The Summer I Wasted Reading These Books


Be weary: if seen in local bookstore run far away.

Maya Marques, Reporter

Spoilers Ahead.

“I would rather have had someone shoot me in the head with a nail gun, repeatedly,” (Jenny Han 177) then read this trilogy again.

I consider myself an open-minded person. Sometimes I am too open-minded, which led me to read some of the worst human literature ever published.

“But Maya, what are your credentials to such opinions?” 

Well, wise reader, I read (a lot). I’ve read more pages than all the minutes I’ve been outside combined. So, I consider myself quite qualified to hate on a set of books; also, Mrs. Wallace approved this article.

I began this trilogy with a few things in mind: I was in a severe reading slump; my friends, who have completely different tastes than me, enjoyed this book; and I cannot, for the life of me, enjoy cringey romance tropes.

The latter is a speciality of this particular author, Jenny Han, who, if you don’t know (you probably do), is the author of: “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” (yes the same books that were turned into a, hopefully, satire Netflix movies). 

Han has been writing for a long time, mostly during 2010-2016, which was obviously the peak time for romance literature.

Having zero idea why this book would be a good fit for me, I began my departure into insanity lane. 

Ok let’s break this down properly: “The Summer I Turned Pretty” book One.

Our story begins when Belly (yes that is her name) arrives at the infamous Cousins Beach House, the house owned by the Fischer family. Susannah, the mother, and Conrad and Jeremiah, the sons of the Fischer family. The brothers are not that fond of Belly. But once she arrives at the beach house with no glasses and new curves, a new-found interest is given to her. 

Okay, strike number one, why is it that when Belly loses her glasses she is all of a sudden the most beautiful girl Conrad and Jeremiah have ever seen?

Oh and before I forget, Belly is described as a beautiful skinny white girl who is incredibly tan in the summer. She has beautifully placed freckles and brilliant gray eyes, and her hair is brown with natural beachy waves.

Continuing on, Belly with her new-found beauty now has the opportunity to chase Conrad, the boy she has been in love with for many years.

During this book a few flashbacks happen and the reader is introduced to, in my opinion, one of the most annoying characters in this entire series: Taylor. 

Taylor is supposedly Belly’s BFF, but at the same time Belly hates her *cough*(fake friend)*cough.* 

Taylor is blond, and acts exactly the way you would expect her to: girly, pink, rich, and annoying. 

The book really just plays on how Belly explores all the new ways that she is considered beautiful and really goes in depth on her new love life. 

Now you would think that she would start getting somewhere with Conrad, or who knows, Jeremiah. But NO, our girl Belly spends one entire book going nowhere with a third boy, Cam, better known as CamCameron,who might I add, is never mentioned again after the first book is over.

Now Cam is your stereotypical anti-drugs guy. He doesn’t drink, smoke, eat meat, entertain the reader, nothing really to him. The only reason Cam is in this story at all is to give Belly a first boyfriend before both of the brothers. 

After a sort of sad breakup with Cam, Belly starts getting really close to Conrad. They both start going out, and let me just say Belly is 15-16 in the first book, Conrad is 18. 

I’ll just leave that there. 

Anyway, Belly and Conrad start going out, and book one ends.

Okay next up is: “It’s Not Summer Without You” book two.

“It’s Not Summer Without You,” gives the reader a sort of time jump, beginning the story in the next year’s summer. Belly and Conrad have already broken up and Conrad leaves for college without so much as a goodbye. 

The relationship between the two is quite strange in my opinion and it lived on for five pages before we found out they had broken up.

Now I did say this story had spoilers so don’t blame me for these next few parts. Conrad had taken Belly to her prom and at the last minute decided he wanted to leave the party early. Belly gets mad, and their love story basically ends the moment he leaves her to find a ride home alone, soaked from the rain.

This second book expands on the love story between Belly and Jeremiah. Yes, Conrad’s brother. This part I will admit was pretty sad. Conrad and Jeremiah’s mother, Susannah, had been battling cancer during the first book and by the beginning of the second she had already died.

The second book’s purpose is to find Conrad, who had gone missing from college. But most of the book is a big compilation of flashbacks, of the time in which the last book ended and this one begins, giving context to that gray area between both books. It also furthers the expanding of the relationship between Jeremiah and Belly. 

By the end of book two, Conrad is found, Belly and Jeremiah start dating, and the beach house at Cousins is saved from being sold. Now, Belly is ready to embark on a new life at college which is teased in the next book.

I want to say that I had gone into this book completely blind. I had no idea who Belly was going to end up with and my mind was already spiraling because who in their right mind goes from brother to brother that way. I found it gross and immature; mind you I am 15, this character is 17 at this point, and the author at the time of this book was well in her 30s. I found it so uncomfortable, I had to read this book every few hours because the second hand embarrassment was so strong.

Now that that monstrosity is over, let’s dive into what really made me hate this series so much that I threw this book against the wall.

Last and yes, least: “We’ll Always Have Summer” book three.

Now this was the absolute worst book I have read in awhile, and I mean I read about five books a month, about 70 books a year, over 200 books total. This has got to be one of the worst. 

“And why?” you ask. Well, because Belly (standard beauty, kissed freckles, can-only-tan-and-never-burn-in-the-sun). Yes, that Belly gets engaged with none other than Jeremiah in this book, after he CHEATS ON HER.

Basically, Belly and Jeremiah have been dating for two years by now. When Jere (his nickname in the books) goes on a trip and cheats on Belly BIG TIME, then he comes back as if nothing happened. 

“How does Belly find out?” She goes to Jeremiah’s frat party, against her will, and while waiting for the bathroom overhears a conversation that exposes the truth. While confronting Jeremiah, he admits to it and states that they were on a break so it doesn’t count, then later proposes to Belly thinking that will make it all better. Of course Belly-No-Backbone, says yes and the entire book is spent by their families trying to convince the couple that getting married is a stupid idea. Also everyone that Belly tells that she is going to get married thinks she is pregnant, which is the only part in this book that I found comical.

Now I know what you’re wondering:, did they really get married or not? 

The answer is no, they did not. And why? Because Belly get’s with her true soulmate, her one and only *vomits* Conrad.

While planning the wedding Belly has to stay at the beach house and Jeremiah goes off to work; this makes Conrad and Belly get really close. And eventually the two rekindle their relationship. And how does Jeremiah take the breakup? Surprisingly well, at least better than I ever would. Jeremiah, although mad, thinks that family should come before his feelings and in the end supports the relationship between his ex-fiancè and brother. 

The epilogue of the last book was the letters that Conrad sent to Belly while she was away at Spain; with that the book ends and Conrad and Belly get their happily ever after.

Overall, “The Summer I Turned Pretty” trilogy was really bad. Not only was it tedious to read, making some parts in the story longer than they had to be. But the only parts that were actually important to the plot were rushed and badly written. The relationship between Conrad and Belly needed more time to have the amount of chemistry that Han thought they had. 

The only reason that Jeremiah and Belly didn’t work out was because of the cheating that happened; but honestly, Jeremiah would have never cheated on Belly. Han changed the character drastically just to turn him into a bad guy so the reader would lose their connection to the character.

The concept of the first book, “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” made me dislike it because its entire concept was that the standards of beauty made someone popular and actually seen, while the writing was mediocre and overall it was not my type of book.

The second book, “It’s Not Summer Without You,” felt unnecessary to me; it felt wrong to just forget everything that happened in the last book. Having to start over relationships that have already been established, and not learning new things but presenting unnecessary information, the second book was plain boring.

The last book,We’ll Always Have Summer,” was by far the worst; there are so many things wrong with this book. Just the idea of dating a pair of brothers sounded so manipulative and disgusting to me. Also why would Jeremiah cheat? It is so out of character and I can’t get over it.

I do not recommend these books to anyone that has matured over the age of twelve. But if you do like these books, no judgment, whatever floats your boat. These three books got an average score of 1.4 stars for me. It was not for me and I will not be reading these again.