Amazon’s ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ will make fans fall more in love than the books ever did


“The Summer I Turned Pretty” is the key to unlocking that ethereal summer feeling you’ve been yearning for all year. The seven episode series follows a sixteen year old girl navigating the familiar story of finding yourself and finding love, all while delivering strong summer vibes.

The Amazon Prime series is based off the book of the same name written by Jenny Han. Han is best known for her book trilogy “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,” which has three movie adaptions on Netflix.

The series, starring Lola Tung as Belly, puts life into perspective of what it’s like to be a teenage girl: not only falling in love, but discovering who she is while growing up: learning how to drive, going on her first date, and making new friends. The story follows Belly and her brewing relationships with Conrad and Jeremiah, brothers who she’s known for her entire life.

The title “The Summer I Turned Pretty” is quite bittersweet in its meaning, as it’s narrated in both the first chapters of the book and the first episode of the show that this summer is the one where she finally felt noticeable and beautiful to the boys in her life. If I’m being honest, by the time it came to the third book, I hated all of the characters, even Belly. Han has a way of making all the characters have flaws and imperfections, which make the stories that much better.

However, the show changed the series for the better. Many movies and shows that are derived from books often add unnecessary moments or remove important ones, but everything that deviated from the books enhanced the show and made the story of “The Summer I Turned Pretty” better. The books were written in the early 2010s, so adding more LGBTQ representation and pop culture references was nice because it made the characters more relatable to the current teenage experience.

The actors themselves, almost all being new to the screen, made the characters in the series much more lovable than the characters in the books. Gavin Casalegno plays Jeremiah with so much charisma that I always find myself smiling whenever he appears on screen. Christopher Briney who plays Conrad changed the character for me. You don’t truly understand the internal battles Conrad is having with himself in the books, but Briney really makes it more impactful in the series. These actors made the characters more lovable than the rude and self centered characters I was first introduced to in the books.

The series is different than other teen romance stories, because the problems the characters face are not only in regards to relationships. The characters face real life problems with drinking, gambling, and loss. I wish the season was longer as the later episodes felt rushed. There are many sweet moments between Belly and her love interests. Between the dancing, picnics, walks on the beach, night swims in the pool and karaoke sessions, the series fills you with a sense of utter joy and euphoria as if you’re living in your own summer love story.

One thing I really have to note that was done so well was the soundtrack. I am an avid Taylor Swift lover, but the mix of Bon Iver, Bleachers and Dayglow songs that fill the screen at all the right moments really set in the summer feel, and also make the ultimate summer playlist. The gorgeous North Carolina beaches the series was filmed at also does add a lot to the happy, summery feel of the show, too.

I am a sucker for the usual teen romance, especially if it’s set in the summertime. If you’re in need of a show to give you that transition into summer, “The Summer I Turned Pretty” is the right call for you. You’ll find yourself wanting to go on a trip to the beach immediately after finishing episode one, guaranteed.

Grade: A+