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I have fallen down the Summer I Turned Pretty rabbit hole. A couple of weekends ago I binged watched the Summer I Turned Pretty series on Amazon. I absolutely loved it! So much so, that I ordered all three books to read right away. I had to know more about this story.
I finished the first book, The Summer I Turned Pretty in a couple of days. Now that I have, I wanted to compare the book to the TV show.
All of the main characters are in both the TV show and book, however, they don’t always do the same things that they do in the books. The book has some chapters that go back in time and talk about something that happened when the kids were younger. Some of these plot points happened in the present in the show or are done in a flashback.
One big change is that Belly in the books and her family are white, even though the author is Korean. I was wondering about this until I found an article about why this was true. In the show Belly’s mom is Asian and her dad is white so she and her brother are half-Asian. There are also many other diverse characters in the cast.
I came across this article by CBS news where Jenny Han talks about why Belly was white in the books. She states that,
“I think it didn’t even really hurt my feelings because it was just kind of so matter of fact,” she said. “I had tried to sell a book with an Asian main character before this one, and people weren’t really interested in it,” Han said. “The thing I would hear is, ‘We already have a book with them.'”
The book was published in 2009, which isn’t that long ago, but at the same time, so much has changed since then. I am so happy to see the changes in diversity. I want to read the stores from other races and cultures and backgrounds than my own. It enhances my world and my life.
The supporting characters have seemed to have changed a bit from the book. There are new ones, not mentioned, at least in the first book. And some who are, are a little different in some ways, but in others, they are exactly the same. For example, Belly’s best friend Taylor appears to have the exact same personality but some of the details of the scenes between her and Belly are different.
I try to approach any TV or movie adaptation of a book as a separate being. Even if the author is involved like Jenny Han is. You can even catch her in a cameo in one of the later episodes. I don’t tend to get too upset by any changes, but I guess that depends on the book.
I think if you read these books back when you were a teenager, you will probably love the show. I think if you never read the books, you would love the show. If you just read them? You might be disappointed or maybe not. I find that when I read a book and then watch the show or movie right away as I did with Paper Towns, I tend to get disappointed and don’t like it as much because I remember every detail. As time goes on, I forget the little stuff and the adaptations are more enjoyable and more of their own thing.
I have already started the second book, “It’s Not Summer Without Out You” and I can see that they did put some things from that book into the show. I am now super curious about what the second season will look like. Will it stick to some of the things that happen to the main characters in the books or will they go off into a newer storyline?
I am so glad I found this series. I am in love with Cousins, and it just so happened we visited Willmington, NC this summer where some of it was filmed. I would love to spend my summers there. Maybe someday.