Rated Reads

The Summer I Turned Pretty

by Jenny Han

Rated: Moderate

Belly is starting another summer at her mother’s best friend’s beach house. It’s what she and her mother and older brother have always done with the Fisher family, and she can’t imagine a summer doing anything different. In fact, she waits all year for those months spent at the beach house.

Susannah’s sons, Conrad and Jeremiah, certainly have a good deal to do with her anticipation. Belly is so close with Jeremiah that he is like another brother to her (but one she doesn’t get as annoyed by, like her real brother), and Conrad … well, the older Conrad has been her unattainable love since she was 10.

This summer, however, starts to feel different. Belly is about to turn 16, and boys are starting to notice her, including a very nice one in the beach town who doesn’t treat her like a little girl. She even starts to hope that maybe Conrad might see her in that more grown-up way, too. But underneath her struggles with the boys, something else is different, too, a dynamic shifting in the two families’ dependable summer lives. Belly doesn’t know what’s going on, only that she wants to soak up every moment of the “summer she turned pretty.”

Jenny Han does a lovely job of evoking the thoughts and feelings teen girls so often experience. Her book is one almost any teen girl will appreciate and savor.

Rated: Moderate. The book has 20 to 30 uses of mild and moderate language, and some brief vulgar references. They’re just enough to make the book moderate for teens, but mild for older readers. There is also a scene of parents smoking marijuana and several occasions of teens drinking.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for about 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • The Summer I Turned Pretty
  • by Jenny Han
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: