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Author: Jenny Han

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Publisher: Simon and Schuster, 2010

Material: hard cover

Summary: Summer is the time for self-reinvention. At least that's the way Isabel "Belly" Conklin sees it. With all those hours on the beach, you can almost feel yourself becoming cooler and more interesting. Then comes August, when the rose-colored glasses fly off and reality sets in. Belly lives for those woozy summer fantasies and the chance to get away from her humdrum life and all its awkwardness. For years her brother's friends Jeremiah and and Conrad Fisher, she's been the frumpy little sister. Not this summer ... at least based on the Fisher boys' reactions. Finally, a chance to act on her long-time crush on Conrad. But then, Conrad's cute, too; and what about Cam, a friendly face from the past. Although more beautiful on the outside, Belly is no more wiser on the inside. What are the realities of summer? How will Belly address the insecurities that fill her head? This young adult novel explores the themes of self worth, friendship, and choices. This is a High Interest / Low Readability option.

Type of Reading: independent reading, reluctant reader, remedial reader

Recommended Age: read together: 14 and Up; read yourself: 14 and Up

Interest Level: 12 and Up

Reading Level: 4.1

Age of Child: Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™

Young Reader Reaction: Han's deft writing has created a nuanced portrayal of teenage girl. Belly’s vulnerabilities speak true to the realities of being young and clueless, yet they wore on my nerves, too. There isn't much romance or passion, and it isn't a traditional boy-meets-girl love story. All of the drama is in Belly’s excitable little head. There is a kindness in the author’s treatment of her protagonist.

Adult Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Pros: Readers looking for a thoughtful, fun summer read will enjoy The Summer I Turned Pretty.

Cons: There are a few mild sexual references. That is why we recommend this for reader 14 and older.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is the perfect "beach read." Enjoyable and fun, but not something you'd buy for your permanent bookshelf.


Educational Themes: This is a book meant for pleasure reading. It could be a great conversation starter for a teen girls book club or mother-daughter reading.

Notes: A Reading Tub® volunteer submitted this review. She borrowed the book from their local library.

Literary Categories: Fiction - young adult, coming of age, family, middle grade, contemporary, realistic fiction

Date(s) Reviewed: August 2017

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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