Team Jeremiah versus Team Conrad is the question of the season. In the first season of The Summer I Turned Pretty, we were all rooting for Conrad because he was Belly’s goal and the person she had been vying after for such a long time. Jeremiah was the nice guy all along, but let’s not forget that the story is about Belly. She may have been with Jeremiah, but it wasn’t love that kept her in Conrad’s orbit. The writers of the show gave us a good idea of what each character is like, and now that the finale of Season 2 is almost here, we must know the choice that Belly is going to make and understand why she is going to do that.
In Season 2 of The Summer I Turned Pretty, Belly really got a chance to understand her feelings, this time with information about the person she liked. Throughout her life, she had only liked Conrad, but he had always been an idea, which she only now understood with all of his flaws and virtues. As for Jeremiah, he had never made a secret of himself, but Belly took time to appreciate it, as she saw how human Conrad could be without her fantasy accompanying him.
There is a reason this series is called The Summer I Turned Pretty. The title may be problematic, but it marks the start of a different phase in Belly’s life, one that would probably dominate for years to come. We saw the before part of Belly’s pretty phase in one of the episodes, where she had oiled hair tied into pigtails, wore glasses, and had braces lining her teeth. But in those very flashbacks, Conrad and Jeremiah still looked good. How Belly felt about her past appearance is never really discussed, neither in Season 1 nor in Season 2. Therefore, we are acting on her behalf. After all, the connection between the story and the name couldn’t have been only for a single moment when everyone saw the new Belly.
Belly’s glasses and braces must have meant that neither of the brothers ever properly saw her as a potential love interest. As for Belly, her looks affected her confidence, and that is why she never expressed how she felt. Let us not forget that her goal to kiss someone happened once she turned pretty and not before that, implying a new confidence brought on by how she looked now. Low self-esteem is often due to a lack of self-awareness. People either start settling for things, or they will always aspire to fantasy. The latter is because it is proof of the fact that they can do better and that they are worth more if they achieve the unattainable. But the fantasy exists only as long as it is far away. Once you see it up close, you start questioning whether this is what you want in life or not. That is what happened with Belly.
It would be unfair to say that Belly and Conrad ever had any real feelings between them. They had similar ideas of love; they cared passionately about people and were quite drawn to each other. Jeremiah has often said that there was an inexplicable force between them from the beginning. Maybe it existed even before the summer Belly turned pretty, but we don’t know that.
However, Conrad had a problem, and that was that he did not know how to express himself. But it is something Belly was ready to deal with. However, she couldn’t accept the fluctuating nature of his feelings. Maybe it is because Conrad still has some growing up to do before he becomes a well-adjusted adult, but his all-or-nothing attitude showed Belly what she could live with and what she would rather not. When Belly and Conrad broke up, Belly came to believe that it was because he did not care about them anymore. She knew he was stressed about his mother, and she may have waited, but when she saw him with another girl at the funeral, and he said that he should have never started anything with Belly, she was convinced that he did not care as much to begin with, which is why it was so easy for him to walk away.
But the way we see it, Conrad did not know how to deal with adverse or tough times. He did not realize that life doesn’t stop bringing in small joys just because a tragedy is waiting to happen on the horizon. That was the fundamental difference between Conrad and Jeremiah, who had a more level head on his shoulders. Conrad knew about their mother’s condition first, but it was Jeremiah who ended up taking care of her by being with her in every minute of her last days. Yet he never lost his head the way Conrad did. Even after the funeral, Conrad was the one who struggled with his responsibilities, not Jeremiah. When he learned that the beach house was up for sale, he cut all contact with his brother because preventing the sale became his singular focus. This was at a time when the boys were not on good terms with their father and had only each other to look after. But Conrad did not realize the responsibility that this meant. His heart was in the right place, but the boy needed to understand emotional communication and accountability. It was Jeremiah who set out to find his brother and even contacted Belly for it; he took Belly’s help when she offered, despite not having spoken to her in so long and while holding a grudge against his brother. This is because he realized that some things were simply bigger than him and his feelings.
Right now, following the end of episode 7 of The Summer I Turned Pretty, the biggest question we have before the finale is whether Belly will choose Jeremiah or Conrad. She has confessed to Jeremiah right now, but will she change her mind when she knows that Conrad wants to be with her again? We are inclined to say that she will continue to be with Jeremiah. That is because she did not give in to his advances but was the one to make them. We saw how Conrad was trying to get close to her in episode 7, but Belly simply did not respond to him. Whatever Conrad may be feeling, he has not earned Belly the way Jeremiah has, and Belly has done her share of self-reflection to know what she wants. She is not giving in to the situation but is consciously choosing for herself what she wants. And in such a case, there is no changing the outcome. Belly will be with Jeremiah.