Synopsis: Isabel (fondly known as Belly) has spent every summer of her life in cousins with the family of her mother’s best friend. Belly has been best friends with Jeremiah Fisher and in love with Conrad Fisher for as long as she can remember. But this summer, everything is about to change. This summer will always be remembered as the summer she turned pretty…

the summer I turned pretty

I went into this series expecting some light, summer reading. You know the kind; beaches, summer jobs, stolen kisses and fireworks (there’s always fireworks, you crazy Americans and your fourth of July traditions!) So I bought the whole series in one go so I could marathon them. Unfortunately, these books were a little more dramatic than I’d bargained for.

So, as you might have surmised, there’s a love triangle. I don’t mind a love triangle; I always enjoy picking my favourite and rooting for them until the end. But a love triangle simply cannot work if both of the love interests involved are so completely unlikable! Jeremiah is supposedly the nice, open, fun boy, whilst Conrad is the dark, brooding, older boy. I found it impossible to back either of them.

And then there’s Belly. Not only did her nickname annoy me throughout the book (apologies to any Isabels!) but she was so infuriatingly selfish and immature! Then there was the fact that she seemed incapable of happiness unless she had a boyfriend. Uh-uh, not cool.

As for the positives, well, I did like some of the secondary characters and the fictional beach town of Cousins was nicely fleshed out and charming, but there wasn’t enough of either. There was just a distinct lack of cuteness here. Another dimension to the storyline would have been nice, something to make the reader smile and lighten the tone slightly. I’m all for romance and drama, but this series made me feel smothered by drama. Plus, for a love triangle, there are hardly any romantic scenes! I demand my stolen beach kisses with fireworks overhead!

I don’t think this series was terrible. It was comparable to reading a soap opera script, in some ways. I mainly felt a little cheated; I’d been expecting a delicious summer read that would give me all those fuzzy, happy feels that you get when reading contemporaries. Alas, it was not to be. In conclusion, worth a read, but not worthy of a prized place in your beach bag.