Okay, so I am back with another review!! I really wanted to make a youtube video about this trilogy just so my facial expressions could fully convey my feelings the way words may not be able to.
After reading To All The Boy’s I’ve Loved Before I just felt it in my soul that I needed to get my hands on The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy. It was a need more than a want. I searched high and low, I scoured the internet for months trying to get my hands all three book with the same cover art and honestly it was a very difficult task. And just when I had given up hope I randomly walked into my local The Works and there they were in all their glory, all three books packed together and guess how much they cost me… only 5 quid like totally worth the wait! Okay so now that this story is over let’s get into the books. I’m going to try my best to not give away any spoilers.
“Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer—they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.”
Book #1 focuses on Belly (Isabel) going back to Cousin’s Beach for the summer with her mother and brother. They stay there every summer with their mum’s best friend and her boys. From the title, it of course, implies that Belly is now older and prettier and is getting somewhat more attention from the boys so as any normal teenage girl would want, she’s hoping that she can capture the heart of her long time crush.
The story mainly consists of flashbacks relaying the backstory and the dynamics between the characters. Belly, her brother – Steven, Conrad – her crush and of course Jeremiah – Conrad’s Brother (who I am just going to add is so obviously in love with Belly) Yes there is a love triangle wait no there is a love square but it does not evolve the way one would expect it to. The whole book is really a cat and mouse sort of situation – the whole series is. I wish I could elaborate more without giving everything away but that is not possible.
One of my favourite things about this book is that I love Susannah so much. She is the one character in this book that I would be infatuated with in real life. She sounds like a wholesome being who is an amazing friend, a great mother and a wonderful second mum to Belly. I think the one thing that really just captured my heart was that Belly loves Susannah like she is her own mother sometimes not realising that her mother is just as amazing and Susannah always lets her know it.
“It used to be that Belly counted the days until summer, until she was back at Cousins Beach with Conrad and Jeremiah. But not this year. Not after Susannah got sick again and Conrad stopped caring. Everything that was right and good has fallen apart, leaving Belly wishing summer would never come. But when Jeremiah calls saying Conrad has disappeared, Belly knows what she must do to make things right again. And it can only happen back at the beach house, the three of them together, the way things used to be. If this summer really and truly is the last summer, it should end the way it started—at Cousins Beach.“
Book #2 I don’t really know how I felt about this one. It took me a lot longer to get into and I really wanted to strangle all the character especially Belly. Who after everything is still acting like a selfish little child but so is everybody else around her. She’s not a good friend and I don’t think she was in any way a good girlfriend. Honestly, a lot happens but at the same time it doesn’t if that makes sense. Belly is supposed to spend summer with her best friend Taylor but Belly being Belly she wants to be at the beach house and she is making it really obvious that this is not the summer she wanted. So when Jeremiah calls her to ask for her help looking for Conrad she could not be happier.
Conrad’s disappearance adds some much needed layers to this story. I feel like he was just filling his big brother role and trying his best. As the eldest child, I can tell you we get tunnel vision when it comes to doing what we think is best for our family and protecting others so regardless of what anyone else says I am team, Conrad. We also get to see Jeremiah’s point of view in this book and it gives you more of an understanding of who he is and why he is the way that he is. We get to see what his family is like from his perspective rather than just seeing the Fishers from Belly’s point of view. The love triangle intensity has gone up but at least it’s not a square anymore. There is a lot of nostalgia and an over looming sense of sadness and acceptance in this book and I think it makes a great segue into the third.
“Belly has only ever been in love with two boys, both with the last name Fisher. And after being with Jeremiah for the last two years, she’s almost positive he is her soul mate. Almost. While Conrad has not gotten over the mistake of letting Belly go, Jeremiah has always known that Belly is the girl for him. So when Belly and Jeremiah decide to make things forever, Conrad realises that it’s now or never—tell Belly he loves her, or lose her for good.”
Okay, I have so many yet so little words for this book. Gurrrll!!! I was shook. I’m not even exaggerating, I was about seven pages in and confused about life. Fine, the blurb gives it away that Jeremiah is with Belly and there is a time jump but just reading it I was like noooo whyyy is this happening?!?! The more and more I read the more and more I was like I can not stand Jeremiah his character did a complete 180 and the entire time I was thinking who is this idiot? Honestly, it’s fine that his character did because you are always evolving through life and the things that happen to you or around you shape you over time but he just turned out to be not likeable at all.
I tried so hard to love Belly throughout the series but in the end, I just couldn’t. In this book, you start to see some personal growth and a young woman coming into her own. She even starts to own some of her shortcomings which is amazing but then she just goes back to being her immature self. It comes across as though she thinks the whole world revolves around her. Which is a very unlikeable trait in anyone. I like Conrad to an extent but if a guy did to me what Conrad has done to Belly over the series I would have slapped some sense into him by now. ( I do not condone violence please do not take that away from this. kthanks!) I feel like the only person who has changed is Taylor. She has matured and is so much more likeable and trust me when I say this because I hated Taylor in the first two books.
Overall out of all the books I think #3 has the most amount of drama and craziness but as they say if you’re going to go out, go out with a bang and that is what Jenny Han has done with this book! A little disappointed that the ending didn’t give us readers a bit more of what we would’ve liked i.e a Conrad and Belly scene but needless to say I am satisfied with the ending.
I would give this series a 3/5 don’t get me wrong these books are a perfect quick read, out in the summer sun. They make you feel nostalgic for a beach house summer with your best friends. I’ve always wanted a house by the water and reading about Belly’s summers has really ignited my love for that dream again. Part of me thinks that if I read these books when they first came out, when I was much younger maybe I would have fallen in love with these books because my perspective on life would’ve been a lot different but unfortunately that is not the case now.