Genres: Young adult, romance, contemporary.
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 terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.
Reading The Summer I Turned Pretty is like watching an episode of The OC or One Tree Hill and wishing that you were there to attend bonfire parties whilst wearing college sweatshirts, and have beautiful boys to run around with on the beach. It’s like reading a Taylor Swift song that has been novelised. I don’t know about you, but I personally love all these things; idealistic and cutesy.
This is a fun, girly, summery novel that also touches on more serious aspects than teenage summer romances – divorce and cancer, which made me tear up at times. The book alternates between the present summer and summers from when Belly – Isabel, was 9 years old. Each flashback chapter relates to a particular discussion, moment or experience that she found memorable, one that built her. At times, Belly can be extremely self-centered, superficial, selfish, unthoughtful, ignorant and immature, but we have all been this way at once point. We’re all hypocrites at times; it’s all just part of growing up. In this novel, we watch Belly grow up, summer by summer, and we root for her even though we don’t always like her.
Now, for the boys: Belly’s main love interest (or should I say, obsession?) is Conrad but I was more fond of Jeremiah, who I thought was sweet and thoughtful. He’s the sort of guy I’d be happy to introduce to everyone whilst Conrad is the opposite and generally spends most of the time keeping his feelings to himself and being moody. I couldn’t see the appeal nor understand all the fuss. In the next book, I’ll be rooting for Belly and Jeremiah.
I’ve already begun the sequel, It’s Not Summer Without You, and I’m curious to see what Belly experiences in her next summer.
“Victory is a thousand times sweeter when you’re the underdog.”
My Rating: ★★★★