The Summer I Turned Pretty Jenny Han Book Review

The Summer I Turned Pretty Jenny Han Book ReviewSummer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Series: Summer #1
Also in this series: It's Not Summer Without You, We'll Always Have Summer
Also by this author: To All The Boys I\'ve Loved Before, It's Not Summer Without You, We'll Always Have Summer
Published by Simon and Schuster on December 21st 2010
Genres: Adolescence, Family, Friendship, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon

Belly’s never been the kind of girl that things happen to. Year after year, she’s spent her summers at the beach house with Conrad and Jeremiah. The boys never noticed Belly noticing them. And every summer she hoped it would be different. This time, it was. But the summer Belly turned pretty was the summer that changed everything. For better, and for worse.

One staple of contemporary young adult literature is the beach setting. Jenny Han makes great use of the beach setting in her novel, The Summer I Turned Pretty, which explores the changes that come with adolescence and young love.

Every summer Belly and her family stay at her mom’s best friend Susannah’s beach house at Cousins Beach. Susannah has two sons around Belly’s age – Conrad and Jeremiah. Belly has always had a little crush, or to be more accurate been in love, with Conrad. This year, Jeremiah is vying for Belly’s attention as well. Previously Belly had never caught Conrad’s eye, but this year is different because Belly has grown up physically and is finally pretty.

The Summer I Turned Pretty is perfect for Sarah Dessen fans who have already read through Dessen’s back list and want something in a similar vein. Han’s book treads the line between heavy and lighthearted perfectly, with big issues but nothing that is overwhelming. There’s divorce, crushes, illness, all parsed out in manageable doses throughout the plot, in a way that feels true to life.

The romance in The Summer I Turned Pretty is expertly crafted. While Han gives the reader a love triangle, I felt as though either guy could be the ‘winner’, both have great qualities and annoying qualities. Conrad and Jeremiah are well drawn with three dimensional, realistic personalities, so one can absolutely see Belly’s dilemma. There is Conrad who is incredibly good looking and soulful, who acted as Belly’s defender when she was young. Then there is Jeremiah who is thoughtful, funny and kind. It is quite a hard choice to make.

As a character, Belly is easy to identify with. Who hasn’t had a childhood crush and went for what I consider, the wrong guy? Of course Belly makes some interesting choices that I might not always agree with, like dating someone who is NOT one of the brothers, but straight up, I liked her. I liked  that she went for midnight swims, too. I just wish that she had more meaningful female friendships within the book.

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to read The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han. There is a reason that it and it’s sequels are darlings of contemporary-loving readers. The Summer I Turner Pretty made me yearn for summers off, young love, and the beach.

Disclosure: Received for review via Amazon Vine.

Other reviews of The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han:

Kate’s Tales Of Books And Bands – “a wonderful job of mixing romance, beach scenes, some sad moments, and quite a few happy moments

Novel Sounds – “captures the essence of summer perfectly

Consumed By Books – “I feel conflicted about The Summer I Turned Pretty

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Yay, I saw in my inbox that you reviewed this. So glad you liked it. I kinda thought you would, but I was worried. And then you would have though, ugh, that girl is whack, how could she like this book. lol

    I agree on Belly not having any real close female relationships. That stuck out to me too, but some girls are just like that I guess. So it’s not inconceivable. I have a bunch of close girl friends though, so I always like seeing that in books.

    I just read a horrible knock off of this book. Pissed me off. The summer series cannot be copied. It’s just that wonderful. 🙂

    hope you have a great weekend!

  2. YAY! I’m so glad you loved this book. I hope you keep reading the series! This was one of the only books I can remember reading in a long time where the triangle didn’t piss me off because it didn’t seem as contrived, and the guys weren’t token good guy/bad guy. I felt like Conrad and Jeremiah had so many real qualities and were so individually crushworthy. I mean, I have my favorite, but it’s pretty close.
    I just bought all these books and I’ve been meaning to reread them because I love them so much. The minute I finished this first one I understood why the wait for them at my library was over a month EACH.

  3. Thanks for the great review! I’m not much of a contemporary romance reader, but I’ve heard so many good things about this book that it’s kind of clawed its way onto my TBR list! Thanks again! 😀

  4. I’m having trouble getting past the fact the protagonist’s name is “Belly” to be honest…

  5. Oh, oh, oh! I read this fairly recently as well, thanks to Ginger’s recommendation – and I loved it. I thought it was a great contemporary book, LOVED the setting, LOVED the brothers. I’m looking forward to reading book 2!

  6. You want to make me reread this book! I wished Belly had more meaningful female relationships too but otherwise, it was a lovely summer read. I love how Jenny Han wrote both of the boys because you could definitely see the appeal for them!

  7. Oh, I re-read this one and FEELS. The blurb on the front is definitely accurate: everything I could want in a summer.

  8. YES. That’s one thing. I totally related to this book because I was utterly in love with this older family friend FOREVER and would be so happy in the summer when I knew we would be swimming at each other’s houses all the time. UGH. It was pure torture. But good news! He became my first boyfriend eventually and then totally crushed my heart into tiny pieces!!!! YAYY! 🙂 But yes, I totally related to Belly. I did think the whole series was a bit soft though and could have dug a little deeper at times… but I still gobbled it up and have had an itch to reread this summer. 🙂 Glad you jumped on the bandwagon!

  9. woooooooot! I am definitely so, so glad you loved this book! I mean, really. Jenny Han’s writing was lovely. I would LOVE to see more from her hit the shelves (as an independent author, i.e. apart from Burn for Burn). I thought Jeremiah and Conrad both had their strengths too. I plowed through these so quickly. A re-read is in order for me soon. 🙂

  10. Great review! The reference to Sarah Dessen is spot on. I love this series and it’s one of my top recommendations for readers looking for a new contemporary series. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  11. Okay. First of all, I KNOW I need to read these books. I know Ginger loves them like WOW and everything. But I have books two and three and not one? WHY? BECAUSE I’M ASHELEY AND MAKE NO SENSE. I keep forgetting to get book one because why? I’m Asheley. I fully intend to read this series when I get book one. Ginger has NEVER let me down. NEVER.

    Sidenote: I just read my first Sarah Dessen book and didn’t LOVE it. Which makes me feel like I have a screw loose or something? I will continue reading her work, OF COURSE, supporting my NC authors. And also because I’m sure her stuff is excellent. I think I had my expectations all wrong. And I will read that one particular book again later, in case I love it the second time around.


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