"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."-goodreads
I have had several people recommend I read this book. It looked cute. It looked like one of those very straightforward, predictable, fluffy beach reads. I was in the mood for a light read, so I thought I'd pick this up. I was wrong. I still enjoyed it. It was still a tad light/girly/fluffy at times, but, it was MUCH more.
Read the description, think of the title, take a look at the cover. You can't tell me you don't think the plot is like this: Girl hangs out with two boys for her whole life. They're friends, but, girl discovers that she'd like them to be MORE than friends. Girl falls in love with one/both of the boys. Yay. It works out. Dundundun blahblahblah happily ever after! However, the people that recommended me this book told me it was a lot more than what it sounded like, and I believed them. I'm so glad I believed them.
There are much deeper issues in this book. The plot is not straightforward. Most importantly, THE WRITING. The way the story was told, just the way it was written, that's probably my favorite part. The whole book takes place in summers. The main part of the book is in the summer where Belly is almost 16, but as the story progresses there are chapters of flashbacks to previous summers, with related stories to what's going on now and I loved that! It contributed so much important back story when it was needed and helped explain how everything was the way it was. The writing itself is really good too, distinct and clear.
I really appreciated that there were deeper themes and problems running through the book, parent's separations, divorces, and the lack of a father figure: complex family relationships. The impact of Belly's ever-since-she-was-little crush on Conrad. Susannah's illness. They all made this book more complicated, in a good way, and brought deep emotions out in all of the characters.
I really don't have anything bad to say about this book. I'm actually not the biggest fan of the main character, Belly, because I thought she was a little bit hard to connect to because she's a little bit whiny and she just had... interesting logic at times, but I think she was still pretty realistically a teenage girl, and her emotions felt real. I didn't mind that Belly annoyed me sometimes, it doesn't really impact my opinion on the book.
Overall, The Summer I Turned Pretty is a beach-y, coming of age sort of novel with actual substance. It's not your average fluffy-girly-beach book. I'm really looking forward to reading the second one. Read it. :)