Author: Jenny Han
Series: Summer, book one
Release Date: March 5th, 2009
Rating: 5 Stars
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.
I just finished this series, in about 3 nanoseconds, it feels like. OH MY GOSH. Can I be Belly? Can I have the perfect summers with the boys and the house and Susannah and the beach?
The books are centered around a house, a beach house that becomes the heart of the books. Right away in The Summer I Turned Pretty, I was sucked in by Belly's love for the house and her time there. It made me long for that beach house to call my summer home.
I was in the bookstore the other day, reading the blurb of the book, and some random lady came over to me, raving about how amazing the book was, so I figured I would give it a try. At first, I thought "this lady must not like meaningful and thought-provoking books", but I was so wrong. Despite the innocent sound of the title, I was emotionally sucked into Belly's world, and left with a giddy and sad heart. All of my emotions were wrapped up in this book, just like all the possible emotions were wrapped into the books pages. Belly's heartbreak, hope, calm, love, anger- it was all over the pages, baked in with love by Jenny Han.
In the first story, The Summer I Turned Pretty, I found myself falling for Susannah's character, wishing she was my aunt or family friend. Her character was developed so well in the first book, it carried her spirit throughout the other books when she wasn't as present. Belly's innate love for Susannah, in the motherly type of way, made me feel the same for her.
Belly, although it was a strange name that made me somewhat turned off from the book at first, made me want to be her. Her hidden strength and inner turmoil made me want to be a better person, more like her. Especially when she was compared to her fashionista best friend, I saw how materialistic I could be, and how much I would rather change some things about me in order to be a more "chill" person like Belly.
Jeremiah. He was the right guy for Belly, her best friend. He was kind of the Jake of Awkward, the nice boy, the better choice. Still, I was with Belly, still having to tear her thoughts away from Conrad.
I found the brother love triangle very intriguing, because usually it's just two random boys. Being brothers, I think it made the triangle less predictable and more panicking, because either way, she would have to continue seeing both brothers, but break one of their hearts.
Overall, I thought the trilogy was awesome, and the first book just set it off perfectly, and by the end of the third book, I had to tell myself not to cry.