The Summer I turned Pretty: Novel and Prime Video Show


Christopher Briney, left, and Lola Trung star in The Summer I Turned Pretty. Credit: Prime Video/TNS/Victoria Priola.

“They’ve always seen me as a little kid, but this summer, it’s different”, 16-year-old Belly Conklin is determined that this summer will be her best yet. The Summer I Turned Pretty is the first novel in a trilogy that quickly became one of the best-selling novels in the summer of 2022, after the release of the new Prime Video series by the same name.

Each summer Belly visits her mother’s best friend, Susannah, at her beach house in Cousins, North Carolina. Susannah has two sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. They have grown up with Belly and her brother and even gave Belly her nickname.  Ever since Belly was nine years old she has had feelings for Conrad, which have only continued to grow throughout the years. This particular summer, though, something feels different.  Belly feels like something might happen between them. The summer in Cousins is full of surprises, adventure, and plot twists. Belly realizes that what she thought she wanted might have changed. 

We believe this is the perfect summer read. The book is quick and easy but keeps you on the edge of your seat. We both take our time with reading and wouldn’t consider ourselves fast readers. With this novel in particular, we were able to read it generally quickly and easily. 

Another aspect of the novel we really liked was the characters. Belly, the main character,  is a 16-year-old girl who experiences all the usual teenage girl problems. She is very easy to relate to and readers will be able to make connections with her. Because most of the main characters are in high school, we would say the book is targeted towards a  young adult audience. 

The Prime Video series released on June 17, 2022, stars Lola Tung, the actor as Belly.  The production is very well written especially since it had been exclusively produced alongside the series’ original writer, Jenny Han. Something that stands out is the soundtrack: lots of  Taylor Swift, and Tyler The Creator’s most popular songs are featured throughout the episodes. This is another reason why The Summer I Turned Pretty is more for teens/ young adults.  The Netflix series is much different from the books, with different plots and more. We recommend reading the book first, then watching the show so you can see the parallels.