I nearly melted when Conrad was introduced. That strong, silent, protective guy, why, he was even sexier than Edward Cullen! And although he didn't sparkle, he certainly made up for it by his sorrowful brooding, which my heart soared out to. I mean, who DOESN'T understand when someone who is in pain turns to drinking and picking fights at parties?There is just something so alluring, so captivating, about Conrad, because what he does not say or do in words is immediately engraved in my ever-loving heart. I totally, completely, 101% understand why Belly loved him her entire life.
As for Belly, heavy burdens are hard to accept, but World War 3.5 broke out the Summer She Turned Pretty. I totally sympathized with her, with all those choices she had to make. As a famous poet once wrote, "Two roads diverged into a yellow wood. And I, I took the one less traveled by." Like this, Belly did just that. Instead of romancing just one guy, she made the unusual, yet incredibly understandable choice to romance THREE GUYS. And WOW! Was this beautifully conflicting love SQUARE intense!! nearly had a heart-attack, my heart beat so loud in my ears, when THIS scene happened:
"Get out of my face," Conrad growled.
"No." Jeremiah stepped closer, until their faces were inches apart, just like ours had been not fifteen minutes before.
In a dangerous voice, Conrad said, "I'm warning you, Jeremiah."
So well spoken, so unique, so original, AMEN BROTHER. No scene has truly ever frightened me so much, to the point where I just had to wrench this book out of my own hands and go take ten minutes' breather in the bathroom. But since this review isn't marked with SPOILER, I'll just say that you will have to stop and re-read a few times what has actually happened at this 90-degree-climax.
I sympathize so well with Belly, and again, I praise Jenny Han for relating SO WELL, SO WELL, I SAY, to teen girls. Ms. Han really brought this scene to life, it was so intense and completely, reasonably dramatic, my heart literally skipped a beat and I almost had an asthma attack:
"I stood by the fire alone and pretended to warm my hands even though they weren't cold. That's when I saw him. He was standing alone too, drinking a bottle of water. It didn't seem like he knew anybody either, since he was standing all by himself." Ah! Ms. Han, you have such an elegant, easy way of making contradicting words and plain sentences flow so naturally! So barely noticeable! Continuing on,
He looked like he was my age. But there was something about him that seemed safe and comfortable, like he was younger than me even though he wasn't." Again, what is this? A beautiful paradox? No, paradox isn't even the word. I was so dumbfoundedly awestruck by this sentence that I had to stop, pause, and wonder, what was going to happen next? Really, at this point in the book, things really take a turn around the bend.
BUT. I am truly amazed by the way Jenny Han has a talent with words, and finally releasing reader's from their growing suspicion that something more was going on between Belly, Jeremiah, and Conrad:
"Things had been weird with me and Conrad and also with me and Jeremiah-an impossible thought crept its way into my head. Was it possible they didn't want me with Came? Because THEY, like, had feelings for me?" I love how Jenny Han seems to remember how teenagers act, because by putting that single unnecessary "like" into the sentence truly, legit, won me over. I had no idea how poetic daily teen slang could have been.
There are some things I absolutely ADORED about Belly. She was so realistic in the sense that I felt she was RIGHT IN MY HEAD. Like, seriously, like honestly, like LEGIT:
"I didn't answer his question. Instead I said, "I was really good! I could have been dancing in a company by now!" I couldn't have. I wasn't that good, not by any stretch of the imagination." You can tell by this simply put declaration that Belly has given, how much she wants this guy to love her. She has gone so far, and given away her dignity, to BOAST HOW GOOD SHE IS AT BALLET.
""Maybe we can come back later." I knew he didn't mean it. Part of me was mad, and part of me was relieved. It was like craving a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich and then realizing two bites in that you didn't want it after all. I snatched my sweatshirt from him and said, "Don't do me any favors, Cam." Then I walked away as fast as I could, and sand kicked up behind me. I thought he might follow me, but he didn't."
This realistic intervention, this sudden, quirky, show of personality really is truly realistic. After all, EVERY teen needs to have their mood swings, but yet, this has shown Belly's true, twisting feelings for the guy she is talking to. I am truly amazed, I had no idea authors could get into my head so easily.
I feel proud to be a whiny, annoying teenager, because by the ways things turned out in the end of THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY, there is no doubt that I will Someday Find My Prince in the two hot guys I've obviously known all my life, but who started expressing their feelings towards me the Summer I Turned Pretty.