Friday, May 22, 2009

Mock Printz 2010: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9781416968238
Starred review in: PW, SLJ

Fifteen year old Belly's family has spent every summer sharing a beach house with her mother's best friend, Susannah and her two boys, Jeremiah and Conrad. Where as every summer before the boys have left her because she was too young and a girl, this summer turns out to be different. Belly is no longer the annoying, little sister, this summer it seems that everyone is finally paying attention to her. Belly has always had a crush on the older and brooding Conrad, but this summer Jeremiah is paying special attention to her and she gains her first boyfriend, the harmless Cam.

This summer Belly (or Isabel) has to navigate changing relationships and some unexpected sad news. As Belly states in the beginning of the novel, “it was the summer everything began”.

The Summer I Turned Pretty is a wonderful summer read. Jenny Han has a great style and is able to magically transport everyone (including this “older” reviewer) to a summer where everything was perfect and changed in great ways. Jenny Han captures a perfect coming of age tale. The novel is a blend of romance and family issues. Chapters that chronicle past summers give the reader a back story that perfectly explains the dynamic between Belly and her family, and Belly and Susannah's boys.

The Summer I Turned Pretty is the perfect novel to give your Sarah Dessen audience. While it might not be a strong contender for the Printz award, it does leave the reader feeling good about the endless possibilities for summer romance, drama, and discovery.

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