It's the summer that Belly (Isabel) is turning 16, and for the first time in her life, boys are noticing her. She has spent every summer of her entire life at her mom's best friend Susannah's summer house, enjoying sun and swimming with her own mom, Susannah, her brother Steven, and Susannah's two sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. She has nursed a crush on Conrad for as long as she can remember, but Jeremiah is her best friend. Belly is the baby of the group, and as both the youngest and the only girl, she has gotten used to the boys leaving her out of their fun. But this summer, both Conrad and Jeremiah seem to see her with new eyes.
As cliche as this all sounds, it's a wonderful book, largely due to Han's writing. It's both beautiful and completely realistic. At times, Belly is the perpetually annoying little sister, but her adult side is emerging as well. This book made me think a lot about my own growing-up years and that awkward transition from child to adult. My family used to vacation to the same beach inn for a week every summer, accompanied by family friends, and that place will always have the same sense of "home" for me that the Susannah's beach house holds for Belly. While reading this book, I had all kinds of pangs of memory and missing for that inn and the "summer friends" that used to accompany us there.
If you've ever had a special summer place that feels like home, this book is worth reading just to recapture that feeling. If you like chick lit and haven't yet discovered Jenny Han, you need to read this book. I look forward to enjoying the second and third books in this trilogy soon.