The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
For about-to-turn-sweet-16 Belly (no one calls her Isabel), summers at the beach is where her real life happens. The rest of the year pales to comings-and-goings of the large rambling seaside house, populated by two best-friend mothers and their two children each for the three months of summer. Belly is the youngest, and the only girl, and she likes that just fine.
This summer, however, everything changes. Belly has lost her glasses, gained a few curves, and is suddenly not the just the little sister figure everyone can ignore. But not only is she older, but that means the boys she has known her whole life are changing too.
Her brother Steven is off to college in the fall, Jeremiah and Conrad, too, are different this summer. She hears tension and even arguments between her mother and her best friend Susannah. And Susannah’s husband who usually appears on weekends never makes a single appearance. Most importantly in her typically self-absorbed teenage world, Belly’s forever-crush on Conrad just might finally be waning, especially when she meets Cam.
Summer is Korean American Jenny Han‘s second novel. While Shug was fluffy fun, Summer is a sighing, dreamy pleasure. Han captures Belly’s achingly feeling-full, most-important-summer-of-her-life with an alternating lightness and aching depth. Closing that final page, you can’t help but take an especially long exhalation, as if you’ve been holding your breath for a long time. Summer is apparently the first of a planned trilogy. Hope volume 2 debuts soonest.
Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult