Jenny Han has written two trilogies (“The Summer I Turned Pretty” and “Burn for Burn” which she wrote with friend and fellow author Siobhan Vivian) and a duology (“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before). Han commented on writing the “Burn for Burn” trilogy with her friend saying that they were very good friends who shared with each other their writing, so that writing books together was the next logical step. She writes young adult/ children’s novels about young girls and growing up while in school. Jenny was born and grew up in Richmond, Virginia. She received her MFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she met Siobhan Vivian and Morgan Matson. While she was in college, she published her first book, “Shug”, a novel about a girl trying to navigate through junior high. The book was well received by critics and fans. She currently lives in Brooklyn.
“The Summer I Turned Pretty” is the first book in the series of the same name, a New York Times Bestselling series. The series is also known as “The Summer Series/ Trilogy” or “The Belly Conklin series”. Belly likes summer vacation, her best times happen when she goes to her beach house at Cousins Beach between June and August. The other months just mark off time until the next summer break. During summer break, she gets to see her friends Susannah (who is friends with Belly’s mother), Conrad, and Jeremiah (both boys are Susannah’s children). Conrad and Jeremiah she has known forever and have been like brothers to her, and she has also had crushes on them. Things go differently this summer because now, she is pretty and is not left out of things and she has a fling with a boy.
Fans of the book enjoyed the way the author makes the readers want to head right to the beach and the way that her issues seem real that may prompt moms and their daughters to talk about some of the problems that they may be facing in their daily lives. The book shows Han’s ability to write for Belly and the way she wants to act more mature, be a little reckless, but at the same time not leave the safe realm that is her comfort zone. Readers also like that it has a nice ending that does not leave readers hanging that provides a solid finish to a good read. Some readers thought that the author did a good job writing for the adult characters in the book; some thought the relationship that Laurel (Belly’s mother) and Savannah had was quite compelling.
Readers who did not like the book found that Belly was not very likable, just an average teenage girl; they found the same to be true about the boys in the book. Some found Belly to be unrelateable too, she is immature for her age, and she does not realize that the world does not revolve around her. They found the love stuff to be changing with Belly not very sure about how she felt about any of the guys in her life. Readers were also critical of the fact that the girl’s life changes once people realize how beautiful the girl is; she starts getting hit on and people cannot help but tell her for the whole book that she is beautiful.
“It’s Not Summer Without You” is the second book in the “The Summer I Turned Pretty” series. In previous years, all Belly could think about was spending time at her beach house during the summer. Now, she dreads nothing more than heading up and spending time there. Susannah has died leaving everyone a mess, and unable to get on after her death. Jeremiah tells her that Conrad has gone missing; leaving Belly with the realization that there is one thing that she must do, and she must end what might just be her last summer at the beach house. To her, it seems fitting. When they head back to the beach house, they are able to find Conrad. Most prominent in this book is Susannah’s death.
People enjoyed the book for the way it was written for how touching and sad the book was. Readers reacted to what a roller coaster ride the book can be at times, going from scenes that show how bad Conrad was treating Belly, but then there would be a good scene between two other characters and that would bring them back and lift them back up. Readers liked the way that Han is able to depict things in this book in a real way, and the way she makes the characters (and the readers) wish for simpler times wins readers over and makes them wish that they had never taken the plunge in the first place. She shows the disappointments in Conrad and Belly’s trying to bring their fantasies to life. Readers liked that Han was able to make each character show the different forms of handling their grief.
Some readers thought that not a whole lot happens in the book and that Belly wants all the attention, even though Conrad’s mother just died. Belly, in their minds, still refuses to see that Conrad is not the perfect man that she would like him to be. They also did not like the way that Belly seems to be a thirteen year old (not a seventeen year old, which she actually is) telling her story. She seems to want one man and she wants him to be the perfect man for her. Belly also seems to put up with the crappy way that Conrad treats her, and any little amount of attention he gives her; they also think she is hung up on a boy that does not really want her.
The rights to “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” (a New York Times Best Seller) has been bought by the company that Will Smith owns called Overbrook Entertainment. Annie Neal is set to write the screenplay. There are also plans in the works right now to turn the “The Summer” trilogy into a television series.Book Series In Order » Authors » Jenny Han