Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1)
: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: May 5th 2009
Pages: 276
Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary
Purchase: The Book Depository

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 might just be too old for this book, but I can’t really understand the hype. It was a big letdown for me.

I listened to the audiobook of The Summer I Turned Pretty while on vacation in Greece. The one redeeming factor was the summer vibe of the book, which made it a perfect read while I was at the pool or lying on the beach. The descriptions and setting captured the spirit of summer perfectly.

Moreover, though it is often described as a romance, I liked that there was more to the story than that. The author doesn’t shy away from more serious topics like divorce or illness, even though the protagonist doesn’t always deal with such topics well.

But my god, everything else frustrated me so much.

For one, the protagonist is an absolute brat who acts childish and selfish. Belly deems herself the center of the universe and shows little consideration for others. Her relationship with her dad is strained and all efforts he makes are shot down by her. She invites her best friend to the summer house with the motivation that she herself will fit in better. She gets angry when she doesn’t get her way, for example when the person she’s with doesn’t want to go skinny dipping. Moreover, she’s incredibly whiny when it comes to the teasing by her older brother and the other boys, or the lack of attention she’s getting.

In addition, I’m not a fan of love triangles, so to find out that this book revolves around the protagonist not making up her mind about three boys almost made me lose it. It felt completely unnecessary and annoyed me to no ends. Not only is it unclear for the entire duration of the book which guy she’s actually into, two of those guys are brothers and she has a boyfriend. Moreover, though 14-year-old me would have probably swooned for a dark-haired, brooding guy like Conrad, now that I’m older (and hopefully wiser) I can state that he’s simply a jerk.

Don’t even get me started on the fact that the worthiness of characters seems to be entirely based on their looks, if the title of the book didn’t already give you a clue. If anything, I believe this isn’t the type of message that should be spread among teens and young adults. I strongly believe that a younger me would have really enjoyed this book. But at the time I also really liked Twilight and others books that I only identified as problematic as I got older. The Summer I Turned Pretty is just not my cup of tea.

The Summer I Turned Pretty






Writing style







  • Summer vibe
  • Deals with some serious topics


  • Protagonist is unlikeable
  • Love quartet
  • Spreads a weird message