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The Summer I Turned Pretty book overview

Cliff Weitzman
By Cliff Weitzman Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify in Reading on February 20, 2023

    The Summer I Turned Pretty book overview

    Nothing is better than relaxing on your bed and enjoying your spare time by immersing yourself in a nice book. Whether that be listening to an audiobook, or reading a good old hardcover.

    If you’re a teen or in your early 20s, the best books to relax with would be your typical young adult novels. One such piece of young adult fiction is The Summer I Turned Pretty by author Jenny Han.

    This summer house romance novel will keep you entertained from cover to cover, and with summer just a few months away, you might wanna add it to your summer reading list, or pitch it to your book club.

    So, if you’re interested in summer romances, love triangles, and complicated crushes, join us as we discuss The Summer I Turned Pretty.

    All the details about Jenny Han’s book—The Summer I Turned Pretty

    The Summer I Turned Pretty is a part of the Pretty trilogy, a series of YA romance novels by famed author Jenny Han, published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. The other parts of The Summer I Turned Pretty series include It’s Not Summer Without You and We’ll Always Have Summer.

    The story follows Isabel Conklin, nicknamed “Belly,” during her stay at the beach house at Cousins Beach where she goes during summertime with her brother Steven, her mother Laurel, her mother’s best friend, and her sons.

    When it comes to the core of the plot, The Summer I Turned Pretty is at its essence a story about a summer romance. But, it’s also more than that, as it’s a coming-of-age story that deals with the transition from childhood into the world of grown-ups.

    The first book is about the non-literal first summer—the summer when Belly finally gets noticed by Conrad and Jeremiah. On the contrary, book two deals with the last summer at the beach house, while the last follows the aftermath of the events.

    Due to its simple but engaging and plot-twist-filled nature, the book quickly became a New York Times bestseller and even got a TV series on Amazon Prime Video based on the first novel. There’s also talk about the other two parts eventually being adapted into TV shows. Additionally, the customer reviews on Amazon are, for the most part, 5-star reviews, and many users seem to really love the series.

    Main characters

    Now that we’ve briefly established what the book is about, let’s summarize who the characters are and what they’re all about.

    Isabel “Belly” Conklin

    Isabel, or Belly, is the main character of the series, and she’s also the narrator. She’s a persistent and headstrong girl and a dominant person with a prominent fragile side. She is passionate about swimming and enjoys spending time in the water due to finding it incredibly peaceful. Her love for swimming ties into her general love for sports and the outdoors. Notably, Belly has had a crush on her childhood friend Conrad for years, though their relationship is tumultuous throughout all three parts of the story, which she further complicates after developing feelings for his brother, Jeremiah, resulting in a love triangle.

    Conrad Fisher

    Conrad is the eldest son of the Fisher family. He’s a rather emotionally distant boy, who pushes his emotions deeper inside while simultaneously pushing his loved ones further away. He can also be stubborn and rebellious. However, despite acting distant towards his family and friends and not really being on the same page on a lot of things, he does sincerely love them. In the first book, he catches feelings for Belly after finally noticing her after all those years, but, as we’ve mentioned, their relationship is far from stable across the trilogy.

    Jeremiah Fisher

    Whereas Conrad is the troublemaker, Jeremiah, nicknamed Jere, is the golden child of the family, providing comfort where Conrad causes calamity. Jere and Belly are good friends, and despite liking her in the first book, he allows Conrad to be the first to pursue her out of his love for him. But, that doesn’t last too long, as he eventually decides he wants his chance to pursue her, too. In the third book, he goes through an unexpected character change.

    Steven Conklin

    Steven is Belly’s older brother, who is also best friends with the Fisher brothers, considering them family. He often jokes around and teases his younger sister, however, he does have a loving and caring side and acts protective when he feels like it’s necessary. Despite considering the Fisher boys his brothers, he comments about how Belly is his priority over them emotionally.

    Susannah Fisher

    Susannah is the rock that everyone clings to. Due to her compassionate, loving, and friendly nature she’s well-liked by everyone. That is why, after a certain event happens, everyone is left shaken up and struggling to pull themselves together.

    The plot twist

    We’ll try to help you understand some of the aspects of the plot without revealing too many spoilers. Notably, the main plot twist of book one, the titular book of the series, deals with the reveal of Susannah’s illness, whom no one but Laurel knew about. However, despite Susannah never telling him about it, Conrad had already suspected it, letting him eat it up inside and trying to ignore it at the same time. It also reveals Jeremiah’s feelings towards Belly, which starts up the entire love triangle.

    More audiobooks like The Summer I Turned Pretty

    If you liked The Summer I Turned Pretty series, the good news is there are other similar books that you might enjoy, which you can listen to in audiobook format on Speechify.

    In particular, if you like Jenny Han’s work, you’ll be pleased to know that her other famous book To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is just as good as the Pretty series. It follows the story of a girl named Lara Jean and her secret box of letters to all her past crushes which accidentally gets mailed, causing drama to ensure. It’s her most popular book, and it also has a movie series based on it that is available on Netflix.

    Other books with similar formats but original stories that you might like include Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid, which is full of talk about parallel universes, strange flashbacks, romance, and the concept of soulmates, as well as other books by Taylor which you can also find on Speechify.

    Another great book is Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen, which is ideal for Jenny Han fans. It follows the story of a girl crumbling under her parent’s grand expectations, as she tries to find herself and understand the feelings she’s developing.


    Does The Summer I Turned Pretty series include all 3 books?

    The series is divided into three parts, so each exists as its own book, however, the boxed set contains the entire book series.

    Does Belly end up with Conrad or Jeremiah?

    Spoiler warning if you don’t want to know the answer just yet. In the last book, after many twists and turns, Belly ends up with Jeremiah, almost sure that he is her soulmate, despite admittedly not getting over Conrad.

    Cliff Weitzman
    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.