They should have come up with a better title for “The Summer I Turned Pretty”—was our first defining thought a few episodes into the show. It literally had no relevance to the story, and if it did, that would be the saddest thing that happened in the entirety of the seven episodes. “The Summer I Turned Pretty” is a sweet story about Belly, a shy teenager, coming into her own during a summer spent with her friends and family. A sweet premise and a sweet story. We expect nothing less from Jenny Han, though we doubt it needs to be a series. Maybe we are wrong, but it would have fared better as a movie. Either way, let’s see what happens with Belly in the summer when she turns 16 and starts seeing the world as an adult.
How did Lauren And Susannah’s Friendship Get Through Their Rocky Phase?
The thing is, the entirety of the seven episodes of “The Summer I Turned Pretty” are dominated by Belly and her story, but it is with Lauren and Susannah that we get that rare glimpse of enduring female friendship that every woman wants and needs in her life. These two have been friends since forever, and they spend the summers with their children at Susannah’s house. Their husbands join them briefly, but otherwise, it’s just them and the kids. Lauren is somewhat conscious of the fact that she doesn’t have as much money as Susannah, but this doesn’t really affect their friendship that much.
Both of them have helped each other through the tougher phases of life, and Susannah, especially, is going through a lot. Her husband cheated on her, and she wants a divorce from him. Lauren has known about her cancer since spring, but she has kept the secret to let Susannah have one last happy summer with all of the kids. This is the reason she doesn’t interfere when she wants to prep Belly for a debutante ball and lets both of them go with the flow when it comes to the choice of dress for her. Susannah is just as excited about Lauren’s book signing and goes all the way out in trying to make it the best event possible. She has cancer, and has decided to not go ahead with her chemotherapy. Lauren is understanding, but loses her temper once, when her best friend is adamant about not considering end-of-life care, but they make up for it soon enough.
During the summer, Lauren spends a lot of time with another author named Cleveland, and they both start seeing each other. Following Lauren’s divorce the previous year and her current situation, where she is trying to come up with inspiration for her new book, she keeps her relationship with him casual. Lauren is someone who is by her best friend’s side like a rock, and we all wish we had someone like her for ourselves. Any rocky phase they may have had in their friendship had to come from a frustrating concern for each other, which they got over, with heartbreaking respect for the other’s choices.
What Happens With Cam And Belly?
Honestly, nothing much. Cam is the guy Belly goes out with when she decides not to spend her summer moping about Conrad, and good for her for that decision. They go on a few dates, and she seems to be having a good time, but is clearly not over Conrad. She even goes on to ask him to be her escort to the debutante ball, and he agrees. It is clear that he has strong feelings for her. Taylor, Belly’s friend, mentions that she is glad someone has been able to get her to look away from Conrad. But that is not entirely true. Because at the Fourth of July celebrations, Belly gets extremely drunk and flirts with Conrad. She slyly confronts him about the necklace she found in his stuff and tells him she has figured out that he bought it for her birthday. Conrad admits to it and says that he wanted to give it to her but couldn’t. They flirt with each other and are about to kiss when they are interrupted by a firework set off by Jeremiah. This encounter makes Belly believe that Conrad has feelings for her, and she is going to get her summer wish of being able to kiss him. Thinking so, she breaks up with Cam when he takes her on a romantic date to take their relationship to the next stage. And that’s the end of their storyline. Cam’s purpose in the show seemed to be to give Belly the confidence and experience she needed to act on her feelings. While we don’t hate the breakup because why be with a person you don’t have feelings for? But we believe that a kind, attentive, and sweet boy is better than someone like Conrad, any day.
Do Belly’s Feelings For Jeremiah And Conrad Change?
As for the audience, it is pretty clear to us that Conrad reciprocates Belly’s feelings for him, though he is not expressing them. This fact seems to be clear to Belly as well, right from the moment he flirts with her on her first night in their house to when he crashes her date with Cam. However, despite all her pining, she does not wait for him to come around. She lives her life and enjoys her summer. But after he tells her that he can’t go to the debutante ball with her as her date, and even after their almost-kiss moment, Belly decides to move on for good. She goes swimming with Jeremiah, where they end up sharing a kiss. This is a revelation for Belly. Since the beginning, Jeremiah has always flirted with her, but in a ribbing and friendly way, something that even had the audience fooled. But this kiss is a turning point. Since Belly no longer places Conrad on a pedestal, she sees Jeremiah in a new light.
The next day, while she is still confused, Conrad has come to his senses and asks Belly to the ball, but she says she needs to think about it. Later that day, Jeremiah and Belly kiss again, and her mind is made up. Which is why when Conrad gives her the necklace he had bought for her, she doesn’t accept it and tells him that he is too late, meaning she is going to the ball with Jeremiah.
‘The Summer I turned Pretty’ Season 1: Ending Explained – Who Dances With Belly At The Ball?
At the ball, Belly is excited for her turn to dance. This is a fairytale coming true for her. But right before her moment, Jeremiah comes to know about Susannah’s cancer. Distraught by this news, he is unable to show up for Belly, which is when Conrad steps up. He shows up and dances with her. So, in a sort of very bittersweet way, Belly’s summer wish has come true. She is waltzing with Conrad, him holding her in his arms, and despite everything, she is having the time of her life. A while later though, Jeremiah comes to the party and tells Conrad about their mother’s cancer diagnosis, which is when it is revealed to him that Conrad knew this all along. He punches him for keeping it a secret. Back at home, both the brothers beg their mother to reconsider her decision to forego treatment, to which she smiles while crying.
In the final scene of “The Summer I Turned Pretty” Season 1, we see Belly and Conrad talking to each other by the beach. Conrad apologizes for having been a jerk throughout the summer. As he goes in for a kiss, Belly stops him and tells him that she just doesn’t want to be someone he needs but wishes to be someone he wants. Conrad admits that he has wanted to be with her for a long time, and they both go in for a kiss on the beach while the sun rises on the horizon.
Final Thought- What Sets ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ Apart From Other Series?
For us, it was the independence of Belly. As much as she likes Conrad, she doesn’t hesitate to find her own way, even after being aware of his feelings. It was also her friendship with the other characters, and most of all, it was the friendship of Lauren and Susannah that made this such a special watch for us. We don’t think much of Conrad. He did nothing throughout the show other than brood and mess with Belly. In fact, he wasn’t even that charming. The heroine’s angst isn’t justified until and unless the hero’s beyond charming. Otherwise, it’s a complete waste of emotions. The show was good. We cringed when Belly said the line about wanting and not needing. That has become really over-present in the romance genre, and it is getting yuckier every time we hear it. But we will forgive it as an anomaly in an otherwise decent show.
There will definitely be a Season 2 of “The Summer I Turned Pretty.” It would be interesting to see how the love triangle plays out. We want to get to know Conrad as more than the guy Belly was pining for. Our second lead syndrome is painfully obvious as we want her to choose Jeremiah, knowing it won’t happen. But otherwise, the mush was perfect, the sweetness was just right, and the tug at our heartstrings was enough to make us want more. We look forward to seeing more of their story unfold in the second season.
“The Summer I Turned Pretty” is a 2022 Drama Romance series created by Jenny Han.