The Summer I Turned Pretty

This was a three-in-one for probably $7 at Target, so obviously I had to buy it.  I thought the title was kind of silly, but Jenny Han you proved me wrong.  I was so engaged in this, it’s not even funny. I read all 851 pages in a day and a half.  I had to pause to work, but what can you do?

Our narrator is Belly (If you’re like me and your first thought was “what kind of a name is that?”, have no fear.  Her real name is Isabel.  It only took 111 pages to find that out).  Belly has spent every summer of her life on the beach in Cousins. She goes with her brother Steven and her mom Laurel to Suzannah’s house.  Suzannah is Laurel’s best friend, and Suzannah’s boys, Conrad and Jeremiah, are Belly and Steven’s best friends. 

Belly has always trailed after the boys, as the youngest and the only girl.  The summer she turns sixteen, however, something has changed.  She has always loved Conrad, and she thinks he might feel something for her as well.  The problem is that Jeremiah seems interested in her too.  There are bigger problems though, when Belly learns that Suzannah’s cancer is back, and she isn’t doing well. 

In book two, It’s Not Summer Without You, Suzannah has passed away.  Although the four friends promised they would always meet in Cousins, they know it’s not the same– Suzannah was the glue that held everyone together.  The sort-of relationship Belly has with Conrad is crumbling, but when he goes missing, she agrees to help Jeremiah find him.  And so they find themselves back in Cousins at the beach house after all. 

Conrad wasn’t as lost as he seemed.  He wanted to save the beach house his father was trying to sell, and he does.  When it comes to getting himself back on track though, he needs Belly and Jeremiah to help get him there.  And when Belly realizes that she has feelings for Jeremiah, things get continually more complicated.

By book three, We’ll Always Have Summer, Belly and Jeremiah have been together for two years.  They have big plans for the future, but Belly always has the niggling thought in the back of her mind, that part of her still loves Conrad and wonders if he loves her too.  All of their relationships are tested.  Belly will be with one of the boys, but which one?

This book is full of characters to love.  Belly is a confused girl, but she cares about those around her and wants to keep them all in their blissful summer paradise.  Conrad is dark and moody, but he’s the protector and far more sensitive than he lets on.  Jeremiah is the charming one, who brightens any situation and makes everyone feel special.  Steven pretends to dislike Belly, but will do anything to see her happy.  Suzannah and Laurel have so much strength and love for each other. 

This series reminded me of Anna Todd’s After series in some ways, in how involved I felt in the relationships.  It is a young adult series so it’s rated PG, but it was so entertaining.  I felt myself have a mini heartache on Belly’s behalf multiple times. 

I bought it because it was cheap, but it’s easily one of my favorite reads so far this year. 

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