Angela's Reviews > The Summer I Turned Pretty

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
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's review
Jun 27, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: signed, young-adult

Belly lives for summers at the beach house. She considers Laurel her second mother, and Laurel's sons an extra set of brothers (who she also crushes on). She and her mother spend their summers at the house with her mother's life-long best friend.

I regret that nothing happens here, at least not for the entire first half of the book. I assume it's meant to be an introduction of sorts to Belly (whose nickname I just could not get over; it annoyed me). She flops back and forth between crushing on each of Laurel's sons, and comes off as whiny and spoiled. Her character has no depth. As suggested by the title, this is the first summer she feels "pretty," and she expects to be popular now that she has shiny hair and breasts. And there's no lack of beach boys checking her out, which quickly gets old.

I didn't feel anything at all for these characters. They're bland and shallow. There are many points that could have been developed, but they're left flat. On Belly's birthday, Laurel gives her a family heirloom. Is this symbolic, like "the daughter she never had?" It's brushed off, because that's just how Laurel is, not drawing attention to herself. Fine, but there's no references to it at all afterward. What was the point? Much of the plot has the same fate.

I did like the setting, the feel of summer and the beach, but it's a shame I didn't like anyone or anything that occupied it.

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