[Review] The Summer I Turned Pretty proves to be a bingeable, entertaining show


Tribune News Service

Christopher Briney, left, and Lola Trung star in “The Summer I Turned Pretty.” (Prime Video/Victoria Priola/TNS)

Mariapaz Santacoloma, Graphic Designer

“The Summer I Turned Pretty” was released June 17, 2022, on Amazon Prime Video, almost 13 years after the book was released. The author, Jenny Han, is an Asian American writer who also wrote the New York Times bestseller “To All the Boys I Loved Before”.

The series follows the summer vacation of Isabel Conklin, nicknamed Belly, who is played by Lola Tung, and her two love interests Jeremiah Fisher, played by Gavin Casalegno, and Conrad Fisher, played by Christopher Briney. In the show, the love interests are brothers who are both in love with Belly. Similar to “The Vampire Diaries”, there is the nice brother that outwardly cares about her and then the bad boy who shows minimal emotions but secretly loves her.

The show is not much different from the book. The three main differences in the show are that Jeremiah is queer, there is a debutant ball, and there is a lot more diversity. Having a queer main character in the show was very refreshing. Seeing the characters comfortable with their identity shows how society has evolved since the book was written.

In the book, they do not mention anyone being LGBTQ+, while in the show multiple characters are. Jeremiah and two girls debuting at the debutant ball are openly queer and in relationships. These scenes were unique to the show, they emphasized how the television media has evolved and is giving representation to the LGBTQ+ community.

The level of diversity in the show is much broader than in the book, where the only people of color were the Conklin family, who were half-Asian and half-white, making Belly and her brother Steven mixed-race. The show differs from this since they introduce characters like Nicole Richardson, who is a black girl debuting and is involved in summer fling with Conrad, and Shayla Wang who is also debuting and is Steven’s girlfriend.

Beyond that, the show is very well-structured. It managed to cover the whole first book in just seven episodes, each being an hour long. The soundtrack is amazing, featuring songs by Taylor Swift, including Cruel Summer, Lover, False God and This Is Love. Also worth mentioning were songs from Olivia Rodrigo, Tyler The Creator and Frank Ocean.

The iconic beach town of Cousins is a huge part of the series, as the entirety of the show takes place in Cousins’ beach. It is fictionally located on Cape Cod, MA. It is described as the perfect beach town, and it is the setting of Belly’s iconic summer. The cinematography truly shows off the amazing scenery where the show was filmed in Wellington, NC.

The chemistry between the characters and the actors is on point. You can feel the amount of tension in each scene between Conrad, Jeremiah and Belly. The actors did a great job of encapsulating each of their character’s energy. Apart from some corny lines in the show, it is still easy to binge-watch.

“The Summer I Turned Pretty” left many fans wanting more. Fortunately, the second season was announced to start filming June 17, 2022. Despite the books always being better than the live action, it was interesting seeing the film perspective of the book. “The Summer I Turned Pretty” perfectly encapsulated the feeling of a teenager falling in love during the summer.