The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han (2009)

summer_i_turned_prettyIsabelle, nicknamed Belly, lives for summer because she spends every one at Cousins Beach with her mother, her mom’s best friend, Susannah, and Susannah’s two boys, Conrad and Jeremiah.

For Belly, it’s always been Conrad, the older brother two years her senior. Handsome, brooding and a winner at all he attempts, Belly has always loved him. It isn’t until the summer of her 16th year that Conrad notices her though.

Constantly left out of the boy’s activities, this summer promises to be different. For the first time, everyone seems to be noticing Belly, including Jeremiah.

Through flashbacks, readers see key moments from previous summers. But what will it mean for Belly’s future?

This is a light, breezy read that will appeal to chick lit readers. In terms of quality, it ranks closer to the Twilight end rather than the Sarah Dessen end, unfortunately.

Belly, testing the kiddie end of the romance pool, fails to impress, defining herself in terms of Conrad and loving him while I could hardly tolerate him. Conrad’s the guy you get over if you have any sense, not the guy you stick with. You’ll just end up 35 with two kids and no relationship with your husband who is having an affair.

Cam, Belly’s boyfriend for most of the summer and the only upstanding man in the whole novel, gets the shaft. While I’m sure teen girl readers will be pulling for Conrad, I couldn’t help but think this was another vanilla girl desiring the most needy, least deserving character. Blah.

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