BY HAZEL REID

We may be experiencing some icy winter weather here at the moment, but this new Amazon Prime series will take you into a place of sunshine (and adventures and romance). The Summer I Turned Pretty is a new book-to-series adaptation and has been brought to life by the author of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Jenny Han, so you know it’s going to be good! 

Ahead of the series launch, you probably would have seen the trailer for the series floating around as it had Taylor Swift’s This Love (Taylor’s Version) featuring in it. The Summer I Turned Pretty follows Belly (played by newcomer Lola Tung) who has a summer tradition – spending it with her family and their family friends at a beach house in Cousins. But this time is different – Belly’s growing up and as she turns 16, a summer of boys (first love), romance (first heartbreak) and adventure is on the horizon. 

Lola is joined by Christopher Briney (Conrad), Gavin Casalegno (Jeremiah), Sean Kaufman (Steven), Rachel Blanchard (Susannah), Jackie Chung (Laurel), Minnie Mills (Shayla) and Rain Spencer (Taylor). All seven episodes are online now and I’m not afraid to admit that I meant to just watch the first episode, maybe the second too but by the end of a rainy cold Auckland afternoon, I had finished all 7 episodes! I’ll also mention that I just got a copy of the book (I know I’m very late to the party!) and I’m still in the middle of finishing it – Jenny Han really knows how to produce a great story (it is a best-selling book after all). 

When I heard Taylor Swift’s song via a taster on the trailer I was already sold on seeing what else the series had in store and I can confirm the rest of the music does not disappoint. You’ll have to check out the series to experience it for yourself, but I did feel like I needed an episode playlist when I finished the series as the music department had done a stellar job! 

I’ll let you watch the series for yourself to understand the full context of this quote, but I noted what Lola’s character Belly said in the final episode when she was having a bit of a reflective moment as I really liked it. “Girls aren’t supposed to know if we’re pretty or not… we’re supposed to wait for other people to tell us before we are allowed to feel it about ourselves, but isn’t that bull because we’re all beautiful in our own ways.” You’ll get it when you watch it!

I really enjoyed this series and how easy it was to watch (well ‘binge’ essentially in this instance!) and I definitely recommend giving it a go. Also in exciting news, they have recently given the green light to Season 2, which author Jenny Han is excited about as they knew there would need to be more than one season ‘to honour the story we are telling’.

As we eagerly await the next instalment, check out the first season of The Summer Before I Turned Prettyit is available to watch now on Amazon Prime.

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