Series: Summer #1
Narrated by: Jessica Almasy
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 28th October 2009
The Summer I Turned Pretty was a book I basically decided to read because I was tidying my room and didn’t want to put on a DVD or listen to music, so I downloaded an audiobook instead. I always make sure to listen to snippets of audiobooks before I buy them because I’m extremely picky with narrators, by Jessica Almasy was fantastic. I’ve only listened to a couple of audiobooks before but there’s just something about them that I love and even though I’ve got a very short attention span when it comes to things like that, I always find myself sucked into the story.
The Summer I Turned Pretty follows our main character Belly who’s heading off with her mother and her brother for another summer at the beach with her mother’s best friend and her two sons. Belly has had a crush on Conrad for as long as she can remember, but Conrad takes no notice of her and treats her like his annoying sister. But everything’s different this summer. Belly is older and everyone is commenting on how pretty she is. Belly hopes this summer will be different. She hopes this’ll be the summer that Conrad finally notices her.
I really did love Belly, even though she’s extremely immature and did make me want to smack her a few times. She’s hilarious and generally always had me cracking up at something she said or did. She’s always felt like an outsider because Jeremiah, Conrad and her brother Steven always left her out because she was a girl. It’s also possibly because she acted like a brat most of the time, but I did feel bad for her.
Steven is the usual big brother character: always picking on his sister, making fun of her and blaming her for everything. Jeremiah is a sweetheart. He’s so nice and kind, he has a great sense of humour and he’s just adorable. But Conrad stole my heart. He’s the bad boy and this year he’s acting out. He’s smoking and drinking, but he just had this allure about him that drew me in.
Belly and the others notice that something is different this summer. Susannah (Conrad and Jeremiah’s mother) and Belly’s mother are acting odd and are hiding something from the kids. I did guess what they were hiding (because it was slightly obvious), but that didn’t take away from the emotional kick I got when the secret came out. The Summer I Turned Pretty is mostly a fluff book, but the ending does pack a punch.
I adored seeing Belly, Steven, Jeremiah and Conrad’s summer on the beach. I also loved Belly’s flashbacks of previous summers and they really helped me get to know all of the characters better.
Other than the romance, the other main relationship story was Belly’s relationship with her mother. They don’t seem to be on the best of terms and Belly is always trying to avoid her mother. So that was one relationship I loved seeing the development in.
Overall, The Summer I Turned Pretty was a fantastic contemporary. I don’t know whether I would have enjoyed this as much if I’d just read it instead of listening to the audiobook, but we’ll never know. I’m definitely looking forward to continuing the series and I’ll definitely be getting the next two on audio.