Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

The Summer I Turned Pretty
Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Released: May 5, 2009
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 288
Source: Library
Series: Book 1 of Summer
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 wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.
Living in South Louisiana means I have a love/hate relationship with summer. Summers in Baton Rouge are sweltering with 100% humidity and heat indexes of over 100 degrees. So, needless to say, when fall finally does roll around, most Louisianians are dying for a break. I know I always look forward to cooler weather - opening all the windows, wearing long sleeved t-shirts, and eating gumbo are a few of my favorite things. But despite my open arms, I am a product of my own environment and tend to be hot-blooded. So when the thermostat drops below 72, I am covered in goosebumps and shivering. It's really pathetic, but picking up a beach read usually helps. So when I didn't get a chance to read The Summer I Turned Pretty back when it was warm, I was glad I could use it to warm up now.

Jenny Han's sophomore novel is just what we wish every summer could be: perfect. It's exactly the right blend of sweetness and heartache, innocence and maturity. If this book were a person, I'd want it to be my very best friend. What may at first seem like a fluffy beach read, I soon realized was anything but. The Summer I Turned Pretty is a story of growing up, growing apart, and coming together in the end. It's a story about family, the ones we're born with and the ones we choose.

This book made me feel so much. It was beautifully written - the way Jenny Han made these characters so multi-dimensional was mind-boggling. I kept expecting them to jump up off of the page. And her flip-flop of present day and flashback story-telling definitely kept me on my toes. It gave such an in-depth look at each of the characters that I was able to better understand their struggles. I cared about all of them almost equally because of the way the author was able to give depth to each and every character.

Overall, The Summer I Turned Pretty is a deep and thoughtful story full of smiles and tears - the definition of bittersweet. Lucky for me (and you) book two, It's Not Summer Without You, is already out. I can't wait to snatch it up. The third and final installment of the Summer series, We'll Always Have Summer is scheduled to release in May.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds amazing! I confess, I've never even heard of this book until now.


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