[Review] The Summer I Turned Pretty - Jenny Han

Title of Book: The Summer I Turned Pretty
Author: Jenny Han
Series: Summer #1
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Year: 2009
Language: English
Format: Hardback
Pages: 276

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.


The Summer I Turned Pretty is the first book in the Summer trilogy. It’s a contemporary Young Adult series by Jenny Han, whom you probably already know from her other contemporary series To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. This series follows Isabel Conklin, or Belly, and her summer experience. Every summer, her family likes to spend the holiday in a summer house in Cousins with her mother’s best friend’s family, Savannah Fisher. Savannah has two sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. Belly has been spending summer with her brother Steven and the Fisher boys for as long as she remembers. However, the summer she turned into a teenager and not seen as a little girl anymore, things got complicated. She’s caught in a love triangle between Conrad and Jeremiah. That is basically the premise of this book.

I’ve heard many good things about Jenny Han. I know she’s more popular with her Lara Jean series but I read good reviews of this series even before Lara Jean series published. So I decided to start exploring Han’s works from the summer trilogy. My first impression is this book is easy to read which works in my favor because when I started this book, I just came out of an intense read. Going in, I already knew that there’s a love triangle in this series. Most people would be put off by that but I was looking for an easy drama, not a life-and-death or super-intense drama, and this book delivers.

The title of the series describes the book perfectly. The whole book does scream summer. The cover, the setting, the atmosphere, and the conflict are the embodiment of summer. To me, instead of being relatable, I would call it a perfect escapism. Although relatable is a quality that sometimes being equivalent to a good read, I’m not saying that this book is not good because it’s not relatable to me. It’s more because where I live we don’t have summer holiday so I never experience the summer vacation vibe. Hence I called this book as a perfect escapism and that’s a compliment. If I’m looking for a read that would make me feel the summer euphoria, I’d totally pick this book.

This book is narrated by Belly herself in present day and sometimes flashback to a summer on her certain age. Belly is immature and can be unlikable at times. Funny thing that I just realize is, had I read it when I was younger, I probably would not tolerate Belly and immediately thought her annoying. Now, reading her voice what’s on my mind is I can see how people would not like her, but it’s kind of understandable to me. She’s a teenager after all and teenager can be annoying. I know I was that annoying back then. So I don’t mind at all.

All in all, I enjoyed reading The Summer I Turned Pretty. My take on my reading experience with this book is, you have to take it as it is. It’s a fluffy contemporary romance book. Yes, the main character can be annoying but she’s only fifteen. Yes, it’s a love triangle but it’s a contemporary young adult book about someone’s summer experience after all. Of course you’re bound to get involved in a complicated romance growing up. If you pick this book aware of those and not overthink it, you’d enjoy reading this book as well. As for me, I will totally continue reading the series until the end. 

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