My Rating: 2.4/5
The Summer I Turned Pretty
In the world of bibliophiles you’re bound to have books you absolutely adore and books you… simply don’t adore. Unfortunately for me, The Summer I Turned Pretty is one of those books.
Every Summer, Isabel “Belly” Conklin spends 3 months living in a beach house on Cousins Island with her mother, brother, and some family friends… the Fisher boys.
Growing up the youngest and only female in the summer home, Belly often turned to tantrums and tear-filled tattle tales to get what she wanted. But of course, this is a very special summer where everything changes! (Eye roll)
As soon as Belly steps out of the car on Cousins Island, both Conrad and his younger brother Jeremiah magically start to look and treat Belly differently. Like she isn’t the same immature girl they grew up with (remember this summer it’s different) instead she’s an older version of the immature girl they grew up with. See the difference?
Every other chapter has a flashback that gives sort of a backstory on what “topic” the present chapter deals with. Sort of like a “why things are the way they are.” The flashbacks are intended to show the reader an interaction between Belly and one of the many times from her youth at Cousins beach. The flashbacks reinforce the idea that “everything has changed,” but they usually end up with Belly acting like a child and
The thing about using the “everything has changed” motif is their has to be a clear difference between previous summers and the current one. Unfortunately, by the end of the summer there is no difference. Belly leaves the same immature girl as she came.
Those who enjoyed the book will argue that Summer I Turned Pretty is supposed to be the story of “teenage love” where everything is carefree and lighthearted and sweet.
The “idea” of a carefree summer love may be true in some aspects and the idea could work for some stories if the right characters are chosen, but it doesn’t work for Belly and her interests. Belly is simply too immature for any relationship that involves her caring for anybody but herself.
The entire book had both Belly and the reader trying to figure out who she was and after reading this book, one can confidently say that Belly Conklin is indecisive, selfish, and only hears what she wants to hear. As cliche as it sounds, Belly needs to find herself before she goes and finds love.
Overall, I don’t want to say the book was bad- cause it wasn’t. Personally, I believe I would have enjoyed the story better if Belly wasn’t spending the story obsessing over just one guy. She’s got a whole beach for goodness sake! She’s a young girl who claims this is the summer where everything is different. This is the summer she turns pretty!
If I had the new sense of confidence that Belly obtains, i wouldn’t be obsessing over the one guy who clearly doesn’t like me back. I’d go find someone who appreciates me for me!
And for a while, it seems that Belly does this- she forgets her childhood crush, she finds herself and finds someone who likes her for who she is, but of course she gets caught in hurricane that is Conrad Fisher.
The Summer I turned pretty had the potential to become a great YA coming of age story or a sweet summer romance, but ultimately it stands as yet another unrealistic YA contemporary novel where the reader can guess the entire plot just by reading the back cover.
But seriously if you guys disagree, comment the heck out of this post. I wanna know everyone’s opinions!