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Jenny Han was born in Richmond, Virginia, and later studied at the University of North Carolina. She now lives in New York where she works part-time as a children's librarian, in between writing her new series for teens.
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 Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
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) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.