Book Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1)

Author: Jenny Han

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 276 paperback

My Rating: 3.5-4/5 stars

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, courtesy of

I have been a nervous wreck trying to write this review! I honestly thought certain blogger people would track down my address, come to my home, and beat me up. This story was good, in fact it was really good but I just wasn’t feeling the love with it. SO many bloggers/readers/book nerds adore this story so I tried so very hard to love it just because I know how much others loved it but it just wasn’t happening for me.

At the beginning of the story I was extremely annoyed with the main character. Belly was whining or crying all the time and when she wasn’t doing that she was obsessing over a guy, Conrad, the oldest of the two brothers whom she shared a beach house with every summer. At first I thought Conrad was a stand-offish jerk who cared about no one but himself. I should also mention that there was a lot of confusion during the first point of the story. At one point the main character, Belly, would be a five year old and then out of nowhere she was thirteen. This last part was cleared up about 100 pages into the story when I finally noticed that the chapter headings told what age she was in that particular chapter. To say the least, the writing at the beginning of the story was a bit awkward and I had a hard time getting through it.

Now before anyone makes a rash decision to come end my life for not liking this book, hear me out. AFTER the first hundred pages or so, my views on the book changed dramatically. Belly became more mature, less whiny, and she really started to view her obsession with Conrad in a whole new light. Conrad, the object of Belly’s obsession, became a lot easier to like. His flirtatious comments and jealousy of Belly’s relationship with a new guy was totally cute. Although I was always rooting for Jeremiah, the younger, sweeter, friendlier of the two brothers, Conrad grew on my quite a bit. While the romance and the relationship between Belly and the two brothers, Conrad and Jeremiah, was a big part of the story, I found myself TOTALLY loving Belly’s relationship with Susannah, the boys’ mother. Belly has a pretty solid relationship with her mom but she is a teenager so she automatically thinks that her mom won’t understand a single thing that is why Belly confides in Susannah. She is understanding, strong-willed, easygoing, and completely lovable. I want someone like Susannah in my life so very badly because she seems to know exactly the right things to say at all the perfect times.

I also really like that this story was very beachy. I live in Michigan, the lake state, so I grew up by the water. I love stories that can depict beach scenes perfectly. Cousins Beach, whether it is a real place or not, sounds like it could quite possibly be the best place for a summer vacation!

Jenny Han did a wonderful job of mixing romance, beach scenes, some sad moments, and quite a few happy moments. While this story wasn’t THE BEST BOOK I’VE EVER READ, it was still pretty enjoyable.

11 thoughts on “Book Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

  1. Awwww! I promise I won’t beat you up! :) I totally loved the story, but I know there are quite a few people that didn’t as much as me. I really liked the progression of the characters throughout the book. Also, the books get better as they go along. In my opinion at least! The 3rd on was probably my favorite!

  2. Great review! I won’t come to your house and beat you up, haha, (and besides, I kind of felt the same way at first) everyone is entitled to their own opinion– I’m really glad you ended up enjoying it though! The second one is very good if you ever have the chance to read it, and I liked the third one as well; a good series overall.

  3. Good review. You got your point across well. It’s always hard to write a ‘not so good’ review isn’t it. This isn’t really a book I fancy at all so I might be hiding under that table with you!

  4. You know-how first time I tried to read it, I couldn’t finish it, belly annoyed me. That was when it first came out, after te second book I decided to give it a shot again and the second time around I read one and two back to back and have a newfound appreciation for it… Its why I never write off books completely anymore

  5. Don’t worry, no one will beat you up!

    I loved these books, but it’s your right to have a different opinion. I really think you should give the other two books a chance.

  6. I know how hard it is to write a review for a book that everyone else seems to LOVE. And you gave great reasons for why you didn’t! I loved your review and will have your back if someone tries to beat you up! haha

  7. I liked this one okay, but it’s not my normal type read and I never *loved* Belly but I definitely never even liked Conrad. At all. I thought he was rude and abrasive and I have NEVER understood why SO many young girls in literature are SO into these older jerky/rude boys that live close by. Seriously- when someone treats you like dirt all the time, or ignores you, GET OVER IT! :P Sigh. :(

    I have heard it improves though… So, maybe…

  8. Pingback: TGIF (6) « Katelyn's Blog

  9. I’m glad you found it enjoyable in the end. Jenny Han has a total gift for creating realistic characters and relationships in my opinion; they totally jump off the page.

  10. Pingback: The Summer I Turned Pretty Jenny Han Book Review

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