Monday, 20 January 2014

(Review) The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1) - Jenny Han

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty
Author: Jenny Han
Format: epub
ISBN 9781416968238
Publisher: Simon and Schuster 
Date Published: May 05, 2009

Summary (from Goodreads)
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.

Many of my fellow rosy bloggers on Tumblr have listed this book as their favorite, and as much as I admit to reading YA, I have not heard of Jenny Han nor this book before. I've been warned about Belly’s less-than-charming attitude towards certain situations in the book but that wasn't nearly enough to dissuade me from reading.

First off, Jenny Han’s writing is simplistic with enough descriptions for the imagery. I think it complements Belly’s personality really well and it also gave the whole story a realistic feel. I’d like to find a teen that talks like they’re always in deep contemplation during summer at a beach-front house! It was in-depth enough to give dimension to the characters, although some points i felt like the issues that connected the elders with the teens were dropped on to the reader a bit slowly and then all at once. 

Second, Belly’s attitude is a bit off-putting. I think that confrontation with her and Conrad really hit the nail on the head. Or maybe I just need to cut her some slack for acting like a fifteen-year-old who was mostly confused with how to deal with her emotions. And it wasn't like Conrad was any better. They had shitty attitudes, but that just lends the story more realism and I think that’s part of the appeal of the book. I've seen many people profess their hate for Belly, but personally I think if she was written out to be any less imperfect than she is, it would have been boring. A completely-pleasant girl in a love triangle with hot boys with the sun and sea in the backdrop would have put me off!

Lastly, not only does it deal with real-life issues like parental divorce and illness, I think it’s one of the best coming-of-age stories in the way that it doesn’t sugarcoat the inevitable changes in one’s life. I am excited to pick the next book in the series when I can, the end left me both satisfied and curious!


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