Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Book Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty, It's Not Summer Without You, and We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han

When I came across this trilogy at my library they seemed like a great summer read. The awkward girl caught between two brothers—what’s not to love? These books DID NOT disappoint. Here’s a summary of each: 

The Summer I Turned Pretty: Belly loves her time spent in Cousins Beach. Her family goes there every summer to hang out at the water and catch up with another family—her mom’s best friend and her two sons—Conrad and Jeremiah Fisher. Belly is the youngest of everyone and has always been the kid, the tomboy; not the pretty girl who turns boys’ heads. And she's secretively always been in love with Conrad. From one summer to the next, Belly transforms into a beautiful young woman. And the Fisher boys take notice. Belly is over the moon when it seems like Conrad might actually return her feelings. But he gives her mixed signals. So while she deals with his on-again-off-again feelings she grows closer in friendship with Jeremiah. But as it turns out, Jeremiah has a secret of his own.

It’s Not Summer Without You: Belly got a chance with one brother, at least for little while. But it didn’t last. So naturally, the other brother finds a new place in Belly’s heart. While Belly struggles with growing up and falling in love, Conrad and Jeremiah struggle with a medical situation in their family. Each brother handles their feelings over the situation differently—one even takes off leaving everyone to wonder where he is and if he’s alright. Belly tries to be there for both boys but it’s hard being caught in the middle. Ultimately she can’t shake the fact that she loves one of the brothers more than the other. So whose heart will she have to break?

We’ll Always Have Summer: Everything falls apart for Belly and the Fisher brothers when tragedy strikes. It changes everything this summer—the final summer that will be spent at Cousins Beach. No one even comes to the beach house—in fact, everyone seems to be going their separate ways. In the end Belly decides who she wants to be with. So will it be her longtime love, Conrad, or her longtime best friend, Jeremiah?

**Jenny Han expertly captures a season that always feels full of promise and love. 
Belly’s coming of age story is realistic and relatable and her ability to stand up to four boys her whole life while trying to grow up in front of them is well-written and thoughtful. The setting is described in a way that makes you feel like you are right there in Cousins Beach hanging out at the beach house and being a teenager yourself. Told with flashbacks to previous summers, you really get to know Belly and those she cares about. And you can’t help but fall in love with the Fisher brothers, each great in their own way. Han leaves you guessing who Belly chooses right up to the very end. The Summer trilogy is a nice read for any season about what it’s like to grow up, make tough choices, and keep close those you love.