‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ is the first book in the trilogy of young adult romance novels.
Belly Conklin, the main character of the book is finding her way through the trials and tribulations of her teenage years, which includes navigating boys and romance.
Each summer, Belly visits a beach town with her family along with some family friends.
This includes two brothers whom she finds herself in a love triangle with. The main narrative circles around the love interests and relationships that Belly finds herself with.
In the subplot, the author steers towards complicated family relationships, trust, and friendship.
Belly is tested in more ways than one throughout her summer leaving readers desperate to find out how the story will continue to unfold.
The book has been so successful that it has now been turned into a series on Prime Video, with a second season rumored to be on the way.
If you couldn’t get enough of ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’, then gut-wrenching romance novels such as ‘The Summer Of Broken Rules’ and ‘Along For The Ride’ will leave you desperate for a summer of love.
Themes In The Summer I Turned Pretty
The main theme in the book is clearly about young love and romance, as Belly has had a lifelong crush on Conrad.
She soon learns all about first love as well as heartbreak.
The book delves further into the themes of love through the complications and love triangles that occur between the main character and the brothers.
Struggles Of Being A Teenager
Belly is 16 during the summer the book is set in, with glimpses into the past readers can learn a little more about her backstory and the issues she’s had to face.
These include navigating feelings and learning to trust your instincts as well as navigating new social situations such as parties.
Family And Friend Relationships
Another main theme of the book includes the character’s relationships with friends and family.
Divorce, separation, and trust are major themes that are touched upon with the teens and the complicated relationships that unfold because of this.
The importance of friendship and the ability to forgive and move on is another area that this book touches on so well.
Books Like The Summer I Turned Pretty
The Summer Of Broken Rules
The Summer Of Broken Rules is one of BookTok’s romance sensations.
Meredith Fox, the main character, attends a big family gathering at Martha’s Vineyard one summer after recently losing her sister Claire.
The family has an annual tradition of playing Assassin, which sees Meredith forming an unusual alliance with a cute guy who distracts her from the purpose of the game.
It is a classic love story that will leave readers in constant suspense.
- Inspired by the songs of Taylor Swift, so would be very popular with her fans
- Best-selling book
- Feel good summer romance novel
- May help some young readers with feelings of loss and grief
- Some explicit language may not be suitable for younger readers
- Very mild rude references/innuendos that may not be suitable for some readers
Themes: Young Adult, romance, death and grief, family, coming of age.
Better Than The Movies
Liz Buxbaum, the main character of ‘Better Than The Movies’ is trying to navigate the stresses of senior year when her childhood crush moves back to the area.
The crush seems to become good friends with her annoying childhood friend and neighbor, Wes.
As she enlists his help to try and woo the newcomer and secure him as her date to the prom.
This is a major turnaround for Liz as she spent her formative years being tormented and frustrated by Wes, who used to prank her relentlessly.
During all the scheming and planning, Liz finds her feelings towards her irritating neighbor become rather confusing.
- Lighthearted comedy
- A comical expression of teenage woes and friendships
- Easy to read
- It’s lacking in the background between Liz and her friend Joss who experience conflict in the book
Themes: Young Adult, romance, fiction, lighthearted comedy, grief.
Today Tonight Tomorrow
‘Today Tonight Tomorrow’ puts a bit of a twist on the classic love story.
Two rival overachievers that attend the same high school are in their senior year and about to graduate, meaning their feud will finally come to an end.
In an unlikely turn of events, Neil and Rowan have to team up to beat their classmates at a classic senior game.
As the pair try to put their differences aside, at least for a minute, they learn a lot about each other as well as themselves and the new chapters they are about to face.
- Explores religious issues such as identity and racism contributes to the conversation of Antisemitism in modern America
- Lighthearted and entertaining
- Positive themes about empowering young women
- A good representation of race, sensuality, and religious beliefs
- References towards violence towards Jewish people and references to some other scenes of violence
- Explicit language is seen
- Mild adult references which may not be suitable for some readers
Themes: Young Adult, romance, comedy, teenage issues, religious identity.
Along For The Ride
Things are tough for the main character of ‘Along For The Ride’, Auden. Her parents fight long into the night which means she can’t sleep.
When they finally divorce, Auden goes to stay with her dad for the summer in his new house in a charming beach town, but she’s sharing him with his new family.
To keep her busy and earn some extra cash Auden gets a job in a clothing boutique, which allows her to understand the girly world a little better.
Things to look up when she meets fellow insomniac Eli, who shows her the alternative side to the town only seen at night.
- Explores complex family relationships
- Not a clear-cut happy ending
- Portrayals of strong, intelligent female characters
- Follows an extremely similar plot and storylines to the author’s other books
- Mentions of alcohol
Themes: Young Adult, summer romance, family issues, friendship, health issues.
See You Yesterday
‘See You Yesterday’ is a hilarious story that follows two college students that are stuck in a time loop.
After humiliating herself in the first few days of college, Barrett Bloom finds herself back in her dorm room after a particularly bad party, as if nothing had happened.
She soon realizes that a classmate, Miles, is also trapped in this time loop.
They start to work together to try and figure a way out by going on wild adventures throughout their university campus.
One thing they didn’t expect was to fall for each other.
- Endearing characters that can be related to
- Represents the wide range of issues that young adults face
- Fun and interesting plot that is different from many other young adult romance novels
- Mentions of alcohol use
- Some mild adult content may not be suitable for younger readers
Themes: Young Adult, science fiction, romance, magical realism.
Every Summer After
Persephone Fraser spent her childhood summers on the lake of her small hometown with her new friend and neighbor, Sam.
When the friendship turned into something more, it fell apart which caused Persephone to move to the city and leave her old life behind.
When Sam’s mother passes away she rushes back to her hometown, which instantly sparks up that old connection between the pair.
The love story takes place with a journey through the summers they spent together as well as the one weekend Percy goes back to visit.
She has many decisions to relive and regrets in her heart. But will it last forever?
- Produces feelings of summer nostalgia
- The characters explore the feelings of regret, first love, and teenage emotions through flashbacks
- Heartwarming, tear-jerking romance
- Mentions of adultery may be unsuitable or triggering for some
- Adult references which may not be suitable for younger readers
- Slightly lacks character development
Themes: romance, fiction, contemporary, Young Adult.
If you loved ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ then you are in luck as there are many similar young adult romance novels on the market.
These books are easy to find via Amazon and are great for light reading, with many of them being turned into movies and TV series.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is There A Fourth Book of The Summer I Turned Pretty?
Jenny Chan’s series has only three books with no hints at there being a fourth.
There is currently only one season of the Prime Video series, with suggestions that there will be a couple more to follow.
Is Every Summer After Similar To The Summer I Turned Pretty?
There are similarities between the two books as both feature flashbacks from the past that help to tell the character’s stories and help the audience get to know their pasts.
Another similarity can be drawn from the fact that the two main female characters end up falling in love with close childhood friends.
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