Monday, July 9, 2012

Everything Has Changed • The Summer I Turned Pretty

Series: Summer #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 5, 2009
Source/Format: Bought || Paperback

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 wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

Since it's summer, I've been craving books that fit into my idea of summer reads - which means mostly contemporary books, sprinkled liberally with romance and places that I'd want to visit. THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY may have been published three years ago, but I still think it fits my criteria of a summer read to a tee. It's a beautifully written summer story - and I've fallen head over heels in love with it.

JENNY HAN seems to have pulled these real and relatable characters out of thin air. Belly, Conrad and Jeremiah, in particular, are certainly people I wish I had grown up with or had the good fortune to meet in my lifetime. They each have their charms - Belly is the girl on the threshold of a couple of life-changing things, Conrad is the mysterious one and Jeremiah is that guy next door you just want to be your best friend. 

Obviously, one of the things that drew me to the book was the promise of romance. And there are indeed romantic moments and some not-so-romantic-but-still-there's-something-there moments. I felt like this book was a slow burn kind of romance - I was in agony as much as Belly was while she was experiencing everything or recounting her experiences. It was definitely hard for me to figure out which boy I liked better, though for now, I'm definitely all for Conrad!

I also loved the idea of the beach house at Cousins Beach. While Ginger (who is awesome and fabulous and gives the best book recommendations, including this one) has told me that Cousins Beach doesn't exist in real life, a girl can still dream. It sounds like the perfect place to spend a summer - the beach, the small town, the house that belongs to the "summer" family. I love the idea of a place holding so much meaning and being treasured by a set of people - it made me treasure the beach house as much as Belly and the others did.

The one other wonderful tool that JENNY HAN employed in the writing of this story was the use of flashbacks. I loved how she worked in Belly's past experiences at the beach house and with the boys in the midst of what was going on in the present day. It added a little insight into the characters and into present-day events, making me feel like I had been with them on this journey for much longer than just a summer.

I know my thoughts seem to be all over the place, but I can't help gushing about this spectacular book. I'm a little late to the fandom, but I definitely recommend THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY as an addition to your summer reading list if you haven't read it yet. It's incredible - and I can promise you won't regret it!

(I'd like to give a special shout-out to Ginger for answering my tweets/DMs while I was totally fangirling over the book. It made my experience of the book even more special and I'm grateful!)

20 comments:

  1. I LOVE this series! Jenny's writing is beautiful and I agree with the "slow burning romance". It was so easy to connect with Belly and feel everything she feels. Glad you enjoyed it! :-)

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    1. Thanks DJ! It was the really good kind of romance, with a mix of history and of new feelings, and I thought it was very well done.

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  2. I love this series too! The whole time I was reading the series, I wished that I had a beach house like that to go to every summer. And I know what you mean about trying to figure out which guy I liked better. They're both good guys.. which makes it so hard! Glad you liked it :)

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    1. RIGHT? I think we should find a beach house and our own Cousins Beach. I have yet to read the second one, so for now, I'm pretty much Team Conrad ;)

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  3. Love love love this book! The whole trilogy, really. I read them in the middle of winter, though, so I really want to reread during summer. So glad you enjoyed it. :D

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    1. I think I love it even more because I read it during the summertime! I can't wait to get my hands on the next two books :)

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  4. Oh, Alexa! I loved this series SO, SO much! I couldn't help but read all three books in a day and a half. I swooned over the boys and ached when things got so complicated! I love Jenny's writing and I'm thrilled that you do, too!

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    1. After I finished this one, I wished I had bought the next two already so I wouldn't have to stop! I want to know what happens already!! So jealous you read all the books one after another ;)

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  5. This is the PERFECT review for this book. It just made me want to read the book all over again. It was made for summer.

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    1. That's EXACTLY how I feel about it - it's a perfect summer read. And thank you for the compliment! It means a lot!

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  6. Oh I can't wait to read this series! I won it from a giveaway a few months ago -- all three in the series. I've heard so many good things!

    Great review!

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    1. OH YAY! I'm so glad for you that you have all 3 already. When I finished the first one, I felt bad I didn't buy the next two. I'm dying to find out what happens to everyone!

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  7. I just bought this one two weeks ago, and I'm so excited to read it! It seems like everyone has loved this series, and relatable characters? LOVE 'em. :)

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    1. I loved it. I was worried because my expectations were high, but they were definitely met! It's such a good story :)

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  8. I really want to read his series especially after I read another book by Han and really liked it. I love the sounds of it and I really like when flashbacks are used (when they're done well) in a story. I find it can make it more tense and make us understand the characters better. Great review, Alexa!!

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    1. The flashbacks definitely help the reader get into Belly's head a little more, so I appreciated that they were in there. I hope you enjoy it!

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  9. Makes me even more anxious to read this! I've seen glowing reviews everywhere :)

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    1. Hope you get to read it soon! I highly recommend it as a summer read.

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  10. I absolutely LOVED this book!! I really enjoyed the second one, but I have to say the third one didn't work so much for me. But The Summer I Turned Pretty was AMAZING! It's such a cute summer read and I loved experiencing everything along with Belly. Even though I still can't get over the atrociousness that is that name *shudders*.

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    1. This first book is beautifully written. I have yet to read the second or third, but I can't wait. And yes, that name!!

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