Belly’s never been the kind of girl that things happen to. Year after year, she’s spent her summers at the beach house with Conrad and Jeremiah. The boys never noticed Belly noticing them. And every summer she hoped it would be different. This time, it was. But the summer Belly turned pretty was the summer that changed everything. For better, and for worse.
This has the type of romance in it that makes me heart yearn, that certain type that feels absolutely real. Though a relatively light read, this had some depth to it also.
This is a coming of age novel about Belly (Isabel). I don't know if it's the summer she turned pretty, but it's the summer she became confident and became noticed.
It's also a summer of change, as it'll probably be the last summer. It feels like her summers at the beach house have been one of those perfect times like Christmas that always felt very right but then one realises as they grow older that there were cracks all along. While there are obvious changes coming, there are also cracks within the families that grow bigger as the book progresses.
I loved that this book in a way caught itself being shallow. Belly finds out some important things near the end of the book that really put her life into perspective. This was clever because she felt the way that I feel after a lot of those summer romance novels--that she had been too absorbed in the shallow things and as such had missed the bigger picture.
I really enjoyed the dynamic between Belly, her brother Stephen, and brothers Jeremiah and Conrad. Each had their own distinctive personality and I found it easy to distinguish them.
The book interspersed the present with scenes from previous summers that showed how Belly had been shaped by the past and by events that she references in the present in an effective manner.
I'm not sure if this is the kind of book that might be spoiled by a sequel; however, I need to know what happens next so I'll definitely be reading the next books.