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    20 Ways "The Summer I Turned Pretty" Series Changed From The Book

    Including a debutant ball! (Warning: This post contains spoilers for the entire series!)

    The Summer I Turned Pretty is a YA contemporary book series first published in 2009 by author Jenny Han, who also wrote To All The Boys I've Loved Before! We're thrilled that the adaptation is finally here. It's a quintessential summer book, and this series couldn't have dropped at a more perfect time.

    Simon & Schuster, Amazon

    The book series follows a girl named Belly who has been coming to her mother's friend's beach house since she was a little girl, along with her mother and brother. Her mother's friend Susannah has two boys of her own, Conrad and Jeremiah, and the four teens experience an intense summer of transformation — and love.

    As someone who recently re-read the books, I noticed some differences in this adaptation, which you'll find below!

    🚨Warning: The post below contains spoilers for the entire series.

    1. Belly meets a guy named Jumper at the gas station who invites her to the bonfire.

    Belly handing Jumper a card to pay at the gas station
    Amazon

    When Laurel (Belly's mom), Steven (Belly's older brother), and Belly first arrive at Cousins beach, we meet a character (Jumper) who invites Belly to the bonfire that evening. This happens differently in the book. Instead, Belly is invited to a Fourth of July bonfire by a guy named Clay. 

    2. Belly shows up to the bonfire wearing the dress Taylor talked her into wearing.

    Amazon

    In the book, we're told this is Belly's first bonfire. She tags along with Conrad, Jeremiah, and Steven, and then becomes upset when they don't warn her that dressing casual is norm. But it plays out differently in the adaptation, because Taylor is the one who presses her to wear the dress she packed for Belly. 

    3. Belly kisses Cam on the beach.

    belly and cam kiss
    Amazon

    Belly kisses Cam (Cam Cameron!) the first night they're reunited in front of Jeremiah and Conrad before hopping in the car and going home. Ooooo, the drama. In the books, they have their first kiss on their date. 

    4. The cops take the kids home from the bonfire after it escalates.

    four teenagers in a home entryway
    Amazon

    The series gives us a real The OC moment, and I'm LIVING for it. Conrad gets into a fight at the bonfire, which escalates quickly. Belly ends up accidentally getting smacked in the face. Conrad is already super drunk, and the party is broken up by the cops. When they realize Conrad's been drinking, they bring the four teens home to a very upset Laurel. 

    5. The debutant ball is brand new addition to the story.

    Amazon

    Susannah wants Belly to partake in the club's debutant ball, a coming-of-age production that also raises money for charity. Laurel is immediately put off by this idea, but Susannah tells Belly to think about it. The debutant storyline doesn't occur in the books, but it's a really fun addition here!

    6. Belly's mom is an author.

    close up of the woman at a book store
    Amazon

    In the book, Belly's mother (Laurel) is Susannah's best friend and spends the summer by her side. In the TV series, we get to see more of Laurel's storyline from her point of view instead of Belly's. She's a published author, and she meets another local author in Cousins who appears to be a promising love interest. Belly's mom is divorced (but hasn't considered moving on) although maybe this summer will change that...

    7. Belly's brother, Steven, has a job and a love interest.

    Steven leaning down to hear something another girl is telling him
    Amazon

    We also get to see more of Steven's perspective in this series instead of viewing him strictly through the eyes of Belly. Not only does Steven land a summer job at the country club (I'll get to that in a second) but he also has his eye on a certain girl from the club. Romantic storylines for everyone! Also, in the book, Steven leaves Cousins early to look at colleges with his dad — if I recall that detail correctly. So we get to spend more time with Steven, which is a big bonus. 

    8. The boys have summer jobs at Cousin's country club.

    two of the boys in lifeguard and country club uniforms
    Amazon

    Cousin's country club is a posh organization. In the first book, Jeremiah works there as a lifeguard. In the series, Steven also works there — behind the snack bar. Susannah is a member, and we pick up on the fact that it causes a little tension between her and Laurel. Laurel, Steven, and Belly didn't grow up with as much money as Susannah's family, so Laurel doesn't fully love the concept of having a fancy book event catered by the club, which she considers unnecessary. 

    9. Susannah wants to paint the kids portraits.

    close up of Susannah outside painting
    Amazon

    I love this addition. It's very sweet. Susannah, a painter, has requested to capture a portrait all four of the teens during the summer, which is also a way to spend more time with them. 

    10. Taylor comes to Cousins for Belly's birthday.

    taylor and belly walking outside
    Amazon

    In the book, Taylor comes to visit for a week. During her time in Cousins (which I believe occurred during one of Belly's past chapters, not in the present) she slowly grows closer to Steven. In the film, the purpose of her visit (in the present) is for Belly's birthday. 

    11. Jeremiah and Taylor don't hate each other.

    close up of a teen wearing a large floral headpiece
    Amazon

    Taylor and Jeremiah have some spirited, teasing banter in the books, and ultimately Taylor isn't Jeremiah's favorite person. This storyline is nixed in the show. They get along fine, which makes for some great antics later on. 

    12. Jeremiah is bisexual.

    Amazon

    Jeremiah is bisexual in this adaptation, which I don't think is ever stated in the books! In the show, it's specifically mentioned that Jeremiah flirts with guys and girls. We know he's flirty by nature, and this provides us with some really fun onscreen moments. 

    13. Belly doesn't wear the necklace that Conrad bought her for her birthday.

    close up of Belly looking down at something
    Amazon

    In the second book, Belly finds the infinity necklace in Conrad's dorm room and, knowing it was for her, puts it on. Readers know that Conrad has gone off the grid, and Belly and Jer are looking for him. When they find Conrad, he notices the necklace and calls her out on it. It's slightly different in this adaptation. Belly finds the necklace in his beach house bedroom, but she doesn't put it on. Instead, she confronts him about it on the Fourth of July. 

    14. The game of chicken between Taylor and Belly is more vicious in the book.

    the group of four, with the girls on top of the guy's shoulders to play chicken in the pool
    Amazon

    Belly starts to get a little jealous of the attention the boys give Taylor in the books, which creates a pretty hostile game of chicken. But in the series, Taylor and Belly, along with Steven and Jeremiah, have a great time playing chicken in the pool. The tension rises when Conrad and his love interest, Nicole, show up and ask what they're doing. 

    15. Conrad and Cleveland have a bonding experience.

    Conrad and Cleavland talking on a boat
    Amazon

    As mentioned before, Cleveland Castillo doesn't exist as a character in the books, but the show gives Laurel a love interest. Like Laurel, Cleveland is an author. Laurel introduces Cleveland to Conrad after Cleveland mentions he's writing a sailing book and could use help learning the ropes (literally.) He pays Conrad to give him sailing lessons, and the two get to know each other better. 

    16. Taylor comes back to Cousins when Belly needs her during the end of debutant season.

    the two girls in casual clothes at home
    Amazon

    There's a very sweet moment when Belly FaceTimes Taylor and says she could really use a friend. She also comes to help Belly raise money for her debutant charity. Even after their fight, these two are still BFFs — and we love to see healthy female friendships. 

    17. Conrad has a panic attack.

    close up of Conrad looking worried
    Amazon

    As previously mentioned, we get to see characters outside of Belly's perspective (from the first book) in this show, and one of those perspectives is Conrad. In the first book, he's moody and angry. He's dealing with A LOT all on his own. It makes sense that these anxious feelings contributed to him having a panic attack on the boat with Cleveland. It felt like a realistic representation of mental health — in this case, a physical manifestation of the tolls stress and anxiety take when feelings are kept bottled up.

    18. Susannah's secret is revealed at the deb ball.

    belly staring at her mother and susannah in confusion
    Amazon

    At the ball, Jeremiah finds Susannah's phone and discovers an email from her doctor about a cancer trial. That's when he realizes her cancer is back. It's a heartbreaking moment. In the book, this scene doesn't take place in front of a crowd of people, but at the Fisher's house. Belly, Jeremiah, and Conrad are all fighting, emotions are high, and it turns physical between Jeremiah and Conrad. The boys have somehow put it together on their own, and that's when Susannah realizes they know. In the show, we actually see the moment Jeremiah finds out. 

    19. Susannah agrees to participate in the clinical trial for her cancer.

    close up of susannah
    Amazon

    In the book, Susannah does not want to go through more chemo or medical trials. She is very clear about this, stating that she wants to go feeling like herself. And if you read the book series, you know what happens. In the TV series, her boys beg Susannah to not give up, to try, and she agrees to do the trial — for them, and for Laur. And as a side note, the friendship love story between Laurel and Susannah is just so, so great. Who needs men when you have a friendship like that? 

    20. The ending of the show isn't ambiguous.

    two of the characters kissing
    Amazon

    Fans of the book remember the final scene of The Summer I Turned Pretty: Belly meets up with someone only referred to as "he," so we don't know WHICH Fisher brother she's meeting up with. At the end of the series, it's very clear — for now! 

    As a big fan of the books, I am giddy with excitement over this stunning adaptation. The actors truly capture the essence and heart of these well-loved characters, the magical beach-front setting couldn't be more aesthetic, and the overall plot does a fantastic job keeping the heart of the story.

    two of the characters after swimming outside in a lake
    Amazon

    You can stream The Summer I Turned Pretty now! What was your favorite book-to-film change? Let me know in the comments!