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 terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along. (Goodreads)
I had heard about THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY before my Sarah Dessen times and I had gotten turned on to realistic fiction. I am enraged that it took me so long to discover this literary masterpiece. This book had me laughing out loud at the boys' childish antics and crying at their horrible news. I liked Belly right off the bat. She struck me as funny, but I could tell that there was more to her personality. She was lovesick and admits that Conrad had never shown any interest in her, but she just can't help herself. I like how she goes back in time to show how thing were when she wasn't "pretty."
Jeremiah and Conrad are her objects of affection and I can see why. Jeremiah is the funny, outgoing type that gets skittish if he sits around too long. Conrad is the one who has held her heart since she was ten and is the broody one who spends his time playing his guitar holed up in his room. They confused Belly often after she arrives back at the beach house. Conrad starts acting strange and different and Jeremiah, who has always been a good friend, starts to pay her more attention. To add to the mix, Cam, a boy who saw her before she was pretty, makes her decision even
All of the characters in THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY were very active. Belly made the beach house an entity separate from real life. It was like you were there with them. Laurel, Belly's mom, is a calm, serene person who Belly often underestimates. Susannah, the boys' mom, is fun and outgoing and keeps a smile on her face even while hiding a saddening secret. I felt like I was apart of this family. I hurt and laughed and cried with them. It is a book that will stay with me long after I read the second and third book because it was honestly the best summer I've ever had.