Culture Pick – “The Summer I Turned Pretty” is everything one would want and more


Courtesy of Amazon

Zara Morgan, Contributing Writer

On June 17, the world turned on Amazon Prime Video to watch the newest summer romance, The Summer I Turned Pretty.” 

“The Summer I Turned Pretty” is a new series based on a trilogy with the same name by romance author Jenny Han. Han was also the author of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” a trilogy that was adapted into three movies that are currently available to stream on Netflix. 

The new show centers around Isabel “Belly” Conklin, played by Lola Tung, as she spends her summer at a beach house with her mom, Laurel, and brother, Steven, along with two other boys, Conrad and Jeremiah, and their mother, Susannah. Belly has spent her entire life visiting the beach house, but this summer is different because both Conrad and Jeremiah have grown up. 

The show follows the love triangle between herself and the two brothers in addition to someone new. 

Aside from the romance, there are also subplots of family, friendship and discovering new things such as alcohol and fashion. One of the major plot points during season one is Belly participating in the beach town’s debutante ball, a series of formal events meant to prepare a woman to be presented to society. 

As the show progresses, viewers watch Belly gain self confidence while building tension between herself and the rest of the characters as she decides who will be her date to the grand ball at the end of the summer.

“The Summer I Turned Pretty” contains a diverse cast with representation for both people of color and the LGBTQ+ community. 

In an interview with Cinema Blend, Han said she made slight changes to the characters in the movie in order to promote wider diversity to reflect the current times.In the book, which was released in 2009 as Han’s debut, the characters are depicted as caucasian on the book cover. However, to better reflect Han’s Korean heritage, they decided to make the lead character and her family in the TV show Asian American as well.

The costumes match the characters’ personalities well and are used to symbolize Belly coming out of her shell throughout the season. We watch her start off wearing t-shirts and shorts and end seeing her in trendy crop tops and floral patterns. 

Jessica Flaherty, the show’s costume director, said in an interview with Entertainment News she wanted Belly’s style to develop slowly and naturally. 

Flaherty also explained her decision on sticking with a softer, Instagram-filter-esque color palette for the show. She chose softer,pastel colors in order to emulate the feeling of an ideal summer, which is a stark contrast to the harsher, brighter colors one would find in the “real world” or at high school during the school year.  

Another large draw for the show is the soundtrack, featuring artists such as Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo and Tai Verdes. Not only is the soundtrack amazing to listen to, but it also does a great job at grounding the story in the present. 

Writer Gabby Sgherri wrote in an article for Beatroute that Han curated the perfect mix of nostalgic 2000s hits, current Hot 100 songs and lesser-known tracks from artists like Mini Mansions and JVKE.

All in all, “The Summer I Turned Pretty” is a show with wide appeal that can be binged at any time. While the timeline remains unknown, the show has already been given the green light for a second season.