Posts Tagged 'summer'

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Romance

# of Pages:  276

RAC:  Yes

Belly spends every summer with her family at her mother’s best friend’s (Susannah) beach house.  This includes Susannah’s two sons, Jeremiah and Conrad.  Belly has had a crush on Conrad for a long time, but he has always been unavailable in some way and she believes she has gotten over him.  When she returns to the summer house this year things get complicated when suddenly both boys notice Belly and the young beauty she has become.  Belly is unsure how to handle all of this attention and decides to date a nearby local boy in order to sort out what she wants from a relationship.  Meanwhile, the brothers are struggling with family issues in their own ways.  Can they let Belly in on their secrets or will they treat her as an outsider like they have her entire life?  Can Belly make peace with the kind of relationship she hopes to find one day?

This book is simple and realistic in its pacing and storyline.  Many high school girls will be able to connect with Belly and the issues she is facing such as physical changes, family dynamic changes, feelings of insecurity, and even dating issues.  The problems addressed in the story include some serious issues like divorce, death, and growing up.  Fans of Dessen and Colasanti will definitely like the writing style and characterization of Belly.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Genre:  Realistic Fiction, Romance

Age Level:  12 and up

# of pages:  374 p.

RAC:  Yes

Sixteen-year-old Macy is still trying to cope with not only the loss of her father, but the guilt she felt over the circumstances surrounding his death.  Her older sister has since moved out and gotten married and her mother has thrown herself into her work.  Meanwhile her boyfriend, whom she thinks is so perfect and smart, plans to spend the summer at Brain Camp.  She is supposed to take over his job at the library where his friends are incredibly mean and cold to her.

One fateful night her mother throws a business party and the caterers have some minor mishaps, which makes her mother very unhappy.  Macy is recruited to go check on them and finds them fun and willing to take on challenges.  Delia, the owner, is very pregnant and trying her best to keep things together.  Bert and Wes are brothers who lost their mother to Cancer and only have each other to take care of.  Kristy and Monica are sisters who couldn’t be more opposite as Kristy is friendly and outgoing and Monica only speaks one word at a time.  Macy feels drawn to this crazy group in some way.

When Macy’s boyfriend decides to “take a break” for the summer, she finds herself contacting the catering company for a summer job.  Taking the catering job makes a huge difference to Macy as she tries to deal with her own feelings of grief and those of her mother’s.  At the same time, she grows closer to Wes and wonders if she needs someone who doesn’t make her feel unwanted.

The characters in this book are so believable and captivating that it is hard to put down.  The issues Macy and the others are going through are so real that anyone can connect to them  in some way.  Family, friends, loss, closure, and communication are all themes in this book that help remind us all how important it is to take control of our own lives and not let anyone else do it for us.   Highly recommended.


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