Arlene's Reviews > The Summer I Turned Pretty

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
1746727
's review
Feb 25, 11

bookshelves: read-2010, ya-contemporary, young-adult
Read in April, 2010

There was so much about this book that bothered me, and I almost gave up on it several times. I think the thing that bothered me most though was the protagonist. Very often, if I can't connect or feel compassion for the main character, the book has slim to no chance of winning me over. In my opinion, Belly was such an immature, self-focused and petulant child. Her actions and feelings about events and people really were annoying that I wanted to shake some sense into her, I'll provide more specifics in a few.

But first, one of the biggest things that irk me, and for those that know my reading style, they will laugh because I've said this often times before, I can't stand when an author doesn't tell you the name of the person narrating the story or who the story is about. Very few, maybe like one or two books (The Gargoyle being one) have been exempt from this number one rule of mine, I want to know who is talking to me or who the story is about right away! "Belly" doesn't cut it , especially when I find belly buttons gross and cringe-worthy. Ewwww! It's not until more than half way through the book that we find out her real name is Isabel, but by then it was too late, I was calling her Bellatrix in my head and couldn't get it out. Sorry, but it just happened naturally.

Overall, it bothered me how selfish Bellatrix… errr… I mean Belly was to those in her life, including family and friends. For example, her father tried so hard with her by buying her books, a piano and fixing up a room in his new apartment in the hopes she'd come to enjoy spending some time with him, but NOOOOO she didn't like the books he chose, the piano was out of tune and she wanted the yellow sheets, not the pink scratchy sheets. Ugh! Also, she has no real heartfelt relationships with ANYONE. She uses her best friend Taylor by inviting her to the beach house for the sole purpose that maybe she'll be able to fit in better with the crowd because of Taylor, but it ends up backfiring so she ends up resenting her BF. Her relationship with her brother is downright mean and shallow, nothing heartfelt or aww-worthy there. Even her friendship with Jeremiah and Conrad left much to be desired. It bothered me when Jeremiah and Belly overheard a convo between their mothers about Suzanne's breast cancer and Belly had no clue how to comfort him, all she could think of saying was "I hope your mom doesn't lose a boob." Really? That's all you got?? Glad you kept that in your little air-filled noggin and didn't say it out loud. How about just give him a hug and ask him if he's okay or wants to talk?? There were so many opportunities for her to show some depth and growth, but she just fell flat IMO.

BUT, the thing that bothered me the most is that she crushes on two brothers. That's just gross!! Pick one and stop with the "I like Jeremiah... no... I like Conrad... oh I shared a Twizzler with Jeremiah now I like him more again... Oh wait I like Conrad's dark and brooding side, I change my mind, I like him better." That gets irritating right quick next to her feeling that life got better for her when she turned pretty. No really, she felt I'm pretty now, life is like sooooo good now! I love being sooooo pretty. I was ugly before and an outsider, but now I'm pretty. Yay for me! Whatevs! *shakes head*

Lastly, the writing was simple and the storyline wasn't very complex at all, except for trying to figure out who this Belly girl really was. The story did switch back from present to past in random ways, but I don't consider that complex, just slightly irksome. The one thing the book did have going for it was the setting. I like seaside, beachfront, boardwalk settings, but that wasn't enough to hook me… I'd much prefer a Dessen book to provide me that fix. All in all, there's better out there IMHO.

Okay, this review feels sloppy and random... I'll just blame it on the book. DONE!
199 likes · Likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Summer I Turned Pretty.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-50 of 153) (153 new)


~Tina~ Great thought provoking views there hun! Sorry this one didn't turn out good for ya. Did you get this at the library at least?


NewMoonGirl (Hazel) I love your review on this Arlene! :D
I totally get the whole "Belly" thing! lol It sounds like a frustrating read so I think I'll give this one a miss.


Arlene LOL thanks Tina and Hazel. :)

@ Tina Yes I borrowed it from the library. Would have given me a 'belly' ache if I bought it and didn't like it. LOL

BTW *grumble grumble* Went to the bookstore at lunch. No KOD yet. :(


~Tina~ LOL Arlene! I got this from the lib as well, I thought it was cute >.<

~shocked~ What is up with your bookstore women?!!? It'll cross my fingers for it to be there in the morn:D


Shelda Maybe if you were a teenager yourself you would understand. I understood everything Belly was talking about.
I loved the book.


Arlene Yeah Shelda, I completely skipped over my teenage years, so maybe that's why I had NOOO clue what Belly was all about. *head desk* What was I thinking reading this book???? Thanks for setting me straight... oh and btw glad you liked the book. >.<


Morgan F Bellatrix! Lord, that cracked me up! I was planning on reading the sequel, but now that will get stuck in my head.....it's Pimp Dimitri all over again.


Arlene Oh no Morgan! Why did you have to mention Pimp Dimitri?? LOLOL I say give the sequel a try and let me know if I should torure myself. :)


message 9: by Phoebe (new)

Phoebe I'm glad it wasn't you writing this book because to be honest I would have fell asleep :) the book is really good read, read it on the beach and thought it was amazing in my own opinion.


Arlene Too funny Phoebe, I don't know where you got the idea I was a writer, because I'm not, so no worries about falling asleep on my account. That makes no sense. I'm glad you liked the book. ;)


Emily Stubbs Shelda wrote: "Maybe if you were a teenager yourself you would understand. I understood everything Belly was talking about.
I loved the book."


AMEN.


Kelsey While I highly respect your opinion and your take on the book, you must realize that this is a teen novel and not meant to be some great work of art (Nice cough up to Harry Potter, by the way). I'm not sure of your age or your maturity level, but it must be obvious to anyone that this is not meant to be some deep developed plot. It is a classic summer love, meant to be enjoyed with a tall class of tea and a nice seat on the beach :) I'm sorry that you didn't take from it what others (and myself) did, because I find Jenny Han's writing to be nothing like any other Young Adult author. And another thing, Belly is 15 in this novel. So of course she's insecure and unsure about who she wants or what she wants out of life.

I cannot change your opinion of this series, but I hope you realize that a classic 'love triangle' is just another theme in young adult novels, and if you can't handle to read through them then maybe you should not have your expectations set so high, because for a novel of this caliber, it is truly pretty.


Emily Stubbs Kelsey wrote: "While I highly respect your opinion and your take on the book, you must realize that this is a teen novel and not meant to be some great work of art (Nice cough up to Harry Potter, by the way). I'm..."

YES.


Hannah Goodman This is the only review of "Summer" I absolutely agree with. Well said!


Hannah Goodman Kelsey wrote: "While I highly respect your opinion and your take on the book, you must realize that this is a teen novel and not meant to be some great work of art (Nice cough up to Harry Potter, by the way). I'm..."

Sorry...I just need to say this. YA literature can be great works of art. The author of "Summer..." also wrote Shug, which was not only a better story, but also the writing and character development were spot on. Shug is a classic, in my opinion, for middle grade/younger YA readers. This book, though, not so much. But YA doesn't mean beach read only, you know what I mean?


Kelsey I don't think I said that it was a beach read only, I just said that it was a good beach read. I agree with you about Shug though, I really enjoyed that, more than the sequel to "Summer..". And I also didn't say that they couldn't be great works of art, if you were talking to me. I love Jenny Han's writing and I love these books, they are some of my favorites.


Arlene @ Kelsey. Don't know how I missed your comments on my review. Thank you for expressing your respect of my opinion because that's exactly what it is... simply my opinion.

I didn't like this book and it didn't work for me, not going to take that back. I'm an avid YA reader and have come across some flawlessly written novels IMHO... Melina Marchetta, Laurie Halse Anderson, Kristin Cashore, Suzanne Collins, Simone Elkeles, Catherine Gilbert Murdock, Jandy Nelson, Tabitha Suzuma, Morgan Matson... I could go on and on. In addition, I've read more than my fair share of love triangles that have had me intrigued, captivated and waving a team flag. So yes, I'm very well aware that it's a common theme in YA novels. This particular love triangle bothered me for a couple of reasons... (1) The two guys were brothers ICK!! and (2) Belly was so DAME fickle and random going back and forth between the two guys. Just simply irritating if nothing else...

Overall, me not liking this book could have been because of timing or simply my mood. Don't think it had anything to do with my maturity or age. Nah... *shakes head in disagreement* That's not it.

Thanks for your opinions and I hope you found some 5 star ratings/reviews that you enjoyed a little more than my take on the book. I still don't understand that if you liked this book sooooo much and gave it 5 stars what compelled you to read my negative review??? Just curious... but consider it rhetorical.

@ Hannah and Maggie. Thank you! Sorry you didn't enjoy. I'm with ya there.


Kelsey Because I like to be informed of everything! I was curious to see what others thought about the book, the good and the bad because there were a couple of points that you brought up that I agreed with (I do think she is too fickle, she needs to make up her mind).

Sorry you didn't enjoy it, I just thought it was a simple easy read :|
I noticed you mentioned Suzanne Collins..what do you think of the Hunger Games?


message 19: by Jessica (last edited Nov 15, 2010 12:59AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jessica Love the review Arlene! I didn't like this one all too much either and everytime the name "Belly" was mentioned a mental picture like this came to my mind:

[image error]


message 20: by Nic (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nic Eeew! Somebody past me the bleach!


Jessica *hands you the bleach*


Morgan F Aw dammit! Now I have to go school with that image in my head.


Arlene @ Kelsey. Sounds good. :) You asked me about the Hunger Games, well... I'll have to quote one of my GR friends here... ahem... ahem... Morgan...... SUZANNE COLLINS IS JESUS!! I loved the Hunger Games and I've read the first two books about 3 times each. I've yet to read the third book a second time, but I'm getting close to re-reading it because I miss Katniss and Peeta so much. That series is one of THE best I've ever read and I can't wait for the movie to come out. I picked up the first book the week it hit the shelves, so I've been vested in it for quite some time. How did you like it?

Also, if you have a rec that you think I'd enjoy, I'd love for you to share it. As I said, I really do enjoy YA and it's my preferred genre, so go on and tell me what you like and I'll give it a try. Thanks for stopping by and being respectful about your take. Happy Reading Kelsey. :)


Arlene Jessica!!! NOOOOO this is the first image I looked at when I turned on my puter!! Gah!! Bleach! Bleach! BTW, I h8 belly buttons and his is soooooooo gross!

LOLOLOL thanks for the laugh. You're awesome. :)


Jessica ROFL XD Sorry, hon! *hands over the bleach*

I especially hate outward belly buttons. *shudders*


Arlene Oh Jessica... no.no.no!! Tell me you didn't make reference to an outie. Gah!!! I can't stand belly buttons! *shivers* Gonna need more bleach my friend.


message 27: by Jessica (last edited Nov 15, 2010 07:42AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jessica LMFAO!

You're lucky that I didn't add visuals to bring across my point XD


Kelsey Arlene wrote: "@ Kelsey. Sounds good. :) You asked me about the Hunger Games, well... I'll have to quote one of my GR friends here... ahem... ahem... Morgan...... SUZANNE COLLINS IS JESUS!! I loved the Hunger Gam..."

Oh my gosh, I LOVE The Hunger Games, one of my favorites by far!!! I think I like it so much because it somehow reminds me of Harry Potter? ( I don't know if that makes sense, it just reminds me of it) And the idea for the story is just..brilliant!!!


Morgan F Jessica wrote: "ROFL XD Sorry, hon! *hands over the bleach*

I especially hate outward belly buttons. *shudders*"


I have an outie. It used to be ginormous. I had to get it trimmed.


message 30: by Jessica (last edited Nov 15, 2010 11:38AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jessica Morgan wrote: "I have an outie. It used to be ginormous. I had to get it trimmed."

*groans* Feel free to slap me Morgan. Hard. I mean it.

My brain and my mouth have communication issues...


Morgan F Oh, I'm not offended! Don't feel bad!

My belly button is disgusting! It's because I was an extreme premie (baby that was born premature) and the umbilical cord was extra thick or something.


Jessica Phew, thank God. I was a little worried there for a minute. :)


Morgan F Nope. I don't get offended easily, anyhow.

And if I was offended, I don't get mad. I get even.

MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAH


Jessica Waaaaaaaah!




Arlene When I think of Morgan... I think... Be afraid... be very afraid. @.@


Jessica I am. Believe me, I am!


Morgan F Good.


Taylor DO you have anything positive to say or are you just living under a rock


message 40: by Jessica (last edited Nov 29, 2010 11:44PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jessica See guys? That's exactly what I meant yesterday.


Morgan F Taylor wrote: "DO you have anything positive to say or are you just living under a rock"

Dude. The review isn't that bad. Chillax. She's entitled to her opinion. And at least Arlene has a face. Where's yours? ASHAMED ARE YOU?


Jessica Taylor wrote: "DO you have anything positive to say or are you just living under a rock"

There's really no need to get personal.


Nomes LOL. i love all these comments!

Loved reading this review - even though I gave this book 4 stars :) I agree with most your points, but i got sucked in anyway. I am lame like that sometimes :)

I agree Belly is a completely ridiculous name. And, Jessica, ah, thanks for that image - completely unexpected, haha. i almost spat my coke all over the screen when i scrolled down and saw that.

xx


Jessica Hehehe, sorry for that, Nomes ;-)


message 45: by Nic (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nic Nomes you have to watch that Jessica she is always posting scary pics!

Arlene, I think your review is great even though I enjoyed this book. I don't understand why it is bothering other people so much. Obviously they have never read one of Morgan's 1 star reviews :D


Jessica Just send her some bleach, Nic ;-)

Arlene explained objectively why she didn't like the book. Nothing else. She didn't offend anybody and as Morgan said, she's entitled to her opinion.

Comments like Taylor's are inappropriate.


Nomes I have to get better are putting up random freaky pictures. I should just litter them around the site where people least expect to find them :)

I love this review too. And the following comments.

besides, 2 stars is generous of you when you consider your frustrations. I've heard the sequel is more annoying, but I don't care - I've pre-ordered it anyways, I think the boys are HOT :) And belly's annoying-ness reminds me of some teens I know (and ADORE despite their moments of toddler-esque immaturity, haha)

Taylor's comment makes no sense to me? Huh?


Morgan F *grins* My reviews are pretty terrible, aren't they?

But I'm proud of them, in an odd way.


message 49: by Jessica (last edited Nov 30, 2010 04:22AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jessica Neither does it to us, Nomes ;-)


message 50: by Kim (new)

Kim Taylor wrote: "DO you have anything positive to say or are you just living under a rock"

Wow, how mature of you Taylor. You don't know the first thing about Arlene, so don't turn this into a personal thing.


« previous 1 3 4
back to top