The Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy
Author: Jenny Han
Every summer Belly goes to Cousins where her mom and Susannah, her mom’s best friend, have a beach house. She looks forward to it every summer because it’s like coming home. It’s this year, when Belly is seventeen that everything changes. This is the summer Belly turned pretty, as she puts it, and everybody notices it, especially Susannah’s sons, Jeremiah and Conrad.
Belly’s been in love with Conrad for as long as she can remember. It’s never been anyone else. Right as soon as she starts to believe that he feels the same, heartbreaking news shatters everybody in the house. Nobody will ever be the same and Belly learns that it’s time to grow up no matter how hard it is, but that doesn’t mean you grow out of your first love, does it?
This trilogy is one that I read every summer (I have the three-in-one version). It’s young, and innocent and I can almost feel the sand between my toes as my heart swells for the main character. Belly is always growing and you see that in each book. She takes the time to really allow her thoughts and heart to guide her even though she faces tough decisions and a whole lot of heartbreak.
Belly encompasses the growing teenager. She’s caring, loving and passionate about everything as well as whiny, annoying, snooty and wild. But each time I read this book, it’s like all of the small things matter suddenly. The sound of the ocean. The way that Belly looks at the stars. How she seems to stay in a moment for almost an eternity and she relives her memories with such delicacy. And that’s all okay. It should be encouraged actually because life moves really fast.
These coming of age books remind me to hold on to the moments that made my life. All of them. That was a big part throughout the trilogy because life is a series of moments. Sweet and tender and with so much love, I can’t stop coming back to Cousins. I’m hoping one day Jenny Han returns to the beach house.
“The moment between us, fragile and tenuous, snapped in half. It was over. It would do no good to wonder what he was going to say. Moments, when lost, can’t be found again. They’re just gone.” (The Summer I Turned Pretty, Belly, p. 153)
“I wondered if this was the way old crushes died, with a whimper, slowly, and then, just like that—gone.” (The Summer I Turned Pretty, Belly, p. 200)
“There are moments in your life you wish with all your heart you could take back. Like, just erase from existence. Like, if you could, you’d erase yourself right out of existence too, just to make that moment not exist.” (It’s Not Summer Without You, Belly, p. 319)
“I used to look forward to seeing Conrad all year. I used to wish for summer the way kids wished for Christmas. It was all I thought about. Even now, even after everything, he was still all I thought about.” (It’s Not Summer Without You, Belly, p. 341)
“How do you regret one of the best nights of your life? You don’t. You remember every word, every look. Even when it hurts, you still remember.” (It’s Not Summer Without You, Belly, p. 392)
“When I used to picture forever, it was always with the same boy. In my dreams, my future was set. A sure thing. This wasn’t the way I pictured it…” (A Couple of Years Later, Belly, p.455)
“In my heart, I knew I loved them both, as much as it is possible to love two people as the same time…” (We’ll Always Have Summer, Belly, p. 799)
“When Conrad Fisher told a girl he loved her, he meant it. A girl could believe in that. A girl could maybe even bet her whole life on it.” (We’ll Always Have Summer, Belly, p. 805)
More to come soon…
P.S. Song of the day? Unpredictable by 5 Seconds of Summer. Feels very fitting.