School Library Journal Gr 7-10-Romantic and heartbreakingly real, this novel follows 15-year-old Belly through the most important summer of her life. Every year, her family shares a beach house with Belly's mother's best friend, Susannah, and her two sons. Belly has always had a crush on Conrad, the older boy, but he has always treated her like an annoying younger sister. This summer, everything changes. The beautifully written novel captures Belly's realization that she is changing into an attractive young woman with a growing power over the boys in her life. They include Cam, the "nice" boy she should fall for but doesn't, and Jeremiah, Susannah's younger son. Only Conrad is seemingly immune to Belly's charms. Meanwhile, Susannah and her family are dealing with problems that Belly does not fully comprehend. Flashbacks to previous summers show her struggles to make Conrad and Jeremiah notice and include her, and how hurt she was when they didn't. The novel perfectly blends romance, family drama, and a coming-of-age tale, one that is substantially deeper than most, but it will still satisfy those hoping for a soapy story of summer love. Belly's discovery that you can't always choose who you love will appeal to readers, as will the author's expert evocation of a magical time when absolutely anything could happen.-Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Unified School District (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list Belly spends every summer at the beach house owned by her mom's best friend, Susannah. While all the usual occupants Belly's brother, her mom, Susannah, and Susannah's sons, Jeremiah and Conrad are present, this year things are different. A note of finality hangs in the air, as Conrad will start college in the fall. He's always been closed off, but now he's taken up drinking and smoking, and gets moody whenever other boys pay attention to Belly. In addition to Conrad, there's Cam, Belly's summer fling, and Jeremiah also seems to have a crush on her. Who will she end up with? Some chapters return to summers past, revealing Susannah's cancer and Belly's first kiss with one brother, Jeremiah, and her unwavering love for the other, Conrad. Han plants enough seeds throughout the book for readers to ascertain what's really going on with Susannah, while keeping Belly who is appropriately self-centered, alternating between typical teenage vanity and vulnerable insecurity clueless. This is a quick, satisfying read, with a poignant conclusion good for budding romance fans.--Jones, Courtney Copyright 2009 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publishers Weekly This well-written coming-of-age story introduces 15-year-old Isabel, aka Belly, for whom summer has always been the most important time of year: it's when her family shares a beach house with her mother's best friend, Susannah, and her two sons. Like Belly's older brother, Steven, Susannah's boys have always thought of Belly as their younger sister. But this summer-"It was the summer everything began"-is different. One brother, Jeremiah, is suddenly interested in Belly, but she has always had a crush on dark and unattainable Conrad. And then there is Cam, also spending the summer at the beach, who becomes Belly's first boyfriend. Han (Shug) realistically balances Belly's naOvete with her awareness of the changes the years have brought ("In some ways it was even harder being the only girl back then. In some ways not"). Anecdotal chapters of past summers are interspersed, rounding out Belly's character, her attachment to Susannah and her desire for the boys to include her. First in a planned trilogy, Han's novel offers plenty of summertime drama to keep readers looking forward to the next installment. Ages 12-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved