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Hoo boy. I don’t even know where to start. Probably by saying that the number one indicator that you’re reading a good book is if you finish it in less than 24 hours and it is nearly impossible to put it down. I’m talking about “The Summer I Turned Pretty” by Jenny Han.

Here’s the breakdown: Every summer, Belly (the main character, it took me a few chapters to get over the weirdness of her name) and her mother go to a summer beach house with her mother’s best friend Beck and Beck’s two sons, Jeremiah and Conrad. The thing that’s different about this summer, though, is that Belly has matured a bit, and so she feels that boys are noticing her more in general.

It’s one of those things where you can’t judge a book by its cover, because the title makes the novel seem like the most shallow thing ever. Also, the plotline just sounds like a really pretty girl who can’t choose between two gorgeous guys, yada yada. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of the title, or the title cover for that matter. It bothers me when I see actual people on romance novel covers, because it’s like the author or publisher is trying to force into your head what the characters look like, when in reality, everyone’s definition of “cute” or “hot” or “beautiful” is different. Just let us use our imaginations, please.

It was a beautiful book though. It is not only character-driven but also plot-driven, if that makes sense. Belly is not the typical bland, static heroine that a lot of chick lit characters are. She’s pouty and she’s bitchy, and she gets angry and yells a lot. She makes decisions that may not seem morally right, but constantly remind the reader that she is human, which is comforting.

What I loved was that every character in the book was there for a reason. The relationships in this book were so believable that I don’t doubt the author has experienced them before. The sibling rivalries, best-friendships, and jealousies are so tangible that I felt like I know these people.

And the best thing about the dialogue? NO CHEESE! And by cheese, I mean the male interest pouring their feelings out in an unrealistic, I’m-going-to-throw-up way. And if there was, it flowed so well into the text that I hardly even noticed it was there.

There was also that great unpredictability factor, which I’ll admit, chick literature seems to lack a lot. For the most part, there’s only one guy that’s there from the beginning, and it’s the simplest thing to pin him and be like “That’s the one she’s going to end up with.” But no. There’s 3 guys in this one. Again, I repeat, hooooo boy…

Bottom line? It was so good that while I was preparing lunch, I couldn’t stop thinking about the book and I was literally jumping up and down on my kitchen floor, giddy about the storyline. This is embarrassing to admit, but I’d just like you to realize the extent of my love for this book.

And ladies? I might take this back later but… first time through reading it? I think it’s better than Twilight.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Sarah Dessen fans. It’s very similar to her style of writing. It takes place in the summer, which I’ve read is also Dessen’s favorite period for a novel.

READ WHEN: Whenever, really. It’s a short read. I finished it in about… 5-ish hours? I mean, I should probably say I was like INHALING the book, but there’s big font, wide margins… Read it as soon as possible. This book is amazing.

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