Exploring the Themes of Love and Friendship in ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ Season 2: A Deep Dive into Belly’s Relationships and Character Development

Xavier Roger
Image Credit - IMDB
The Summer I turned pretty
Image Credit – IMDB


Prepare for the highly anticipated return to Cousins Beach with the upcoming second season of “The Summer I Turned Pretty”! This Amazon Prime Video series, adapted from Jenny Han’s beloved trilogy of the same name, follows the story of Isabel “Belly” Conklin (Lola Tung) as she navigates friendships and relationships during a transformative summer in the fictional town of Cousins Beach.

The first season of “The Summer I Turned Pretty” debuted in June 2022, marking another successful adaptation for author Jenny Han, who is also known for her bestselling “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” trilogy on Netflix. With the immense popularity of Han’s work, both producers and writers were eager to bring “The Summer I Turned Pretty” to the small screen.

Han, serving as a writer, co-showrunner, and executive producer of the series, expressed her excitement about the adaptation, stating, “There had been interest over the years… But I always said no, and now I think it’s because I actually really wanted to be able to do it myself — and to do it the way that I envisioned it.”

While the books primarily focus on Belly’s perspective, Han made a conscious effort to delve deeper into the lives of other characters in the TV series. She wanted to explore the coming-of-age experiences of women at different stages of life, including Belly’s mother, Laurel (played by Jackie Chung), who is navigating her own journey after a divorce.

The second season of “The Summer I Turned Pretty” is set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video, with three episodes releasing on July 14, 2023, followed by weekly episodes leading up to the finale on August 18. This season will cover the events of the trilogy’s second book, “It’s Not Summer Without You.” Lola Tung, a talented 20-year-old actress, portrays the teenage protagonist Belly, as she continues to navigate friendships and relationships during her annual summer getaway to Cousins Beach.

Tung, drawing from her own experiences, shared her connection to the character, saying, “This was the summer that she was really discovering who she was and who she wanted to be and creating her own path and finding her independence. And I related to that a lot. I’m in that period of my life where I’m figuring things out and I’m sort of coming into my own as well, so getting to do that in her shoes has been really cool.”

Born and raised in New York City, Tung graduated from the prestigious LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in 2020. Her audition tape for the show caught the attention of the casting team while she was a freshman studying at Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama in early 2021, ultimately leading to her breakout role as Belly.

Tung’s character finds herself in the midst of a love triangle between Conrad and Jeremiah Fisher, played by Christopher Briney (25) and Gavin Casalegno (23) respectively. Briney, who initially had reservations about his character, grew to understand and appreciate Conrad’s complexities, stating, “He’s just young and trying to keep it together for the people he loves… He’s going to continue to make mistakes, and he’s just hurt.”

Casalegno, who instantly connected with the character of Jeremiah, remarked, “I was like, ‘Did you talk to my mom or something? How? Did you read my diary? What’s going on?’… I think he carries a lot more weight on his shoulders than is shown.”

The cast of “The Summer I Turned Pretty” also features talented actors in various roles. Sean Kaufman (23) portrays Steven Conklin, Belly’s older brother, and Kaufman highlighted the importance of portraying a flawed character who learns and grows throughout the series. Rain Spencer (24) plays Taylor, Belly’s childhood best friend, while Rachel Blanchard (47) and Tom Everett Scott (52) take on the roles of Susannah Fisher and Adam Fisher, respectively, the parents of Conrad and Jeremiah.

Jackie Chung (62) embodies Laurel Park, Belly and Steven’s mother, and shared her excitement about the character’s humor and the deep friendship between Laurel and Susannah. Rachel Blanchard praised author Jenny Han’s presence on set, describing her as “invaluable” due to her profound understanding of the stories.

Elsie Fisher (20), known for her Golden Globe-nominated performance in “Eighth Grade,” joins the cast in season 2 as Skye, a character not featured in the original books. Fisher expressed her enthusiasm for the opportunity to play a character different from her previous roles, stating, “Part of what really drew me to the project is that I get to play a person that still feels very true to myself, but is different from the kind of character people have seen me play before.”

Additionally, Kyra Sedgwick (57) and Minnie Mills (21) are welcomed additions to the second season’s cast, although Sedgwick’s character has yet to be revealed. Sedgwick, a seasoned actress known for her role in “The Closer,” expressed her excitement about joining the show, while Mills, who played Shayla Wang in season 1, announced that she would not be reprising her role for the upcoming season.

With a talented ensemble cast, captivating storylines, and the creative vision of Jenny Han, “The Summer I Turned Pretty” continues to engage audiences with its portrayal of coming-of-age experiences, love, and friendship. As fans eagerly await the second season, the series promises to captivate viewers and rank highly in search engines with its unique and compelling content.

Source : NBC News

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