Show Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty

Before The Summer I Turned Pretty was even released in June this year it was already renewed for a second season.  

With 4.2 billion views the hashtag #TheSummerITurnedPretty captures Tiktok fans’ enthusiasm to follow  “Belly,” Conklin preparing to celebrate her 16th birthday at Cousin’s Beach with her older brother Steven, her mom Laurel and, most importantly, her crush of four years Conrad. After not feeling “pretty enough,” maybe she has a chance this year after turning pretty.

Pretty means having straight brown hair, dark brown eyes, a wider nose shape and almond shaped eyes.

On the cover of Han’s 2009 released novel, the main character Belly was illustrated as a white teenage girl, but in the series, Han decided to make Belly biracial. I feel it allows a lot of Asian American teens to see someone that looks like them to be caught up in the middle of a love triangle and not need to be under the typical beauty standards of blonde hair and blue eyes. 

The romance of the story revolves around the triangle between Belly who likes Conrad, Conrad who sees her as a little sister, and his brother, Jeremiah, Belly’s best friend, who is in love with her. I felt the pacing of the show with the different relationships Belly goes through moves faster than it should have; especially Jeremiah becoming her love interest from her best friend.

Interestingly, Jeremiah is updated to be a more relatable character to Gen Z with an attitude of loving whomever, regardless of gender. Han believes that the decision fit Jeremiah perfectly because of how at ease and comfortable he is with himself and how open minded he is to exploration which is great because it connects so well to Han’s idea of The Summer I Turned Pretty in 2022.

We also see Conrad battling with mental health which develops in him having panic attacks. We see him figuring out ways to cope with it by getting help from a friend.

Overall, I feel it was a cute coming of age show that takes you through the swings of teenage relationships, but deals with bigger topics.

I rate Season 1 a solid 8/10 because of the pacing of certain scenes, but I can’t wait to see what happens next in Season 2.