Book: The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1) | Author: Jenna Han | Started: 5/15/14 | Finished: 5/16/14 | Rating: 3.5 stars
Synopsis: When each summer begins, Belly leaves her school life behind and escapes to Cousins Beach, the place she has spent every summer of her life. Not only does she the beach house mean home away from home, but her favorite people are there. Susannah, her mother’s best friend, and her sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. Belly has been chasing Conrad for as long as she can remember, and more than anything, she hopes this summer will be different. Despite distractions from a new guy names Cam and lingering looks from Conrad’s brother, Jeremiah, Belly’s heart belongs to Conrad. Will he offer his to her? Will this be the summer that changes everything?
My review: I have heard about this book on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Facebook. It seems that anyone that reads YA has read it. I didn’t really hear anything bad about it, so I thought that I should pick it up. Unfortunately, I didn’t connect with it the way other people did. The story was cute enough, some of the characters were fun and lovable, but there were just things that I could not look past.
For one, her name is Belly. Everyone calls her Belly. She is a 16 year old girl that is called Belly by everyone. It is so ingrained in minds that when someone calls her “Bells” she feels the need to say “oh yeah that’s another nickname of mine” like really? I had no idea! I’m not even sure why this bothers me so much, but I just couldn’t take her seriously. Maybe because I grew out of all of my embarrassing nicknames that I hated by the time I was 12. She’s even mentioned it that she doesn’t like it, so why not change it?
Did I mention she’s 16? Well turned sixteen during the book, but I’ve never known a 15/16 year old to stick their tongue out at people so often. Sure, occasionally I’ll stick my tongue out at the boyfriend if he is making jokes, but when someone makes me mad, the last thing on my mind is “I should stick my tongue out at them!”
The whole book, Jeremiah and Conrad and Steven are jerks to her and yet she complains every time that they don’t want to hang out with her. Look, I’ve been there. I have a brother close to my age and sometimes I want to hang out with them as well, but when they spend the whole time being jerks to me, I don’t ask a second time to hang out with them.
But ~Conrad~. I’m not even going into detail about this one. I could not stand him. I don’t know what she saw in him. I’m moving on from this one because I could go on a long rant about this one.
One summer, her friend, Taylor, went to the beach house with her. When she wasn’t secretly hating Taylor for being more confident than her, she was calling her a slut for hitting on Jeremiah. And then she called her a slut for kissing her brother. SHE IS YOUR BEST FRIEND AND YOU’RE GOING TO CALL HER A SLUT FOR KISSING SOMEONE? SOMEONE THAT YOU SHOULDN’T EVEN CARE ABOUT HER KISSING? IT’S NOT LIKE HE’S THE ONE YOU REFUSE TO SHUT UP ABOUT.
Then there’s Cam. I liked Cam. He was a nice guy and seemed to genuinely like Belly, but the whole time, Belly was wondering if Conrad was thinking about her or if he was jealous. So it was obvious she was only with Cam to make Conrad jealous. Good job on screwing it up with the one guy that isn’t sick of you. He wasn’t a jerk to you and yet you would rather be with Conrad because??? I honestly don’t know why. But I digress.
When she wasn’t talking about Conrad, and when she wasn’t dating Cam, she was trying to find out if she had feelings for the OTHER brother, Jeremiah. Yeah, that’ where I just started rolling my eyes. But Taylor said it best:
“Belly, you’ve got to pick one. You can’t have them both.”
Thank you Taylor, she needed to hear that. And then Conrad also called her out on it (the one time I didn’t dislike him):
“One minute you like me. Then Cam… And then Jeremiah. Isn’t that right? You want to have your cake and eat t too, but you also want your cookies, and your ice cream….”
Then there was her relationship with Susannah and her mother. Okay Belly, look, I don’t have a mom at all. You spend the whole book complaining about your mom, who loves you and is there for you, and you have Susannah on such a high pedestal. When someone buys you something, you automatically assume it’s Susannah because *gasp* your mom would NEVER do something like that. She’s an evil, wicked woman and Susannah is the only one that cares about you! She didn’t really start thinking her mom was a good person until Susannah had to tell her!:
“You’re the luckiest girl in the world to have her for a mother. Know that.”
Thank you, Susannah. Someone needed to tell her.
But then I tried to remember that she is only 15/16 (even though she has difficulty acting like it) and I remember how difficult crushes were back then (of course I didn’t have a mom that would help me through “heartbreak” but she did). She wasn’t a lovable character for me. I couldn’t connect with her. I saw her as a spoiled, whiny girl that needed to get over a stupid, unworthy guy.
In the end, I hope she grows up throughout the series and learns that the world doesn’t revolve around her. I’ll end up reading the rest of the series because I started it so why not, but I just hope that she is more mature in the next book.