Written by: Rahaf Afif
Edited by: Khaled Ibrahim
Graphic designed by Maram Mohammed
Ever since Belly can remember, she has spent every summer with childhood friends Jeremiah and Conrad at their summer house in Cousins Beach. Summers are Belly’s favorite season, when she always has the time of her life. But, this is the summer where everything changes. Will it be for better or worse?-
“There were times this summer when I felt like I didn’t know my own heart. But one thing I do know for sure, is that whatever happens next, I will always come back to this place and these people.”Belly
Of course, I didn’t want to miss reviewing July’s prettiest hit! All of a sudden, it felt like everyone was either watching the show or reading the books, and they all seemed to love it! I’m usually wary of trending media because they tend to be overhyped and cause me to raise my expectations. So if this show/book turns out average, I’ll HATE IT, and I’ll hate wasting my time on it. I’m aware there are lots of people like me, so let us settle the debate on The Summer I Turned Pretty; Is it worth the hype or not?
Why I Couldn’t Take My Eyes Off The Screen
1- The Summer Vibes
This is the perfect summer show. I don’t recommend you watch it anytime else! The show is set in a summer house in the fictional Cousins Beach. The house itself is akin to something out of a dream, but what stood out most is the private pool where some of the best scenes took place.
“It made me want to put on my swimsuit and jump in any water surface, even if it’s just a bathtub.”
There are also summer parties, bonfires, movie nights, and kisses by the beach. Literally the PERFECT SUMMER AESTHETICS
2- Unbreakable Bonds
The friendship between Laurel and Susannah (Belly’s mother and the boys’ mother) is to die for. They’ve been friends since high school, and they’ve been coming to Cousins even before the kids were born. This house was part of them, and I loved how they showed the depth of their connection to the house, both in the books and the show.
In the books, it was described perfectly in words; you could feel a connection to the house yourself. In the show, there were heart-warming scenes where Laurel and Susannah relived their teenage years. Any scene highlighting their friendship was like a therapy session to me.
3- AWESOME CAST
Every single actor in this show embodied their roles perfectly, and I can’t imagine anyone else playing them! Not only that, but their acting skills were impeccable! They delivered all their lines emotionally and flawlessly. They will make you cry your eyes out (and don’t say I didn’t warn you), laugh ‘till your belly hurts, and feel like a hopeless romantic in need of a boyfriend like Conrad or Jeremiah.
And let me warn you about the two brothers, Conrad and Jeremiah, ‘cause both will definitely make you swoon uncontrollably, and you’ll rush to follow their socials, just like I did!
4- A Good Love Triangle
Love triangles really get on my nerves. And yes, this one did, but in a good way. Let me be honest with you. In the books, it was very easy for me to pick whose side I was on: Jeremiah’s. Conrad was unbearable. However, the show made it PAINFUL to choose, both boys made it very hard not to love them. Anyways, I settled on team Jeremiah whether it be the book or the show versions; I’m a nice guy kind of girl.
5- Great Adaptation
As mentioned before, the show is adapted from Jenny Han’s trilogy of the same title, and this is probably my second favorite adaptation after Five Feet Apart. There were many differences and additional plotlines in the show, but it didn’t feel out of place. It gave the characters and the main plot itself much more depth than in the books. For example, the 4th of July Party finally showed us the fathers who were only mentioned in the book but didn’t have much presence. In the book, Conrad’s troubled relationship with his dad, and Jeremiah’s constant attempts to impress his father were very briefly talked about, but the show’s 4th of July Party brought it to light. There’s also Belly and Taylor’s relationship; Taylor did appear appear in the books, but the plot was mainly focused on Belly and the boys. The show, however, explored Belly’s relationship with Taylor much more heavily. Overall, I don’t think the show would’ve been as good if not for these additions.
6- THE MUSIC
I LOVED the soundtrack of this show, they couldn’t have put together a better one. From sad songs to beachy summer ones, they all matched perfectly with the scenes. Most importantly, there were five Taylor Swift songs, do I need to say more?
What Made My Eyes Roll
1- Missing Scenes From The Book
Just like there were additions that I loved, there were cuts that I hated. They weren’t plenty, but there was this one scene between Jeremiah and Belly that I had been imagining on-screen from the moment I read it. I waited for it the entire show, but it never came. So that broke my heart.
2- Character Differences
Belly’s character felt a bit immature in the show, she made some decisions that annoyed me and that I felt were better handled in the books, so I wish they were dealt with the same way. Alas, some adaptations don’t always translate perfectly on-screen.
There was also Laurel, who was clearly not one for dating or commitment in the books, even divorcing Belly’s father although they were in love. So, it was a bit weird that they made her have a love interest in the show.