Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Summer I Turned Pretty

I'd been meaning to read this book for a while, but I just hadn't gotten around to it. So today (a perfect summer Saturday--lying out in the sun, getting a Slurpee, grabbing a sandwich from Kneaders, and just generally smelling like sunscreen and aloe vera), I decided to take this book and read it outside. Which ended up being a fantastic choice, because "The Summer I Turned Pretty," by Jenny Han, turned out to be a perfect summer read.

The summary:
Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer--they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.
This book was everything I wanted in a summer-evening read: beach houses, friends, romance, coming of age--seriously everything. It made me wish I were at the beach (and I HATE the beach, so this was quite a feat), getting tan, walking up and down the boardwalk, and hanging out with my friends. The book actually reminded me a bit of "The Last Summer (of You and Me)," by Ann Brashares. Not the plot necessarily, but the whole summer-beach-house aspect and the longing for a boy the girl's been in love with her whole life.

And the writing was exactly right for the story, a bit nostalgic but not too heavy. Here's a sample, from the very beginning, when Belly (I hate that name, BTW) and her family are arriving at the beach house for the summer:
We drove through town slowly, and even though I'd just teased Steven about it, I didn't really mind. I loved this drive, this moment. Seeing the town again, Jimmy's Crab Shack, the Putt Putt, all the surf shops. It was like coming home after you'd been gone a long, long time. It held a million promises of summer and of what just might be.

As we got closer and closer to the house, I could feel that familiar flutter in my chest. We were almost there.

I rolled down the window and took it all in. The air tasted just the same, smelled just the same. The wind making my hair feel sticky, the salty breeze, all of it felt just right. Like it had been waiting for me to get there.
See why it made me want to go to the beach? Anyway, now that I've finished this one, I think I'm going to track down the sequels. Because, come on, I need to know which of the brothers she ends up with . . .

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