The Summer I Turned Pretty Book: Our Thoughts

The Summer I Turned Pretty book by established YA novelist Jenny Han not only perfectly captures the feeling of summer, but also captures its childlike carefree bliss and tangles it perfectly with the difficulties of growing up. In 274 pages of snapshots of Belly’s life told through her summers, we watch together how the colour of summers changes as she grows out of her childhood and into the uncertain territories of young adulthood.

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Book cover of The Summer I Turned Pretty.

The Summer I Turned Pretty

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 Fisher. 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.

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“Moments, when lost, can’t be found again. They’re just gone.”

Our Overview

At first glance, it’s easy to disregard The Summer I Turned Pretty as nothing more than just another teen love-triangle book. If you dust the sand off, you’ll see that this novel really is a hidden gem in the genre.
The ongoing grief of the novel as the mother of the Fisher brothers, Susannah, continues through her tragic battle with cancer. This novel shows the sides of growing up that many coming-of-age novels tend to overlook: its tragedy. As we follow Belly through her feelings for emotionally distant Conrad and his sweet, golden-boy brother Jeremiah, we feel the emotional vulnerability of life-long friendships changing their colour. We stand with Belly as she experiences the heart-fluttering moments of her first loves. As she starts to shed away from childhood and gain independence to try and navigate the world.

The relationships in the book The Summer I Turned Pretty are real. They remind us perfectly of the uncomfortable, albeit heart-pattering change of friendship to romance. The relationship between the Fisher family is united by love and genuine care, but it isn’t without its problems. The connection the characters have with each other comes to life and reminds us of our own friends and loves. This makes the book confidently more captivating.

Ultimately, The Summer I Turned Pretty not only lets us live through the summer of Belly’s life but also forces us to live through the parts of life that we so rarely see in this genre: the twilight. Significantly living with the characters as they try and live a typical summer while Susannah’s is coming to its twilight.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Jenny Han have other books?

Yes! Jenny Han currently has three trilogies, the most popular being To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. This series includes:

  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2014)
  • P.S I Still Love You (2015)
  • Always and Forever, Lara Jean (2017)

She also has a trilogy with Siobhan Vivian, Burn for Burn, including:

  • Burn for Burn (2012)
  • Fire with Fire (2013)
  • Ashes to Ashes (2014)

Does The Summer I Turned Pretty have a sequel?

It does, and even better yet, it has two! The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy includes:

  • The Summer I Turned Pretty (2009)
  • It’s Not Summer Without You (2010)
  • We’ll Always Have Summer (2011)
The book covers of the three books in the The Summer I Turned Pretty series

Does The Summer I Turned Pretty have LGBTQ characters?

The book doesn’t contain any explicit references to any characters being members of the LGBTQ community. You may be pleased to hear that the new Amazon adaption of the novel introduces a twist to a character’s sexuality.

Is The Summer I Turned Pretty a spicy book?

The short answer is no.

The novel has an age rating for ages 12+, so the spice is kept mild. There are some heart-fluttering kissing scenes which will definitely make your palms sweat after a period of ‘will-they, won’t-they?’.

Our Review

Bingeability – ★★★★★

The Summer I Turned Pretty is an emotional journey, paved with tears of joy and tears of heartache. The turbulent love triangle is heart-wrenching at times. If this were written by any other author but Jenny Han, we might not be able to imagine the turmoil that Belly experiences. However, Han proves herself in writing characters you can’t help but invest in and we experienced every ounce of pain and joy alongside Belly. We couldn’t put this book down! Every page turned itself.

Characters – ★★★★

Every character we meet in The Summer I Turned Pretty had a lasting impression throughout the pages of the book. They feel real in their flaws. Many reviews say that Belly seemed petulant and emotional at times but that’s part of what makes this book great. Moreover, no character is perfect and all the interactions feel real, even if it had us clenching the book and wanting to knock some sense into them at times. This book avoids the feeling of ‘teenagers written by a grown-up’ wherein the characters feel grown-up and wise beyond their years. There is still an element of childishness to many of them. The lasting waves of their childhood still not yet washed away.

Setting – ★★★★★

We can’t express it any better than this: we wish we spend our summers here too! Cousins Beach is the exact sort of place we wish we had spent our summers growing up. It perfectly encapsulates everything the book is about. The moving tide, the sand, the rocky waves: a place only ever touched by summer.

Storyline – ★★★★

This book was a surprising refreshment of the genre. Although ultimately a story about love and friendship, it doesn’t fail to have greater stakes at play. The storyline of the novel is not solely dependent on the relationships between love interests. Each character has their own thoughts, feelings, storylines, and development.

Overall Rating – ★★★★

The Summer I Turned Pretty is the perfect book to dive into if you aren’t quite ready for summer to end. It encapsulates the feeling of summer perfectly and creates its own wonderful universe within the season. Even on a rainy day, this book will bring the sun to your skin and you’ll be thrown back into the summers of your youth from the minute you open the page.

Did you enjoy The Summer I Turn Pretty as much as we did? Let us know!

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