The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han - Everything that happened this past summer, and every summer before it, has all led up to this. To now. Every year Isabel - Belly - spends a perfect summer at her family friends’ house. There’s the swimming pool at night, the private stretch of sandy beach... and the two boys. Unavailable, aloof Conrad – who she’s been in love with forever – and friendly, relaxed Jeremiah, the only one who’s ever really paid her any attention. But this year something is different. They seem to have noticed her for the first time. It’s going to be an amazing summer – and one she’ll never forget... From Amazon UK
With all the freezing cold weather we've been having in the UK recently, I fancied reading something that would make me feel warm - so what better than a holiday, summer read? I picked this book up half expecting to enjoy it - a love triangle is always enjoyable - but half expecting not to be wowed that much - light, summer reads are normally quick and enjoyable, but not much to write home about. How wrong I was! This book is just brilliant!
At first, I thought I was going to end up disliking it. It's not clear for a while exactly how old Belly is, and she felt quite young. I'm not really the best fan of novels for those at the beginning of the teenage spectrum. Although I'm a big kid, I've matured past that level, and find their interests - or at least the interests teens that age are pretrayed to have - well, uninteresting. And Belly seemed to be one of these young girls who worried about and liked things that just aren't me. But after a few chapters, I realised these were only small things, and she started to seem older. I came to really like her.
One of the things I really liked about this book was how every now and then, a chapter would be dedicated to a summer at the beach house from the past, and would say under chapter number how old Belly was at the time. They're not necessarily in chronological order, but they're linked to things that happen this summer, things that remind Belly of past holidays. It was great to see all the characters at various ages, to see their individual personalities stay pretty much the same, but see them mature.
This is more than just a light read, though. Serious issues are covered, like divorce and betrayal of friendship. It's not always smiles and laughter, there are a fair few sad moments, both in Belly's romantic situation, but also in the much bigger picture. There were so many times when I wanted to hug pretty much all the main characters, and even some of the side characters. For such a quick read, a lot of heart-string tugging moments are packed in, without it being depressing. Though I was close to tears at some points.
This really is a brilliant book! Sad and sweet and lovely all at the same time. A really, really good book, I can't recommend it enough. I'm really looking forward to reading the sequel, It's Not Summer Without You, which will be released in summer 2011. It's going to be awesome!
Thank you to Puffin for sending me a review copy.
Published: 3rd June 2010
Publisher: Razorbill UK
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Jenny Han's Website