The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han.
Paperback, 276 pages.
First Published May 5, 2009.
Published by Simon & Schuster BYR.
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 picked this one up expecting it to be a nice, light read. It wasn't. Not really.
The emotions in this book run wild. There is a lot of love and loss and hurt and jealousy (and on and on) to deal with. Sometimes I felt it. Jenny is a wonderful writer and she really expressed Belly's feelings and wants well. Even when I didn't like Belly because she was being a brat or something similar, I still saw what she was feeling underneath her defensive, quick to react exterior. My issue with this book is that I didn't really connect with it. I didn't love any of the characters. I liked some, like Susannah and Jeremiah, and Cam, a boy Belly meets on the beach. I just never felt any really strong emotions for them. As for the other characters... meh. I didn't care all that much for them. I could see how they struggled and how they hurt, but it never felt true enough for me. Especially from Belly's mom and from Conrad and even at times from Belly. The characters were really hit or miss.
The plot was also pretty hit or miss. I really devoured some scenes because I was curious as to what would happen next, but other just felt slow and while that pace fits for a beachy, summertime read, that's not really what this book was. I don't really have much more to say about the plot because it just kind of happened. It happened and I'm over it. I feel bad for saying that, but that's how I feel.
I will say that the ending surprised me. I had expected it to go a different way, and I was unfortunately left feeling almost a little indifferent. I guess this is where the "wish I had connected more" comes in. It was good. It surprised me. It just didn't get to me. I wish I had liked it more because the first book I read by Jenny Han was Shug, and it was great. This one just wasn't quite right for me. Good, but nothing special.
So I'll go with 3 stars on this one.