Reviews for Summer I Turned Pretty
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Fall
Belly has always loved summers at the beach house with her mother's friend Susannah and Susannah's sons Jeremiah and Conrad. For years, the boys have seen Belly as a little girl, but the summer she turns sixteen marks a new beginning, with everyone noticing Belly's blossoming prettiness. In this breezy summer romance, Belly is a believable character--childish at times, empathetic, and effervescent. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2009 April #2
Han's leisurely paced, somewhat somber narrative revisits several beach-house summers in flashback through the eyes of now 15-year-old Isabel, known to all as Belly. Belly measures her growing self by these summers and by her lifelong relationship with the older boys, her brother and her mother's best friend's two sons. Belly's dawning awareness of her sexuality and that of the boys is a strong theme, as is the sense of summer as a separate and reflective time and place: Readers get glimpses of kisses on the beach, her best friend's flirtations during one summer's visit, a first date. In the background the two mothers renew their friendship each year, and Lauren, Belly's mother, provides support for her friend--if not, unfortunately, for the children--in Susannah's losing battle with breast cancer. Besides the mostly off-stage issue of a parent's severe illness there's not much here to challenge most readers--driving, beer-drinking, divorce, a moment of surprise at the mothers smoking medicinal pot together. The wish-fulfilling title and sun-washed, catalog-beautiful teens on the cover will be enticing for girls looking for a diversion. (Fiction. 12-14) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 April #4
This well-written coming-of-age story introduces 15-year-old Isabel, aka Belly, for whom summer has always been the most important time of year: it's when her family shares a beach house with her mother's best friend, Susannah, and her two sons. Like Belly's older brother, Steven, Susannah's boys have always thought of Belly as their younger sister. But this summer--"It was the summer everything began"--is different. One brother, Jeremiah, is suddenly interested in Belly, but she has always had a crush on dark and unattainable Conrad. And then there is Cam, also spending the summer at the beach, who becomes Belly's first boyfriend. Han (Shug) realistically balances Belly's navet with her awareness of the changes the years have brought ("In some ways it was even harder being the only girl back then. In some ways not"). Anecdotal chapters of past summers are interspersed, rounding out Belly's character, her attachment to Susannah and her desire for the boys to include her. First in a planned trilogy, Han's novel offers plenty of summertime drama to keep readers looking forward to the next installment. Ages 12-up. (May) [Page 133]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2009 April
Gr 7-10--Romantic and heartbreakingly real, this novel follows 15-year-old Belly through the most important summer of her life. Every year, her family shares a beach house with Belly's mother's best friend, Susannah, and her two sons. Belly has always had a crush on Conrad, the older boy, but he has always treated her like an annoying younger sister. This summer, everything changes. The beautifully written novel captures Belly's realization that she is changing into an attractive young woman with a growing power over the boys in her life. They include Cam, the "nice" boy she should fall for but doesn't, and Jeremiah, Susannah's younger son. Only Conrad is seemingly immune to Belly's charms. Meanwhile, Susannah and her family are dealing with problems that Belly does not fully comprehend. Flashbacks to previous summers show her struggles to make Conrad and Jeremiah notice and include her, and how hurt she was when they didn't. The novel perfectly blends romance, family drama, and a coming-of-age tale, one that is substantially deeper than most, but it will still satisfy those hoping for a soapy story of summer love. Belly's discovery that you can't always choose who you love will appeal to readers, as will the author's expert evocation of a magical time when absolutely anything could happen.--Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Unified School District [Page 134]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2009 August
All her life, Belly (short for Isabel), her older brother Steven, and their mother Laurel have spent the summer months with her mother's lifetime best friend, Susannah Fisher, and her two boys, Conrad and Jeremiah, at the Fisher's beach house in Cousins Beach. Belly has always adored Susannah, idolized Conrad, and been friends with Jeremiah. As she approaches her sixteenth birthday, not only are Conrad and Jeremiah treating her differently, she is also being noticed by other boys. Although Belly could vainly say "so many boys, so little time," the truth is that they have never before seen her that way. Now that everything is changing, Belly's head is spinning. How can she know who she really loves, and in what way? How can she sort through the intersections between love and friendship, want and need, and the past, present and future With flashbacks of past summers interwoven with this particularly memorable and momentous summer, this novel chronicles the complexities of intimate relationships through Belly's first-person narrative. Despite the ambiguous and potentially unsatisfying ending, richly developed characters bridge an idyllic summer setting with the starker realities of life, much as gentle summer vacation fantasies must ultimately give way to the demands of daily life. Although most obviously a precursor to adult chick-lit books, this poignant summer tale is equally appropriate for male readers learning to navigate changing relationships with male and female friends and family.--Kim Carter 4Q 3P M J S Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.