What to Read if You Loved THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY

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Alison Doherty

Senior Contributor

Alison Doherty is a writing teacher and part time assistant professor living in Brooklyn, New York. She has an MFA from The New School in writing for children and teenagers. She loves writing about books on the Internet, listening to audiobooks on the subway, and reading anything with a twisty plot or a happily ever after.

I loved Jenny Han‘s The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy when it came out over 10 years ago. The recent TV adaptation on Amazon Prime is pretty fantastic too. There is something so classic about a summer romance on the beach featuring a love triangle with brothers. And Belly is an amazing character who has basically been ignored her whole life by her brother and their summer friends, Conrad and Jeremiah. Well, until this summer when at 16 the boys start to realize she is a girl and totally beautiful. Belly’s always had a crush on Conrad. But now it seems like Jeremiah might have a crush on her. They are just a house of teenage lust and angst and all the drama that makes for an amazing summer story.

If you also loved the books or the series (or both!) these books like The Summer I Turned Pretty will help scratch that summer romance itch. They are full of summer love, beach vibes, ice cream scooping jobs, love triangles, and so many sunset smooches. Some are more funny like romantic comedies and others are more emotional and atmospheric. But all of them will be perfect for your beachside, poolside, or inside reading plans all summer long. Enough blabbering from me. Here are 10 books like The Summer I Turned Pretty. I hope you enjoy!

Books Like The Summer I Turned Pretty

Zyla & Kai Book Cover

Zyla & Kai by Kristina Forest

Can a summer romance survive the school year? Zyla and Kai meet over the summer while both working in the games section of an amusement park. Both have reasons to resist a relationship. Zyla is a love cynic who remembers her parents marriage falling apart. Kai is a true romantic, but his aunt and uncle asked him to take a break from dating to focus on his college goals. But the pair has undeniable chemistry and can’t stay away from each other…until the romance sours and the two break up. But then during their senior trip to the Poconos Mountains the two of them disappear in the middle of the storm. Told in alternating perspectives between their whole love story and their friends and family trying to find out what’s happening in the Poconos, this story is romantic, emotional, and mysterious.

Cool for the Summer cover

Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler

For a sweet romance and summer beach vibes, read this dual timeline book. In the present, Lara is beginning her senior year and starting to date the guy she’s had a crush on for all of high school. But in flashbacks, she’s a new girl in a small beach town who is falling in love with the daughter of her mom’s boss, Jasmine. When Jasmine surprises Lara by transferring to her high school, these two timelines and two sides of herself are on a collision course. She’s always, always wanted to be with Chase. But she can’t get her mind off her perfect summer with Jasmine.

Our Way back to Always cover

Our Way Back to Always by Nina Moreno

Neighbors Lou and Sam were inseparable as kids. But then middle school happened. And since then, Sam has been busy with the popular kids. While Lou prefers staying home and spending time with her family or writing fan fiction. But there’s something special about the summer before senior year. It feels like anything could happen. When Lou finds an old bucket list she and Sam made for themselves as kids, she decides it’s time to start crossing items off the list. And, surprisingly, Sam decides to join her for every one.

Book Cover for The Charmed List

The Charmed List by Julie Abe

Ellie spent most of high school as the quiet, shy girl. But this summer she wants all of that to change. So she creates an anti-wallflower list. Things are going great. Until #4. What starts as a plan to get revenge on her enemy and former best friend Jack, turns into a road trip down the coast of California together. Their destination is a magic convention. But along the way, Ellie realizes how much she’s missed hanging out with Jack. And their relationship changes in ways she never could have expected.

Stay Sweet Book Cover

Stay Sweet by Siobahn Vivian

This summery book is fiercely feminist and features first love. The author is also good friends with Jenny Han, so how much closer to The Summer I Turned Pretty could you get? Since 1944, summer in Sand Lake has meant ice cream for the girls who work at Meade Creamery. It’s 17-year-old Amelia’s turn to be the head girl in charge of the ice cream shop. But when the owner and founder, Molly, dies unexpectedly, the future of the iconic shop is in jeopardy. And when Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives to help keep the business going, Amelia feels torn between her allegiance to the girls, her love of the ice cream shop, and her new summer crush.

Right Where I Left You book cover

Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters

Ready for a summer romance with Pride, fandom, and lots of gaming? Isaac makes a plan to have the best summer ever with his best friend Diego. They are going to go to Teen Pride and a Comic Con event and everything will be perfect before different post-graduation plans split them up. But when Issac’s former crush distracts him from buying tickets, Diego’s feelings are hurt. A love triangle between the three boys dominates this friends-to-lovers story.

melt with you book cover

Melt With You by Jennifer Dugan

Last summer, best friends Fallon and Chloe hooked up and that ruined everything. A series of misunderstandings led to them breaking up. And now, they haven’t talked in a year since Chloe left for college. The problem is their moms co-own an ice cream business where both girls work together. A professional opportunity for their moms means Fallon and Chloe have to take over the summer festival schedule through an ice cream truck road trip. The will they won’t they energy in this story is strong. But it also examines how two people can have completely different stories about the exact same relationship.

What I Thought Was True Book Cover

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

This summer romance is a little older, but it’s one of my favorites and the beach vibes remind me so much of The Summer I Turned Pretty. Gwen is the daughter of fishermen and house cleaners with a love/hate relationship with the small, coastal island town she lives in. Cass is a rich mainlander who broke Gwen’s heart and ruined her reputation during the school year. Gwen just wants nothing to do with Cass, but for some reason, he signs up a yard worker at the same place where Gwen is working as maid. Gwen realizes she might not have the whole story about what went down with Cass. And as their relationship reignites, Gwen must decide what kind of future she wants.

Getting Over Max Cooper Book Cover

Getting Over Max Cooper by Marcelle Karp

Sixteen-year-old Jazz Jacobs has a job scooping ice cream (because at least 70% of YA summer romances must feature ice cream) on Fire Island. This book is full of crushes, friend drama, and beach parties. Jazz develops a whopper of a crush on Leo, the new surfer boy on the island this year. But her pursuit of romance upsets her best friend Macy who is very much not over her ex from last summer, the eponymous Max Cooper.

some other now book cover

Some Other Now by Sarah Everett

If you love a love triangle with brothers, then this is going to be your favorite of all the books like The Summer I Turned Pretty. Jessi has always felt more at home with the Cohen family than with her own. Rowan has been her best friend and Luke, his older brother, always watched over them. But when romance develops with one of the Cohen boys and their mom is diagnosed with cancer, everything changes. It’s been a year since she’s gone next door and Rowan isn’t talking to her anymore. But now, Luke wants her to pretend to be his girlfriend for the last summer of his mom’s life. And Jessi’s desire to be a part of their family is too strong for her to resist the ridiculous fake dating scheme.

I hope you love these books like The Summer I Turned Pretty. If not, I guess you can read the book series or watch she show again for the second or third or maybe even fourth time. You could also get more YA ideas for romance books like The Summer I Turned Pretty by looking at this list of love books for teens or this list of 2022 summer reads.