The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han, Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing, 2009, 288 pp, ISBN: 1416968237
Belly has spent every summer of her life at the beach house with her mom, her brother, Beck (her mom's best friend), and Beck's boys Jeremiah and Conrad. And for pretty much most of those years, Belly has been in love with Conrad. Never mind the fact that she has always been the little sister, destined to be a tag-along, always hoping that the boys would ask her to join in on the fun.
But this summer promises to be different. Everyone is looking at her in a new way - including both Jeremiah and Conrad. This is the summer that Belly has finally turned pretty, and everything in her life is about to change.
Are you kidding me?? Like Audrey, Wait!, The Summer I Turned Pretty is another book that was immediately on my radar when I began blogging. For whatever reason, it took me nearly a year to finally read Belly's story. What the heck did I wait so long for??
Regardless of the fact that I read mostly YA, I read very little "chick lit YA." I don't tend to read very many books that appear to be mostly romance, because I feel a strong pull to read more books that appeal equally to both boys and girls. HOWEVER, this little chick lit gem was truly worth waiting for.
Belly actually reminded me so much of me. I took forever to evolve into a girl who anyone would look at twice, and I distinctly remember the summer when that started to change a little bit. On top of that, my life has always revolved around my summers. My dad directs a summer camp and I would spent 9 months out of every year just fervently wishing for the day that summer, and my summer friends, would finally arrive. Throughout the entire story I kept wishing that I could give Belly just a little advice, because I felt so strongly that I knew just where she was coming from.
Savannah and Laurel - the two mothers in this story - were such a welcome addition. My own mother is one of my very best friends and I always wish that YA lit would offer up more positive familial relationships, particularly between girls and their moms. I thought it was a special treat to see such a warm, comfortable relationship between Beck and her two sons.
Belly's relationships with Jeremiah, Conrad, and Cam were all equally engaging. Each boy represented something uniquely different to Belly, and each had his pros and cons. When I got to the last few pages, I could honestly hardly contain myself. I think that this is maybe the most excited I've ever been for a sequel that wasn't Catching Fire or Mockingjay!
If you are looking for an absolutely perfect, romantic read, with completely authentic characters and plot developments, check out The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han. You will be so happy you did!