‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ is a show made for Swifties

D’Juanna Lester, Arts Reporter

Jenny Han fans, the moment is finally here! Amazon Prime has dropped “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” based on Han’s Young Adult (YA) best selling novel.

The series is seven episodes long and based on the first book. This will be a spoiler-free review for those who want to go check it out. 

Where to start with this show? As a long time Han fan, I was wondering how the show would translate from book to screen, especially with the mixed reviews from Netflix’s adaptation of her other series “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.”

This show was refreshing, and honestly, one of the best book to screen adaptations I’ve seen to date. Even the changes added more to the show, instead of taking away from the show. 

Belly, Conrad and Jeremiah hold a special place in my heart. There’s so much depth to these characters that’s highlighted in the show because of the inclusion of the perspective that is outside of just Belly’s POV.

Lola Tung is a perfect Belly. She embodies that transitional period between being a teenager and growing into adulthood that made the books so special.

Additionally, the scenes where we got to see Conrad’s panic attack and his mental state declining were acted perfectly by Chris Briney. Every actor — in combination with the writing — did an incredible job at bringing these characters to life. They felt real. 

Even though they’re flawed and do things we wouldn’t necessarily like, they’re raw. They’re human. They make mistakes instead of having a cast of Mary Sues. That’s what fans wanted to see. 

The plot in the first book is made much clearer in the series due to the changes from the show. Many fans were speculating whether Han’s addition of a debutante ball would be a good fit, seeing as it wasn’t in the books. 

I think it added something to the plot, making it more coherent and focused than that of the first book. This also had to be my favorite change. It gave the characters an end goal to focus on — that is, besides the complicated romances. 

Speaking of complicated romances, let’s get to another change from the books: Steven. Belly’s witty older brother was absent for most of the first book, seen mostly in flashbacks. In the show, he’s present the entire time, and more fleshed out.

New characters like Shayla and Gigi also add to the show, additionally functioning to giving Nicole and Taylor more focus.  All of these changes added depth and enhanced the quality of the show by increasing the range of themes that could be touched on.

The soundtrack. I thought that “This Love (Taylor’s Version)” would be the only Taylor Swift song we’d get. Boy, was I wrong. This show was made for Swifties. 

Every Swift song in the show added to the drama and magic of the scenes they played in. Not to mention that they only played for that ship.

We also got some Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish songs, making the soundtrack above and beyond what I thought it’d be. 

Whether you’re Team Jeremiah or Team Conrad — opposing ships aside — this show is for everyone looking for a perfect summer watch. The romance, the friendships, the complexity — it’s all so well written that you want to watch it again and again. There’s something for everyone in this series to love.

Rating: 5/5