt left out of the group (being the youngest of two, I had my fair share of that scenario). We also have Laurel, Belly’s mother, who was stern but a comforting mom. She was the epitome of a metaphorical pillar. She was so strong and sure of herself. Jenny Han has done a great job in portraying this mother-daughter relationship.

We also have Susannah, a.k.a Beck, Laurel’s BFF and the mother of Conrad and Jeremiah. She was super nice and I felt that Belly appreciated her more than her own mother. She seemed so charming, calm and a really lovely woman. I was just saddened when I found out that her cancer came back and she was having a divorce to boot, which was kind of a harsh outcome for her.

Then we have Belly’s summer fling, Cam. Honestly, he didn’t stood out to me and he just felt like an accessory in the book. He was there just to stir things up and make it interesting. At first I kind of wanted Belly to end up with him, but you can tell from the get-go she wasn’t over Conrad and she couldn’t move on. The way their relationship ended was so abrupt that it never left a lasting effect on me.

We also had a sneak peek of Taylor, Belly’s closest friend in her hometown and school. She didn’t made such a huge splash on the book, but Belly portrayed her as this minx who gets all the boys and I didn’t like her when she hooked up with Belly’s brother.

I had a big issue with the overall story of The Summer I Turned Pretty. I felt like it lacked a strong plot line, which made the whole book kind of bland for me. I guess, since I had a problem with Belly’s infatuation towards Conrad, I just didn’t see the overall plot of the book as exciting.

The flashbacks melding with the current summer, was blended really well though and I have to hand it to Jenny for making it coherent. I did love the family aspect of the book with Belly’s relationship with her mom and Susannah. Also, I enjoyed the friendships between Belly, Steven, Conrad and Jeremiah. They made me want to spend the summer at Cousins.

Overall I give The Summer I Turned Pretty a…

I enjoyed the book, but it wasn’t totally stunning as I was expecting it to be. 
It was just an okay read.
What did you guys think of The Summer I Turned Pretty? What are your thoughts, opinions and reactions to this post? Please don’t hesitate to comment.
Happy Reading,

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Stephanie says:

    My blog buddy, Katie, has had this book for awhile. She started it and never finished it. She must have found it just so-so too.
    -Flirting with Fiction


  2. Kevin says:

    Yes! I have had my fair share of contemporary novels and this book wasn't as strong as the others like Anna and the French Kiss. I really preferred Jenny's new book To All The Boys I've Loved Before.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s