The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han book review

Review of The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han - michalah Francis

I’ve been really excited to read a Jenny Han novel because all my favourite YouTubers rage about her. So when I saw this novel during a book store visit, I knew I had to buy it.

For Isabel it is just another Summer. Another trip to the beach house. Another time to work on her tan. But her Summer takes a twist and turns into a vacation she will not forget.

Isabel expected to spend the Summer with her family and her family friends but when she arrives at the beach house and both Jeremiah and Conrad do a double take when they see her for the first time in a year, she knows this will be a summer unlike any other.

I remember the day, and even the clothes I wore, the day boys first noticed that I was pretty. With a slightly rebellious attitude in high school I usually found boys in my circle of friends during break. Boys who looked and talked to me like I was one of the guys and I was okay with that. Then one summer afternoon it all changed. Having changed out of my school uniform and then returning to school for an after school math class, the boys looked at me, like a girl. Like a girl who was more than just someone who had good banter and didn’t jump at the opportunity to run errands for every teacher. It might not have been the summer, but it surely was the day I turned pretty.

This novel makes for a really good Summer-pool side read, because of the novel’s focus on a cute blooming Summer romance and family drama. These aspects of the novel also made the story relatable, who can’t relate to a Summer fling with one guy while you’re secretly pinning over another guy? Please tell me I’m not the only one?? All the characters in this story are like-able and it will be a tough task to not in some way relate to all the characters.

In Cape Town Spring has just begun, and this book has only increased both the excitement and the anticipation for what is to come during the hot Summer days and long Summer nights.

I can’t say that I found revolutionary social commentary in this book, or any social commentary at all, but then again I don’t think that was the point. I wouldn’t call this a fluffy story, maybe breezy is a more appropriate word, both for the fact that you breeze through it because of the simple writing and because of the light-hearted nature of the story.

The only critical comment I have for this book would be that some parts read as if the writer had run out of ways to describe events and feelings, and then stuck to cliché descriptions. Another would be that some parts were poorly written that I cringed when I read them. I understand this is some of Jenny Han’s very first work, and while some parts read like a first attempt, I can’t fault her on the Summer story she delivered. This would be the only aspect about The Summer I Turned Pretty that made me not fall in love with the book, and the only aspect that makes me apprehensive about buying the other books in the series.

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