Friday, March 11, 2011

Book Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1)

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1)
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publishing Date: May 2009
Length: 288 pages
Genre: YA, romance

5/5 ***** The Summer I Turned Pretty- A sweet tribute to youth, friendship, love and the special warm, joyous feeling only summer wakes!

~ The Author ~

Jenny Han (Han like Han Solo, not Han like hand) was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. She went to college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Heels!) and she went to graduate school at the New School in New York City, where she received her MFA in Writing for Children. She lives in Brooklyn and works part-time at a school library on the Upper West Side.

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~ The Novel ~

The Summer I Turned Pretty is the first part of the Summer trilogy. It was followed by Its Not Summer Without You in 2010. The third novel Well Always Have Summer will be released on April 26th 2011.

Other novels by Jenny Han are the childrens books Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream and Shug.

~ The Story ~

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer--they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along

Summary by Goodreads 

~ The Review ~

I came across this novel often but never really felt like reading it. A few weeks ago I downloaded the Simon & Schuster e-galley Well Always Have Summer and noticed that it was the third book in the Summer series. Because I was so intrigued by its summary by then I decided to buy the first and second book and give this series a try.

So I started book one, expecting it to be a good, not THAT good! I read it in one day and I am in love with these characters, the setting, wonderful scenes from their childhood and the extraordinary summer feeling it carries.

Belly is our narrator, a quirky, bright girl, that takes hearts in storm... unless they dont want to be taken. I immediately liked her and was engaged in her attempt to win Conrad Fishers heart. She tells the story about her summer in Cousins, mixed with flashbacks to former summers, summers that meant something, had something special. The flashbacks arent thrown into the story randomly, they are perfectly integrated, always relevant to our present scene.

The word pretty in the title doesnt necessarily refer  to a physical development or stunning beauty , it my opinion it stands for the metamorphosis a character can go through. Belly has developed physically but also grown psychically. Now she is experiencing a whole new array of emotions, exploring her new relationships to her big summer brothers.

Our male protagonists are brothers, friends, rivals. Conrad is moody, dark and very unreasonable in his behaviour. Jeremiah is his little brother, kind and caring. We also meet Belly
s brother, her mother and Susannah, Conrads and Jeremiahs mother. The characters backgrounds, relationships and pasts are revealed gradually through the whole novel.

Reading about their summer adventures, quarrels, reconciliation, friendship and love was a lot of fun. Jenny Han has a very casual writing style. I read this novel in one sitting, it very easy to read, not because of a plain content, but flowing writing.

The Summer I Turned Pretty is a funny and youthful read. Special about The Summer I Turned Pretty is that its romance, happenings and emotions are anything but easy or plain because beside fun and frieds it also deals with very emotional and serious topics. 

~ We love this book because...~

1) it makes us want to sing summer hits all the time
2) of its wonderful memories
3) swimming frees our mind
4) one last summer wont overshadow the summers before it
5) a girl sometimes needs her big brothers

~ The Verdict ~

The Summer I Turned Pretty is a wonderful and light summer read with an authentic setting and characters and a great writing style. This novel should definitely be in the bag you pack for your next holidays!


  1. This sounds like a really lovely read. I keep seeing the third book all over the place, too, so I will have to check this one out. Thanks for the review!

  2. I've wanted to read this series for ages, and don't know why I haven't gotten to it yet! I'll definitely have it on my summer reading list!

  3. I'm glad you liked this. I read the first two books in a day and the third in a single sitting as well. Great review!

  4. I was the same way. I see it and I'm not sure about picking it up, but then everyone talks about how good it is. If you were the same way, maybe I'll give it a try now! SAme with "Anna and the French Kiss." I don't read a ton of straight-up romance. You make it sound interesting, though :)

  5. Well I always enjoy it when I book I am not expecting to be good surprises me. I am still a little unsure on this one, but I may give it a shot. I have to say I am interested in a character named Belly though!

  6. So glad you loved it as much as I did! These books are so wonderful... they're fun, light summer reads in one way, yet they're so much more as well.

  7. I keep seeing this book everywhere lately (and people have recommended it to me). I got it from Penguin in the autumn... I'm glad you liked it. I think I'll save it for the summer :D

  8. I've ever read this book, but it's always in the list of books people love. But I think I might actually give it a chance now. Lovely review, and it's actually great timing because I've looing for something light to read & this sounds just perfect!

  9. For some reason, the name Belly makes me feel like I could never pick up this book and take it seriously. UGH- I want to!! It seems so cute, but the name bugs me. Big time. Once I get over that stupid little bump in the road, I think I'll enjoy it very much. ;)

  10. "The Summer I Turned Pretty" by Jenny Han is a great novel about a girl named Belly's adventures each summer of her life. It is told from her point of view and includes many flashbacks of summers in the past, as well as what is happening in the present. And, it shows how what she does in the past effects the what happened in the years after that. She learns many lessons along the way. Even though it's not exactly an exciting book, I still didn't want to put it down. I could relate to the main character and i just wanted to see what would happen next.