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The Summer I Turned Pretty Book Review (2024)

Jenny Han

Exceptional writer Jenny Han was born on September the 3rd, 1980, in Richmond, Virginia, United States of America. Han is a very capable author whose works primarily fall into the children’s fiction genre and the Young Adult genre.

The most famous of Jenny Han’s works is her To All the Boys series. A full-length movie was adapted from the novel and was released in 2018.

The Summer I Turned Pretty Book

Life and Education

As we noted, Jenny Han was born and brought up in Richmond, Virginia. Her parents came from Korea, while Jenny, herself, is a Korean-American person. Jenny attended the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies, graduating in 1998.

Following graduation, Jenny Han went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her Master’s Degree in Creative Writing was received from The New School, in the year of 2006. At the present moment, Jenny lives in Brooklyn, NYC.


The first novel that Jenny ever wrote was in the children’ fiction genre and it was named Shug. Han was still at college; her following works were a part of her The Summer I turned Pretty which went on to become bestsellers. Now, let’s proceed to our book review.

The Summer Trilogy

This book is rightfully one of the most iconic works of authoress Jenny Han. It is a coming of age novel that touches the heart like not many books do; it is a deftly constructed novel and reading it is always enjoyable.

It is a part of a trilogy, as it is the first novel in the series. The book was published in the year of  2009. It a breezy two-hundred-and-seventy pages or so and can be read in a single afternoon.

Meeting the Characters

The main character of the novel is Isabel. Isabel is a fifteen-year-old who’s going to be turning sixteen in a little while. Each year, as it would have it, Isabel spends the summer at the beach house that Susannah, the best friend of Isabel’s mother, has.

Susannah, herself, has two children, both sons. The two of them are Conrad, the elder one, and Jeremiah. To the people that know Isabel more she is not Isabel, but Belly. The nickname might be a bit awkward or quirky, but with each page, the reader gets very much used to it. Nonetheless, Belly is an all-around fun character to read about.

Conrad and Jeremiah

Conrad and Jeremiah can’t exactly be any different. Conrad is an eighteen-year-old, with Jeremiah being sixteen. On the inside of things, Conrad is pretty unfriendly, subject to some mood swings, and can be a pretty grim person to be around. This doesn’t nor has deterred Belly from being head over heels for Conrad ever since she was a ten-year-old – that was the first time that they spent a summer at the beach house.

Jeremiah, on the other hand, is an outspoken, affable, amiable, and enthusiastic guy. Belly sees Jeremiah as the closest thing she has to a brother except for the fact that Belly does have an older brother, Steven.

How the Tables Have Turned

With Steven, Conrad and Joseph usually just leave Belly alone and they go wherever they prefer and have their own fun. To be frank, Belly is a bit immature, but she’s the youngest of the four, after all. Nonetheless, she has become used to the norm of being uninvolved in all the fun that the others have.

Well, the summer that is just ahead of Belly and the others might just be the one to tell a story much more different than the ones that preceded it. Exactly as one might have come to expect it based on the title of the novel, this summer is to entail a story where Belly is at the focus of things and events and finally not on the sidelines.

Different Treatment

As it turns out, the focus of Conrad and Jeremiah shifts more so towards Belly than towards the randomness of what the day would have it. As the narrative switches from past summers to the one happening now, we see the clear juxtaposition between how Belly was treated then and how she is treated now.

Accordingly, we see the characters as they had matured slowly, yet steadily. Jeremiah only moved towards being the markedly tender, compassionate, and humorous guy he is now, while it seems that Conrad only continued to grow in the mystery surrounding him – secrets abound surrounding him despite his young age. One can’t help but be drawn into the dynamic of the group in spite of the little quirks.

The Crux of the Story

Accordingly, while the main concentration of the novel is how the world around Belly changes as she steps into the glint of the limelight, the story deals with quite a few serious topics, as well. The significance of caring for one another; being a part of something bigger, be it family or friendship; but there is also a point dealing with the turbulent events surrounding cancer.

The story is sure to make the reader laugh and enjoy the proceedings. Belly is a hoot and a half to read about, but the sadder parts of the story are sure to bring forth a more emotional side of the reader, too. All in all, the novel is a very enjoyable read. Our The Summer I Turned Pretty book review has hopefully done the delightful story justice.

There’s More

This book has two more sequels and they follow the story of Belly. Accordingly, Jenny Han’s To All the Boys series is one to consider, as well. We covered one of the books of the series in our standalone article.

Alissa Wynn

Alissa is an avid reader, blogger, and wannabe writer. (She's a much better cook than a writer actually). Alissa is married, has one human, one feline, and two canine kids. She always looks a mess and never meets a deadline.