Did the tv series adaptation of The Summer I Turned Pretty come out yesterday? Yes. Did I watch all 7 episodes yesterday? Also yes.
I read this series last summer with my Zoom book club of former students and absolutely loved it. I have a soft spot for YA love stories and this one is so good.
In the book series, Isabel “Belly” Conklin spends every summer of her life at Cousins Beach. Her, her mom (Laurel), and her older brother (Steven) have gone to stay at the summer house of her mom’s best friend, Susannah, since she was born. Susannah has two boys – Conrad and Jeremiah. They have all grown up together and Conrad and Jeremiah have always seen Belly as the annoying little sister. Not only has she felt left out over the years at times, but she’s had a crush on Conrad since she was 10. The summer Belly turns 16 is different. When she arrives at the beach the boys see that she’s not a little kid anymore.
The book series follows Belly and the boys over a few summers and it’s so good!
So how did the tv show measure up? The show follows book 1 and it was really good. There were a lot of changes made, but all the changes I think made it work better for a tv show. The essential things were there, which is what’s most important. The moms and Steven had larger storylines in the show. In the books, Steven isn’t talked about a lot. He’s just there hanging out with the guys and then he actually leaves halfway through summer to go look at colleges with his dad. Laurel and Susannah don’t have huge parts in the book either. We just know they are best friends and they are around at the house, but in the show they have whole storylines. There’s also a running storyline in the show of a debutante ball, which is not in the book. Also, a significant change is that in the show Jeremiah is bisexual so I’m interested to see if that will change how things go in book 3 for a possible season 3, which if you know you know. There were a few other little changes and new characters, but again I think the addition of them made the story translate to the screen better.
I knew the adaptation would be good because it wasn’t someone else taking a novel and rewriting it for a tv show or movie and leaving out all the things the readers loved so much about it. Jenny Han, the author of the series, is the one who wrote the teleplay and created the show so I knew she would make a show that the readers would like.
The show was already picked up for a season 2 and I can’t wait!
“For me, it was almost like winter didn’t count. Summer was what mattered. My whole life was measured in summers.”
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