Hello, Summer… heads? The first season of The Summer I Turned Pretty, based on Jenny Han’s novel of the same name, just dropped on Amazon Prime today. Being the YA scholars that we are, we obviously had to watch it and convo with y’all ASAP.

Initial Thoughts on 1.1 “Summer House”

  • I haven’t read the books, so I was only vaguely familiar with the story going in. I know it’s in the title, but the premise really is just about someone who won at puberty, huh? Can’t relate, but OK.

  • The name Belly sounds less weird than I thought it would be, but maybe because people aren’t saying it all the time. Also, she only introduced herself to one new-ish person and it was someone who’s into her, so it makes sense that no one’s doing a double take at her being called Belly yet.

  • From the brief glimpses of the dads, I was like OMG TOM EVERETT SCOTT, but then looking at the cast list, it’s actually the dude from Eureka (Colin Ferguson) who plays Belly’s dad. BUT THEN it turns out that Tom Everett Scott plays Conrad and Jeremiah’s dad, so my TES radar is calibrated correctly after all.

  • As for the moms, I wasn’t familiar with Jackie Chung, but Rachel Blanchard was TV Cher Horowitz and that is how she will forever be known to me. (I’m not sure why Laurel calls Susannah ‘Beck’, but I assume it’s like a maiden name or something.)

  • How old are the teens supposed to be? Belly’s 15 going on 16, Conrad’s entering (or already in) college as the oldest of the group, and Steven and Jeremiah are somewhere in the middle. It just feels UNCOMF that Belly’s main love interest is in college when she’s barely in high school.

  • I love how Belly’s pretty transformation was basically just She’s All That (i.e., better hair and no glasses) with extra braces.

  • I don’t have a strong sense of who Belly is yet. There’s been a lot of talk of what Belly isn’t like — she’s not a partier, she’s not a debutante — but then what is she like? Or are these summers at Cousins just her entire personality? (I know she’s supposed to be discovering herself, but still. Her only defining trait can’t be that she’s suddenly very pretty now.)

  • The boys, however, I have a much better idea of. I was definitely reminded of Sarah’s review of the book — like, why does Belly like Conrad for no discernible reason, especially when there are much better choices around? Jeremiah’s warm and friendly, and Cam’s a cute nerd with potential. Meanwhile, the very first thing Conrad says to her is a neg (“I liked you better with glasses”, lol who asked for your opinion) and all he does is brood like an off-brand young Leo. Team Anybody But Conrad.

  • Laurel venting about how her book might have sold better if she wrote about the Asian American experience was maybe a bit meta, given how Jenny Han had written Belly as white, although I think the Summer books did fairly well anyway.

  • Speaking of the books, the show’s already been renewed for a second season, so at least that’s promising for adapting the entire trilogy.

  • I’ll probably give the show at least a few more episodes, but I’m not in a rush to binge the rest yet.

What did y’all think of the show? Who are you shipping Belly with? If you’ve read the books, how does the show fare in comparison? Let’s dish in the comments! (Spoilers for the entire season are allowed, so please proceed with caution if you haven’t finished Season 1!)

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.