"I think I always knew I would be Belly Fisher one day... I just didn't know it was going to happen like this."
– Belly, on her wedding day, We'll Always Have Summer
15-18 (throughout series)
Laurel Dunne (mother)
Conrad Fisher (ex-boyfriend (formerly), husband)
Isabel "Belly" Conklin
Isabel "Belly" Conklin is the main narrator and protagonist of The Summer Trilogy written by Jenny Han (also known as The Summer I Turned Pretty series or, rarely, The Belly Conklin series).
She is a young teenage girl who spends her summers at a residence known as Cousins Beach with her mother, brother and her mother's childhood best friend Susannah Fisher along with her two boys Conrad, the oldest, and the younger one of the two, Jeremiah.
Throughout the series, she is in an intense love triangle between Conrad and Jeremiah, trying to determine which boy she is meant to be with. Her ultimate passion throughout the series is swimming, saying how she can get "lost" and feels relaxed in the sport and why she loves it.
NOTE: This page contains spoilers for the trilogy!
Appearance and Personality
Belly is described as having dark hair and a face full of freckles and a slim girlish figure she almost always hides in loose fitting clothes. She is also told to tan very easily during her summers and sometimes gets "dark as coffee beans". Unlike her best friend Taylor, Belly is the type of girl who prefers to cover up her womanly body.
She is seen always wearing large T-shirts and relaxed clothing to hide her figure and, when going swimming, prefers bathing suits with support bras to hide her rather large chest. Although she admits to wearing modest bathing suits because of her physical insecurity as well as her fear of being made fun of by the boys. It is revealed Belly developed at a rather fast pace for a girl her age, already having C size breasts by the age of fourteen, and immediately hated her large chest due to the physical disadvantages of them. Belly also seems somewhat oblivious to her beauty, always attracting the attention of guys throughout the course of the series, resulting in her occasionally being hit on.
Belly is a tom boy as the result of being the only girl (excluding her mother and Susannah) in a house full of older boys and being raised in such an environment. Despite being the only "sister" of the group of older boys, as well as the youngest, she can be girly at times. Despite mostly preferring comfortable and relaxed clothes, she experiments with girlie and sexier clothes throughout the series. She is shown to be somewhat immature, but sheds her childish personality as she grows and evolves into an adult as the trilogy goes on. Conrad describes her as an upbeat and naturally cheerful person, saying if there was a bright side to a bad situation, Belly was the one to find it.
Growing up, she always felt the summers she spent at the beach house were the true and genuine parts of life. She felt the winter and cold seasons were the days she simply "counted" down until the time came that she can return to the summer house and be with the Fisher family again. She saw them to be her family and the beach house her true home, loving her time there more than anything else in the world. Even in her college and adult years, she makes regular trips back there, even if she is by herself so she can simply spend time there.
As a kid, she felt left out of the boys games and fun due to being a girl and had to beg to be included. She would even sometimes have her mother force the boys to let her join in on their fun, annoying them, which she later feels embarrassed by as an adult.
The Summer I Turned Pretty
In the pilot book of the trilogy, Belly arrives at Cousins for yet another summer with Susannah and her two sons, the eldest of the two, Conrad and the younger one, Jeremiah. Belly has officially blossomed in the start of the novel, at the age to where she is no longer seen as a little girl, but as a teenager. It becomes clear the second Belly steps out of the car to approach the boys, that they finally see her not as Steven's little sister, but as an actual girl now.
Belly has always had a crush on Conrad since she was little, but will something bloom with her and Jeremiah? She starts things with a boy named Cam Cameron, who turns out to have always liked her before she ever knew him. But she realizes things won't work out so she breaks things off with him in the end of the novel.
It's Not Summer Without You
After her relationship with Conrad crashed and burned and Susannah's cancer finally killed her, Belly is left with a first summer in her home town instead of at Cousins. However, when Jeremiah calls Belly telling her Conrad's gone missing, she finds herself at Cousins once again. Can the three finally patch their wounds up and mend things after Susannah's tragic death and form a life without her? And who will Belly end up with this time?
Meanwhile, Jeremiah is growing tired of burying his feelings for Belly. He decided to let Conrad have her the first time, but will he be so kind this time? Or will he finally take what he's wanted all along?
In the end, Jeremiah makes his feelings known to her, kissing her in his car. Belly finds herself kissing him back and, after he reaffirms his love for her, they begin to make out. The moment is ruined, however, when a shocked Conrad walks in on them. He jerkily walks away from the scene, and Belly flees after him. When he turns to face her, Conrad is on the verge of fury. They argue and Belly ends up running from the scene, finally realizing that Conrad will never admit to loving her and must move on.
At a motel when the rain gets too heavy to drive home, Conrad tells Jeremiah while Belly is in the shower that he can have Belly and insists to him that he's over her. This results in Belly and Jeremiah getting together in their car ride home together while Conrad calls a friend to pick him up. The tension finally eases and Belly and Jeremiah are left truly believing that Conrad is finally over her and they can all move on in their lives...
What they don't know is that Conrad had lied to the both of them is more than still in love with Belly and is nowhere near getting over her.
We'll Always Have Summer
In the summer finale, two years have passed since the ending of the previous novel and Belly is going well in her ongoing relationship with Jeremiah. Things seem to be going perfect for the two of them - until she discovers Jeremiah cheated on her and slept with another girl on his school break. Belly is angered and horrified when discovering this and spends days literally in bed crying.
Jeremiah pleads with Belly for forgiveness insisting his tryst meant nothing to him and that he loves her. In an act to prove his guilt, he proposes to her to which Belly hesitantly accepts. The two soon think their life is going to be perfect after moving past his mistake. But what they don't know is the family isn't going to be as happy about the couple's plans for marriage as they are.
Meanwhile, Conrad has not gotten over his mistake and has been regretting his decision to let Jeremiah have Belly and is more than still in love with her. After Laurel and Belly have a fall out about her and Jere's engagement, Belly is rendered no choice but to stay at Cousins until her wedding with Jeremiah...where Conrad is also residing. The arrangement slowly surfaces old feelings between the two and Belly is left questioning if she has ever truly gotten over Conrad and if marrying Jeremiah is the right thing to do.
Belly had always been seen by Conrad and Jeremiah as "their best friend's little sister" before the events of the first novel. However, when Belly finally blossoms into a beautiful teenager, they begin to see her as an actual girl, resulting in newfound feelings for her from both boys. This resulting in the intense love triangle the three find themselves in that the story is best known for. Despite receiving sudden attention from other boys, she only develops real feelings for Conrad and Jeremiah and often struggles with her feelings for both boys.
He has been Belly's crush since early childhood, a fact well known by everyone. Despite his character being something of a jerk to everyone, due to never expressing his true feelings and keeping it all bottled in, it is suspected that he has developed feelings for Belly in the first novel, The Summer I Turned Pretty. This is suspected when he shows several accounts of getting either overly protective or jealous of guys flirting with her throughout the course of the first novel. Due to Belly wanting to explore the party scene as well as her romantic options with boys, this annoys her as she feels like he treating her like a little sister and being overly protective. However, at the end of the novel, he gets together with her.
However, by It's Not Summer Without You, their relationship proves to be short lived when Conrad's unstable emotions following Susannah's illness suddenly ends their relationship on a sour note. In spite of their crash and burned relationship, Conrad still shows several - if not mixed - signs of still harboring feelings for Belly. Despite loving him back, Belly realizes he will never admit to loving her and decides to finally let him go.
In the third and final novel, We'll Always Have Summer, Belly and Jeremiah announce their engagement after two years have passed from the previous novel. However, due to her mother kicking her out of the house, Belly stays at Cousins Beach until her wedding day. She discovers that Conrad is staying there as well and the housing situation causes old and buried feelings to re-surface. After a series of events, Conrad is unable to deny his love for her any longer and passionately declares his love for Belly, even insisting that she is the only girl he will ever truly love. Despite his heartfelt confession, Belly brutally rejects him - stating he is too late.
When Jeremiah finds out about his brother's confession, Conrad and him get into an intense fight over their love triangle with Belly. This ultimately results in Jeremiah disowning Conrad as his brother. After his violent confrontation with his brother, Conrad says goodbye to Belly to give themselves time apart. Before leaving, he gives her the infinity necklace he failed to give to her years prior (during The Summer I Turned Pretty) along with heavily implying that he will always love her - declaring that loving her was worth all the trouble. After giving her a kiss on the forehead, he leaves. After this, Conrad and Belly stay apart for about three years.
However, he begins writing her letters during her year abroad in Spain. After realizing she will not write him back after sending her several letters, he sends another letter in which he begs for some sort of response. She sends him a letter back after this, resulting in them writing monthly letters to each other. He shows up at her college graduation another year later, resulting in their reunion as a couple again. He proposes to her after being in a relationship with her for about little over a year afterward.
The epilogue shows the couple just married, starting a new life as newlyweds, marking the end of the series.
Jeremiah is Belly's first kiss as well as (by the ending of the series) her former boyfriend and fiance. He started to develop feelings for Belly in the first novel of the series, but repressed them for Conrad's sake. But in the second novel, he refuses to not be happy any longer and abruptly kisses her while in his car with her. The two briefly make out, only to be interrupted by a near furious Conrad. However, Conrad lies that he is over Belly, pushing Jeremiah and Belly to enter into a relationship together.
They spend two years together and are happy. However, during a break between the two after a fight, Jeremiah cheats on Belly during his spring break in Cabo by sleeping with the "sister sorority slut". Belly soon discovers his infidelity during a frat party and immediately confronts him about it. When he admits to it, she slaps him and spends days in bed crying. Jeremiah, not wanting to lose her, begs for forgiveness and proposes to her to show his regret. Belly hesitantly accepts his offer, after he vows to never hurt her again.
However, it is clear by this point that Jeremiah has changed from Golden Boy to Frat Boy. After their engagement becomes official, he leaves Belly to do most, if not all, the wedding planning and rarely helps her out. He becomes irritable whenever she spends time with Conrad - who begins to help her with the wedding - and uses his soon-to-be marriage towards Belly to subtly hurt him.
When Belly later reveals to him how Conrad confessed that he still loves her, Jeremiah is enraged and takes off the night before his wedding to her. When he is confronted by Conrad, who attempts to convince him to return to Belly, he punches him before disowning him as a brother. Once back at the Summer house where the wedding is arranged to be held, he demands that Belly give all of her heart to him. Belly admits that a small part of her will always love Conrad, but insists that she loves Jeremiah more. Despite this, that simply isn't good enough for him anymore and it results in a permanent break up between the two.
While never officially stated how things returned between them, it is revealed in bonus reading material of the paperback edition of We'll Always Have Summer that Jeremiah had been chatting with Belly online during her studies abroad in Spain. Also, in the epilogue of We'll Always Have Summer, at Belly's wedding with Conrad, she sees Jeremiah with his date and blows him a kiss to which he answers with a smile. This, somewhat, implying they are all on good terms again.
He is Belly's first boyfriend and summer fling. The two actually attended school together, although Belly never noticed him, where Cam harbored a secret crush on her from afar. He wanted to make many attempts to talk to her, but could never muster the courage to do it. The two finally meet in The Summer I Turned Pretty where Cam can be seen checking Belly out at a bonfire party, which Belly notices, causing her to go up and talk to him. The two begin to hit it off while talking to each other and get along well.
The two exchange phone numbers to keep in touch and begin talking over the phone, which results in the start of their romantic relationship. Despite initially being excited about the relationship, Belly begins to find him boring and quickly grows tired of the relationship. She finds it specifically annoying how Cam never showed any physical affection towards her; such as taking her to a Drive-In (a socially known place for hooking up in their town) and not trying to make a move on her or awkwardly asking permission to kiss her instead of just simply doing it. Despite this, it is seen that Cam has genuine feelings for her. Cam soon begins to, as implied, suspect Conrad of having feelings for Belly, explaining that he can tell by the way he looks at her. Despite his suspicions, Cam seems to get along with all of the family and even casually spends time with Jeremiah and Conrad.
Things with the two begin to meet their end when Cam realizes the connection between Belly and Conrad, although he is still willing to date her. He asks if she wants to stay in touch after the summer ends, to which Belly silently declines. By the end of the first book, she realizes that while he is a nice guy, he just isn't her guy.
- “Things couldn't stay the same forever.”
- “Sometimes it hurts to look at you."
- "The future is unclear. But it’s still mine.”
- “Firsts were important. But I was pretty sure lasts were even more important.”
- “Happiness is a Slurpee and a hot pink straw.”
- "Hey, look! That guy in a wheelchair just lapped us!"
- "Mom, just because two people are good friends, it doesn't mean there's anything is good on. Please never bring that up again."
- "Did you hook up with her?
- “My heart was pounding a million trillion times a minute. I never felt more alive. Anger, sadness, joy. He made me feel it all. No one else had that kind of effect on me. No one.”
- “I loved him in a way you can really on do the first time around. It's the kind of love that doesn't know better and doesn't want to - it's dizzy and foolish and fierce.”
- "You were a real badass, Mom."
- "I feel like... like maybe I don't know him like I thought I did. I feel like I can't trust him ever again."
- "What do you know about West Virginia? You've never been there."
- "I think you really hurt Jeremiah's feelings."
- "You and I... you and I were never anything."
- "I'm not pregnant!"
- "I love it here at night."
- "Do you think I'm making a huge mistake?"
- "Hey, I was never not a good driver."
- "No! But I wanted to. I was - I was tempted to."
- "I'm getting married in a couple of days. I shouldn't be thinking about kissing other boys."
- "It doesn't matter. It's too late."
- "No! Don't you get it? You will never be what Jere is to me. He's my best friend. He loves me no matter what. He doesn't take it away whenever he feels like it. Nobody has ever treated me the way he does. Nobody. Least of all you."
- "If you dare try and Belly Flop me right now, you're going down with me." (final line in series)
- She remains a virgin throughout the series, even during her two year relationship with Jeremiah. This is due to her wanting her first time to be special and something she took very seriously, choosing to wait until she knew she was absolutely sure.
- She hates her nickname "Belly" as she thinks it sounds childish.
- Despite being a tom boy and preferring relaxed and loose fitting clothes, she is shown to be very attractive and draws the eyes of many boys throughout the series. Cam even comments that Belly is one of the more popular girls at their school and admitted that he developed an instant crush on her the first time he saw her because of her beautiful appearance. Despite this, Belly herself does not believe she was ever that popular and has personal insecurities about her looks.
- She bears the brunt of the infamous "Belly Flop" that the boys created specifically for her when she was little. This involved all three boys - Steven, Conrad and Jeremiah - grabbing a hold of Belly and throwing her into the pool while yelling "Belly flop!" as they do so. They called this the "tradition" they had to do each summer they all came to the beach house together. Belly suspected Steven created the idea and may have decided to do it due to her always begging to be involved in the group's fun when she was younger. She used to run to her mother for help whenever they tried to do it when she was a young child, but began to reluctantly put up with it when she was older. A "Belly Flop" occurs once in each novel.
- Both her and Steven's, Conrad and Jeremiah's and Taylor's parents are divorced.
- She considers her first kiss to be with Jeremiah during a game of Truth or Dare when she was thirteen, this being when he abruptly kissed her when he was dared to kiss a random person in the group.
- Her passion is swimming and being in water as it makes her feel most calm and at peace. She had been on her school's swim team and is a talented swimmer, possibly considered her team's best swimmer.
- Her "specialty" is cocoa and a specific blend of slurpee.
- She got her nickname "Belly" from her father, who thought the name "Isabel" was too long of a name to casually say. When asked why he did not go with more common nicknames for Isabel such as "Izzy" or "Belle", she theorized that it had to do with how Jelly Belly's were her favorite candy. She further reveals that she dislikes the name "Izzy" and wished she was called "Belle" instead. By the third novel, she has started going by "Isabel" following her going into college, but her life-long friends and family still continue to call her "Belly" as they are used to calling her it.
- Although never specified, her birthday is in August and "marked the end of summer" for her and everyone.
- Belly's character received mixed reviews from readers. Some readers disliked her character as they felt that she was childish and immature and found it hard to like her. Other readers, however, enjoyed the fact that Belly was somewhat immature and made poor choices at times since they felt like they could personally relate to her character. Some also found it refreshing that a main novel protagonist makes mistakes throughout their story, unlike other novel characters who are "perfect" and never make bad choices. They found Jenny Han's writing choice for Belly to be realistic behavior for a normal teenager.
- Her favorite food is a pulled pork sandwich and yellow is her favorite flavor of cake.
- She is insecure about her facial freckles.
- Jeremiah taught her how to drive and use a stick shift car.
- Before the events of the first novel, when she is fifteen going on sixteen years old, she had always worn glasses before switching to contacts. Taylor had been encouraging her to get contacts since she was in the sixth grade and she listened by the events of the first novel.
- She is a fan of older films such as Casablanca and was heartbroken that Ilsa and Rick did not end up together.
- Belly is shown to enjoy a large variety of sweets (such as chocolate candy and sour patch kids) and junk food (like Cheetos and Kraft mac n' cheese). She is sometimes teased about her unhealthy diet by her family.
- When she was a kid, she and Taylor used to take dance classes. She eventually quit due to how Taylor no longer took them and by then her enlarged chest had grown in and it left her feeling embarrassed in her dance uniform.
- She hates getting up early "more than anything" and goes to bed late.
- The first (and only) time she struck someone was Jeremiah in We'll Always Have Summer upon finding out that he cheated on her. The only time she has been hit herself was by her mother in It's Not Summer Without You when yelling at her that she was disappointing Susannah with her behavior in the wake of her death.
- During her freshman year in college, she went through "Freshman Fifteen" in which she gained significant weight as a result of often eating unhealthy and processed food late at night. She ended up putting on ten lbs. before eventually losing the extra weight.
- As Conrad pointed out, she bites her nails and always has since she was young.
- She used to take piano as a child, in which she had to keep her nails short, but quit. She still kept her nails short since she had become used to keeping them that way.
- According to Jeremiah, her left eye squints when she is about to lie and she sucks in her cheeks when nervous. He calls her "an easy read".
- She dislikes the use of the term "retarded" when calling something stupid and gets annoyed whenever someone uses it in such a way.