The Summer I Turned Pretty - Jenny Han

There were things I loved about this book, including the title and the fact that the oh-so-wonderful Sarah Dessen endorsed it on the front.  If Sarah Dessen loved the book, then it must be good!  Right?  Unfortunately not.

The premise of the book sounded like it would be a Dessen-look-alike: the summer that changes a girl's life.  It started off interesting, with Belly arriving at her summer home, reconnecting with the two boys she shares her summer with (one of which she's been in love with since she was a young girl).  And something's happened to her this summer; she's pretty and all of the boys are noticing her for the first time.

There's something about Belly's character that I found a bit annoying.  Perhaps it's because she's the youngest child, but she's very whiny and juvenile (and she's 16).  As an oldest child, I don't know what it's like to have an older sibling, and an older brother at that.  So maybe it's just that I couldn't connect with her character.

Partway through reading the book, I flipped to the end of the book and read the author's bio on the inside back jacket.  Jenny Han has a degree in children's literature and that's when I realized what was really irritating me about the book.  It's very formulaic and almost reads like a book that's been specifically designed to appeal to teens: introduce love interest, introduce alcohol, have character resist alcohol because she doesn't want to have beer breath (seriously?!?), etc.  Very formulaic and predictable.  This book almost read like YA lit used to when I was a teen, with morals that were woven into the story, rather than modern YA lit that appeals to all generations.

But enough of that.  Here's hoping that I actually read a GOOD book this weekend while I'm cooped up inside, waiting for the snow to melt!


  1. I read this book before I had read any of Sarah Dessen's books, so I hadn't realized she was the person I saw on endorsing this book. But now that you pointed that out--I am a little disappointed because I love Sarah Dessen but I agree with you on many aspects of this book (and sadly the first book is by far the best of the series!)



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