Finding Your Inner Self


Hayley Reyes Leon

On The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Belly has a hard time locating herself. I advise individuals my age to read this series since I believe Belly can be related to by a large audience of teenagers. It’s challenging to not know what you want or who you are. She depicts many parts of growing up and dealing with several life changes for which she doesn’t feel ready, and I believe that many people may identify with her.


It’s hard to know who you are and what you want because there are so many different things one may want and be. I feel like I could empathize with Belly a lot, and many others can too. Belly always wanted to grow up and compared herself to her so confident best friend Taylor. She felt like she wasn’t often acknowledged like she once said. “Boys at school never look at me, it’s Taylor who they always look at.” Which made Belly feel maybe not good enough and wanted to grow up so quickly. I think many could relate to that you see many people around that look like they have their lives figured out and maybe you start comparing yourself with them or try to be like them but you aren’t really taking the time to figure yourself out instead you’re trying to be someone your not and I think that message is really important. I think everyone is unique in their own way and it’s about growing within and finding yourself.  Although I still feel like I’m still trying to figure out who I am, I’ve observed that I’m progressively figuring out the little things I like and want. But I’m still very much figuring that out and I think many can also agree that every day you kinda figure out something new about yourself. Belly thought growing up was going to make her know everything. But I believe you never stop figuring yourself out.


I choose to utilize Belly’s first dress to symbolize and represent who she isn’t. Although she was aware that the dress wasn’t hers, she refrained from speaking up because she understood that many around her wanted her to wear it. But eventually she decided to take it off and put on the dress she was sure she adored. This is significant to me because it can be challenging to be yourself when everyone around you is expecting the opposite of you. It’s often difficult to be yourself and feel like your decisions may let them down, so I can connect to this, and I know many young viewers can too. “Moments, when lost, can’t be found again. They’re just gone.” This is encouraging because, although there may have been times when you were lost and at your lowest, and you may have made decisions you weren’t completely aware of, those times no longer define who you are. It goes without saying that it’s acceptable to continue to develop and improve because many people do so every day.


This book, in my opinion, should be read since it illustrates how lost one may be and how acceptable it is to not have everything sorted out. It covers a wide range of teenage development topics. The fact that Belly took her time to learn everything there is to know about herself and to truly understand her desires can reassure and assist the teenage audience to relate to Belly. Because she had to go through so much with Jeremiah and it took her so long to understand Conrad was the one she wanted, the end result was successful despite the challenges she had to overcome.