Published: May 5th 2009
Pages: 276 (Hardcover)
LONG STORY SHORT:
This is it. The book you take to the beach, take out while you're tanning, read a chapter, dose off and think about love and growing up and family and boys and how bitter-sweet summer can be. Other than that this is a novel that has a nice coming-of-age story, many cute male characters, a rather sad subplot. If you're looking for the perfect book to read while you spend quality time sunbathing, this is for you. If you plan on reading it in one setting with all your attention focused on the story and not on the boys in front of you playing volleyball (shirtless) you might get bored.
I wanted this book because everyone has already it. And its sequel. And the third book. I also wanted it because I really liked the summary on the back which promised a contemporary featuring a girl that seemed so much like me. And of course, I wanted a nice summer read.
What do they always tell you? The first impression someone has of you matters? So true! I found this book was very easy to get into, the first scene (brother and sister teasing each other) sooo familiar! My reviews most of the time turn out a lot better when I feel like home in the story during the first few pages. So yes, it was easy to get into The Summer I Turned Pretty and that I liked a lot.
Other than that, the setting, a beach house in a cute little beach town, was wonderful. I wanted to be there! So badly! I was so jealous of Belly! You do get into that summer-y feeling (that also makes you stop doing your homework although you're not out of school for summer yet...) .
The way the story was told with the flashbacks to past summers and the fact that there always seemed to be something happening kept it interesting and made it fluent, so that you could just go along with it.
I especially liked Susannah, Belly's mom's best friend, who was such a nice and caring person that I wished I knew her personally. The rest of the characters were very cool, too. Jeremiah, one of Bailey's friends is such a funny and cute guy! I also liked that - although she didn't appear - in this exact summer we got to know Belly's best friend Taylor through the flashbacks.
The way family was brought into the book was a plus for me, as well. I like when it's not always about love and crushes but also the problems you face at home with your parents as you're growing up.
The only thing that bothered me a little bit was the main character herself, Belly. She not only whines about how she is treated like a baby a lot throughout the book - more often than not she also acts like a baby. Sometimes I just wanted to roll my eyes at her for her noisyness and the way she would listen to adults' conversations that really weren't any of her business. All in all she was likeable, but there were times when I thought her behaviour was much more childish than most people act when they pass the age of three. So, yes, that was a bit too much, I believe.
It's mostly just the whole of the story that made me enjoy it. I could name detail after detail that made this book perfect for summer, but I will just leave you with the statement that it is - in my opinion.
What bothered me a little bit was the sometimes rather stiff dialogue and some scenes that appeared forced, as though the author wanted that scene to happen so badly that she just threw it in there without thinking twice about the question if it'd fit the characters.
All in all, this book is great if you want something light for summer that won't make you think much, but that will make you feel a nice mix of summer-y emotions
RATING: 3 out of 3 Smarties
Perfect for Summer? Yes, take it to the beach/poolside, open it up, enjoy.