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Mandafofanda Reads Lots

The world isn't just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no?

And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no?
Doesn't that make life a story?

- Yann Martel, Life of Pi

The Summer I Turned Pretty - Jenny Han In a kind of shocker of shockers, I really liked this book. I mean, everything from the title, to the cover, to the promise of a love triangle just screams "Clichés!.. clichés.. everywhere!" But this book brought back a lot of nostalgia for me. To add to the craziness, I liked this more than [b:Invincible Summer|8105542|Invincible Summer|Hannah Moskowitz|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1277224620s/8105542.jpg|13406654], which was written by Hannah freakin' Moskowitz, whose writing I adore. But while I wasn't really able to relate to Chase, I connected with Belly.

Belly reminds me a bit of myself at around that age or younger. She's immature and naive and overly sensitive, wishes to be treated like a young adult but constantly regresses to acting like a child. (The number of times she sticks her tongue out at people, or wants to stick her tongue out at people...) She's teased mercilessly and constantly left out of "boy fun". She crushes hard, yet hasn't gone any further than that. She sees boys as pals to hang out with, until the summer that she notices them looking at her in a different way. And that's the summer that she discovers boyfriends and being noticed and liked and non-friend kisses, and, well, feeling pretty.

I grew up with many cottage weeks and fishing trips with my sisters and cousins, and this book reminds me a lot about that too. Belly and Steven, and Conrad and Jeremiah have grown up together and have that familial bond, even without being related. They know each other's good traits and bad, have experienced high points and deeply embarrassing ones. They know how to cheer each other up, or get under each other's skin. It's that kind of bond that can't be replicated in later years.

Overall, this book captures that time when you look back later, and say, "God, I was so stupid sometimes!" but it's a phase that you went through, with all it's highs and lows, and one you don't forget.