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A Sun-Kissed Season of Self-Discovery: The Coming-of-Age Tale of “The Summer I Turned Pretty”

book review

Pack your sunscreen, swimsuits, and sarcasm, readers, as we’re diving headfirst into a whirlpool of teenage drama, golden rays, and coastal romance! “The Summer I Turned Pretty” by Jenny Han allows us to ride the emotional tidal wave of a transformative summer. So, get ready to witness young love, passion, and meltdowns as Han unravels a story of self-acceptance, friendship, and the delicate nature of life’s inevitable transitions.


Picture this: sandy shores, sunny days, and enchanting summer nights. Sixteen-year-old Belly has spent her entire life surrounded by the annual summer vacations at her family’s beach house in Cousins Beach, alongside her mother, brother, and her mother’s lifelong friends–Susannah and her devilishly handsome sons, Conrad and Jeremiah.

But this summer turns out to be different. As the season unfolds and temperatures rise, Belly soon realizes that she’s attracting the attention of those around her, including the dreamy Conrad and adorable Jeremiah. A series of dramatic twists and turns laden with swim-suit-clad scenes, laughter, and a dash of teenage bitterness transforms Belly’s life forever.

Discover the magic of summer love as Belly navigates the emotional roller coaster of adolescence, friendship rivalries, and the undeniable truth that life as she knows it is changing before her very eyes.

Notable Quotes:

  1. “Moments, when lost, can’t be found again. They’re just gone.”
  2. “The thing is, it was a really good summer. It might have even been the best summer I’d ever had. The best one until the next one, anyway.”
  3. “Just because a girl is sad doesn’t mean it’s your fault. She could be sad because she’s going through a growth spurt, or because she watched a TV show that reminded her of being a kid, or because she read a sad book. You never know.”

My Review

Delivered with wit and charm, “The Summer I Turned Pretty” captures the essence of adolescence in a beautiful coming-of-age story. Han’s sun-soaked prose and eloquent storytelling suck you into a world of beachside drama, blushing romance, and impending growing pains against the backdrop of life in a summer paradise.

Belly as a protagonist is both relatable and infuriating as she rides the wave of transitioning from a young girl to a young woman, caught between her childhood innocence and the complicated world of romantic entanglements and family dynamics. As a reader, you’ll laugh, cringe, and maybe even shed a tear, experiencing the full spectrum of emotions as Belly grapples with the reality of letting go of the past and embracing the future.

While “The Summer I Turned Pretty” may not be an intellectual marvel or a literary classic, it provides what all summer reads should have—an engaging plot, humor, and characters that pull at the heartstrings. It’s the perfect beach read, so grab your towel and sunglasses, and embark on a journey of self-discovery alongside Belly.


4 out of 5

Author Bio

Jenny Han, the author who swept readers off their feet with her sun-drenched tales, is an American writer known for her young adult fiction and children’s literature. The Summer Trilogy and the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series are just a few exquisite examples of her skill as a storyteller. Han has an uncanny ability to create stories that resonate with readers of all ages, navigating complex emotions and lifelike characters that leave a lasting impression.

FAQ / Study or Book Club Questions

  1. How does Belly’s character evolve throughout “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” and what events play a significant role in her character development?
  2. What role do friendships and family dynamics play in shaping the story’s narrative and the protagonist’s journey?
  3. Discuss the portrayal of romance in the novel. How does it contribute to Belly’s growth and subsequent decisions?
  4. How do the beach setting and the concept of a “summer romance” enhance the overall experience of the novel?
  5. Can you find relatable aspects within Belly’s journey of self-discovery and coming of age and her interactions with the people around her?

Where to Buy

Grab your copy of “The Summer I Turned Pretty” by Jenny Han on Amazon and let your beachside adventures begin:

A Summer Sequel: Prime’s “The Summer I Turned Pretty” Returns for Season 2

Prime TV Adaptation

Belly’s beachside escapades don’t end with the book! Prepare yourselves for the stunning television adaptation of “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” brought to life by the creative minds at Prime. Last summer, the debut season won the hearts and minds of viewers worldwide, ushering in waves of laughter, romance, and teenage drama that had us all hooked.

And guess what? The story will continue with a second season! There are still a few tantalizing secrets shrouded in mystery, as details of the upcoming season remain scarce, but one thing’s for sure—be prepared for a potential summer release that will have fans basking in the sun-kissed glow of Jenny Han’s captivating world.

Keep an eye out for updates on season two and gear up for another adventure with Belly, Conrad, Jeremiah, and the entire Cousins Beach gang. Relive the magic of summer love, the trials of self-discovery, and the unforgettable moments that make “The Summer I Turned Pretty” a must-watch series on Prime.

Camera, Action! Meet the Talented Cast of Prime’s “The Summer I Turned Pretty”

Introducing the Cast

The success of any book adaptation greatly depends on the cast’s ability to bring the story to life on screen. Thankfully, “The Summer I Turned Pretty” features an array of talented actors who perfectly encapsulate the vibrant spirit of their characters. Let’s acquaint ourselves with these remarkable performers:

Isabel “Belly” Conklin: Played by Lola Tung, the spirited protagonist holds the essence of the story. Tung is set to beautifully portray Belly’s emotional journey, capturing the character’s growth and self-discovery. Anticipate a memorable performance that will rekindle your love for Belly’s character.

Conrad Fisher: As the brooding elder brother, Christopher Briney brings charm and emotional depth to his portrayal of Conrad. His ability to highlight the character’s internal struggles while maintaining a stoic facade will undoubtedly steal hearts and keep viewers captivated.

Jeremiah Fisher: Gavin Casalegno, the talented actor behind the lovable Jeremiah, perfectly encapsulates the character’s wit, humor, and heart. He promises to leave audiences smitten and charmed throughout the series.

The series also stars Jackie Chung as Laurel Park, Rachel Blanchard as Susannah Fisher, Sean Kaufman as Steven Conklin, Alfredo Narciso as Cleveland Castillo, Minnie Mills as Shayla, Colin Ferguson as John Conklin, and Tom Everett Scott as Adam Fisher. Each of these actors brings their own unique flair, further enhancing the beloved story’s depth and appeal.

As “The Summer I Turned Pretty” embarks on a new season on Prime, this exceptional ensemble promises to captivate viewers with heartwarming, humorous, and poignant performances, ensuring Jenny Han’s sun-soaked tale continues to enchant audiences. Stay tuned for updates on the cast and get ready to dive into another delightful and transformative season.

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