The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

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The Summer I Turned Pretty

by Jenny Han

Kindle Edition, 295 pages

Published April 2022 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Some summers are just destined to be pretty.

When each summer begins, Belly leaves her school life behind and escapes to Cousins Beach, the place she has spent every summer of her life. Not only does the beach house mean home away from home, but her favorite people are there: Susannah, her mother’s best friend, and her sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. Belly has been chasing Conrad for as long as she can remember, and more than anything, she hopes this summer will be different. Despite distractions from a new guy named Cam and lingering looks from Conrad’s brother, Jeremiah, Belly’s heart belongs to Conrad. Will he offer his to her? Will this be the summer that changes everything?

Trigger Warning: Cancer

I’ve been avoiding this book for years because as much as the synopsis appeals to me, the fact that almost everyone complained about Belly made me cautious. And I’m glad I decided to read it now instead of when it was first released, because I would definitely hated and DNF it ><

What I love the most about this book is how short and quick each chapters are, and how it flops back and forth between the present and past events relevant to the present time being told about. The chapters doesn’t really feel like they have any big plot or unifying storyline; it truly feels like a stream of consciousness of someone reminiscing the idyllic summers they had. It really works in bringing out the nostalgic and bittersweet feelings of the story.

Belly is as awful as everyone said she is, everything is truly about her and with how she always get jealous when the attention is not on her, how she always screamed and stuck her tongue out and throw tantrums everytime she didn’t get what she wants… It feels like reading from 13 years old perspective rather than 16. While I do get it being a great title, I guess it also tells a lot about Belly that she calls the that summer as “The Summer I Turned Pretty”, considering other events that happened 🤦‍♀️ The scene where Belly confronted Conrad was so awful and I got secondhand embarrassment.

Jenny Han’s track record in writing immature, spoiled characters are honestly concerning though, it makes me scared to pick up Burn for Burn 😬

I honestly don’t care about the other characters; Conrad, Jeremiah and Taylor were all pretty one dimensional. I’m more interested on the moms, Laurel and Susannah, their friendships and the things they’ve been through together! I would say that on the love triangle, I like Jeremiah better than Conrad.

(And yes, I’ve gone ahead and read spoiler-y review for the next two books so I know I will regret that statement. But at least in this book, Jeremiah is just so much better).

Will I read the sequel? Probably the second book, definitely not the third. Will I watch the series? Also undecided- I think it would be better not being in Belly’s head. Or worse, idk it remains to be seen.


14 thoughts on “The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

  1. It has been awhile since I read this book. I remember them being quick reads, but other than that, they didn’t really leave any lasting impression on me. Honestly, if I tried to read it now, I don’t think I’d be able to finish it.
    I’m also undecided on if I want to watch the show or not.


  2. I feel like TSITP is definitely a book of it’s time and it didn’t age well at all. But at the same time, developmentally it is socially acceptable and expected for teens to act like that. I can’t go back and read these books any more though I really want to watch the tv show just for the nostalgia factor.


  3. I’m sorry you didn’t like this one!! I haven’t read the book but tried to watch the show (it has this easygoing, breezy vibe but all the characters screamed CLICHE and I couldn’t continue)


  4. I’ve been avoiding this book since ages now. MOSTLY BECAUSE THE COVER LOOKS UGLY. But shhhhh the synopsis didn’t really interest me either?? But after reading your review I KIND OF WANT TO TRY IT?? I’m still pretty sure I’ll hate it BUT RANTING WOULD BE FUN, I GUESS?? oh and DID I MENTION I ABSOLUTELY LOVE YOUR REVIEW (negative reviews are just TOO MUCH FUN TO READ) AND ALSO YOUR ENTIRE BLOG IS JUST PERFECTION, OKAY?!! so excited to read more of your posts!!


  5. THIS IS SO RELATABLE!! The book just didn’t appeal to me and I wasn’t interested in reading it but because of the tv adaptation I gave it a chance and i was so disappointed. Not much happened and I felt like Belly didn’t have much chemistry with either brothers. I read the summery of the other books out of curiosity and I’m glad that I spared myself the time and disappointment


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