In my hands I have another perfect summer read.  Go down to the beach, spread out your big beach blanket and start reading The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han.  Don’t forget to use the sunblock first cause I guarantee you will lose yourself in this book and forget to do it later. 

What makes this book a perfect summer read?  For one thing the story takes place in the summer in a beach community but what really makes it a great beach read is that the author Jenny Han spins a tale about growing up, coming into yourself and the ups and downs of first love with a few other drama filled moments thrown in to round out the story.  I could totally relate having spent many a summer at Fire Island growing up.  It was the boy next door for me that made my heart swoon and I looked forward every year to frolicking in the ocean, the bonfires and the clam bakes and of course seeing him. Ahhh memories…. 

Every summer Isabel aka “Belly” and her family head to Cousins Beach to spend time with her mother’s best friend Susannah and her two boys, Jeremiah and Conrad.  Starting in the winter, she would be counting down the days until the summer, the days until she was in that house again, the days that she can see Jeremiah and Conrad again. That summer house is where she finds the most joy. Every fourth chapter is a glimpse into Belly’s past summers with Jeremiah and Conrad at the beach starting at age 10. They are like a big happy family except Belly is totally in love with Conrad and has been for the longest time.  

This year though things at the beach house are little bit different. The atmosphere is different. At first Belly can’t put her finger on it but she knows something is up.  The boys are treating her differently too.  For years though Jeremiah and Conrad treated Belly like a kid sister but this year they start to look at her in a whole new light.  The brotherly teasing that they did to her unmercifully for years as taken on more flirtatious undertones.  Conrad though he has been always a dark and brooding guy has become even more so especially when he sees Belly with another guy.  Tensions mount in this threesome when this other dynamic is thrown into the fray.  

The only thing I didn’t like about this book is the ending. This book is the first of a planned trilogy, Han leaves you hanging which…argghh…is totally frustrating.  I want to know what happens with Belly and Conrad.  I guess I will just have to wait til next summer.