THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY
Han tugs at the heartstrings with
her second young-adult novel. The character of Belly grows up before us through cleverly interspersed flashbacks and the everyday drama of turning 16. More than a coming-of-age story, it explores fractured family relationships as well as the importance of friendship between the sexes.
Summer is Belly's favorite time of year. For as long as she can remember, she has spent June through August with her mother and brother at her mother's best friend's house. This year it's different: Belly grows into her looks, physically and emotionally, and she may be ready to tell one of Susannah's sons that her feelings for him are more than platonic.
But will he ever see her as more than a little girl? Especially in light of his mother's health and his parents' own tenuous marriage? (SIMON AND SCHUSTER, Jun., 288 pp., $16.99, IBSN: 9781416968238, HC, 12 and Up)