Book Summary: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
(High School Level)
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This book is the first in a trilogy. More on this Jenny Han trilogy here.
“The Summer I Turned Pretty” is a young adult novel by Jenny Han. It follows the story of sixteen-year-old Belly Conklin, who spends every summer with her mother and brother at the beach house of her mother’s best friend, Susannah. This summer, Belly is excited to reunite with her longtime crush, Conrad, and his brother, Jeremiah. However, as the summer progresses, Belly begins to realize that things have changed between her and the boys, and she must navigate her growing feelings and changing relationships while also coming to terms with her own identity and past.
“The Summer I Turned Pretty” is a heartfelt and relatable coming-of-age story that captures the excitement, confusion, and complexities of teenage life. Jenny Han’s writing is engaging and immersive, bringing to life the sights, sounds, and emotions of the summer beach house. The characters are well-developed and layered, each with their own unique struggles and desires. The novel deals with themes such as first love, family relationships, self-discovery, and the pains of growing up, making it a perfect summer read that will resonate with readers of all ages.
The novel takes place over the course of one summer at the beach house, with flashbacks to previous summers. The main plot revolves around Belly’s relationship with Conrad and Jeremiah, and her own personal growth and self-discovery. Some of the key events in the story include:
- Belly’s arrival at the beach house and reunion with Conrad and Jeremiah
- Belly’s growing feelings for Conrad and her conflicted emotions about him
- The revelation of a family secret that upsets the dynamic of the group
- Belly’s exploration of her own identity and the changes she undergoes over the course of the summer
- The resolution of the various conflicts and the characters’ coming to terms with their feelings and relationships.
Some of the key themes in “The Summer I Turned Pretty” include:
- First love and coming of age
- Family relationships and dynamics
- Self-discovery and identity
- Loss and grief
- The passing of time and the impermanence of summer.
Questions and Answers You Might Prepare for on a High School Test:
- Who is the main character in “The Summer I Turned Pretty”? Answer: The main character is Belly Conklin.
- Where does most of the story take place? Answer: The story takes place at a beach house.
- What are some of the themes explored in the novel? Answer: Themes explored in the novel include first love, family relationships, self-discovery, loss and grief, and the impermanence of summer.
- Who are the two brothers that Belly is interested in? Answer: Belly is interested in Conrad and Jeremiah.
- What is the major conflict in the story? Answer: The major conflict in the story is Belly’s internal struggle to come to terms with her feelings for Conrad and Jeremiah, and the changes that are happening in their relationships.
- Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4424-0672-2
- Number of pages: 304
- First published: 2009
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Now an original series on Prime
“The Summer I Turned Pretty” is actually the first book in a trilogy by Jenny Han. Here’s a brief overview of the other two books:
- “It’s Not Summer Without You” (2010): The second book in the trilogy follows the story of Belly, Jeremiah, and Conrad as they try to navigate the aftermath of the previous summer. The three of them are all struggling with their own personal demons, and the tension between them threatens to tear their friendship apart.
- “We’ll Always Have Summer” (2011): In the final book of the trilogy, Belly has to make a decision that will change her life forever. She must choose between her first love, Jeremiah, and the boy who broke her heart, Conrad. As she struggles to come to terms with her feelings and the consequences of her choice, she must also deal with the aftermath of a tragic event that threatens to tear her family apart.
The three books in the series follow the characters as they grow up and face the challenges of adolescence and young adulthood, exploring themes of love, friendship, loss, and self-discovery.
About The Author:
Jenny Han is a Korean-American author who has written several young adult novels, including “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” and “The Summer I Turned Pretty” trilogy. Her books often deal with themes of identity, relationships, and family, and are known for their engaging writing style and relatable characters.