The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han


Simon and Schuster

Caitlin Alexander, Co-Editor in Chief

Jenny Han, a Korean American author, is known for her outstanding books. You might recognize her from her book series, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, which has recently turned into a Netflix original series. 

During Hans’ older writing days, she wrote ¨The Summer I turned Pretty.¨ This book focuses on a 15-year-old girl, Isabel (Belly) Conklin. Every summer, Belly, Steven, and her mom would travel to her family friends’ beach house in Cousins. There lived her lifelong friends, Jeremiah  Fisher (16), Conrad Fisher(17), and their mother, Susannah. Belly spending every summer there since she could remember allowed her to create memories with the boys that she’d never forget. 

With Belly being the youngest, this has caused her to be the butt of jokes and pranks. This hasn’t stopped her from developing a crush on Conrad. Out of both of the Fisher boys, Conrad is the most laid back. In his earlier years, he was known for his athletic skills. Mostly pertaining to football. Although, as years went by he slowly lost his passion for it. Leading him to quit the beginning of the book. Yet, his demeanor stayed the same. Unbothered. 

During this book, it was the summer Belly was going into her Sophomore year of high school. She was growing up and the way she looked reflected that. When she arrived in Cousins, there was a point where both Jere and Conrad were at a loss of words. She looked different. The way she held herself reflected maturity. 

One important aspect of Belly’s life in Cousins was the Cousins pool and beach. That’s where Belly endured joking pranks and crushed even harder on Conrad, It’s also where she bonded with Susannah. Late-night swims were something that Belly and Susannah often found themselves doing together. They wouldn’t speak. They would just enjoy each other’s company in silence while swimming. The event of swimming and beaches often connects to the major events in the book. 

While Belly has always had her eyes on Conrad, this didn’t stop Jere and Belly from experiencing what Belly thought an important moment would be. Belly has always wanted her first kiss to be special. But when her best friend Taylor comes with her to Cousins one summer when they were 13 everything changes. As soon as she gets there she develops a crush on Conrad but soon realizes out of the two boys, she liked Jere the most. Soon Taylor becomes too much for Jere to handle and he wants a way to make Taylor jealous. When all of the kids decide to play a game of truth or dare, Jeremiah kisses Belly as a dare. This angers Belly as she wanted her first kiss to be special. 

With laughs came sadness. Throughout the book, Conrad demonstrates an attitude of being carefree. He doesn’t understand the effects of his sulking. When they both find out that Susannah’s cancer came back, this only made his attitude worse. Eventually, Jeremiah confronts him and this leads to a fight between the two boys. At this time, Belly was not aware of Susannah’s cancer. When her mom tells her, she is devastated. She was worried she could lose someone so important. Someone she considered her second mom. 

With laughs came sadness. Throughout the book, Conrad demonstrates an attitude of being carefree. He doesn’t understand the effects of his sulking. When they both find out something that could ruin the happiness of their family they are devastated. This leads to a fight between Jere and Conrad, causing more conflict. 

And with sadness and laughs, came love, and a rollercoaster of beautiful emotions as Jenny Han displays Belly’s relationships.