The Summer I Turned Pretty
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
April 6, 2010
(I’m linking the paperback version-with the Amazon link-and giving that info b/c Amazon does not have the audio for sale currently)
Belly (technically her name is Isabelle but no one calls her that, especially not at the summer house) lives her life for the summers.
Each of her summers, since the very first, fifteen-year-old Belly has spent with her mother, her older brother Steven, their mother, their mother’s oldest best friend Susannah and her two boys Jeremiah and Conrad at the beach house in Cousins.
Those weeks at the beach with everyone together are the best of Belly’s year. The days she counts down to and the ones she wants never to end.
But this year everything’s changing. With Belly fifteen and each of the boys just enough older than her, everything is suddenly different. But suddenly seems like everything changing might not be all that bad, at least not all the time.
The Summer I Turned Pretty is definitely a book about growing up. Told with a lot of flashbacks of Belly, Steven, Jeremiah, and Conrad’s time at the beach together as they grew up, readers get a sense not only of who they are now, but how they got there.
We know how their relationships formed and what they used to be like around each other before they became teenagers. Before ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ mattered and they were just kids who enjoyed the summer with each other.
Maybe it’s just the audio version, but the way the flashbacks would start and stop seemingly in the middle of scenes left at least this one reader momentarily confused several times.
The idea, though, that the group only sees each other over the summer does call for flashbacks so that we can see the different adventures—and mundane activities- they’ve had.
When both author Jenny Han and narrator Jessica Almasy really hit their stride, however, is when the story gets emotional. The writing really pulls the reader in and you feel exactly what the characters is feeling and Almasy’s narration brings you to tears. (This is especially true around Chapter 42.)
(On a personal note, I’m very happy I listened to the audio version of this because now I not only want to read the second book in this series very, very much but I am looking for more audio books from the same narrator.)
Rating: 7/10 (because it started off slow but the ending really pulls you in and won’t let you go until you agree to read the rest of the series!)