The School Newspaper of Franklin High School


The School Newspaper of Franklin High School


The School Newspaper of Franklin High School


“The Summer I Turned Pretty”: An Uglier, Still Enjoyable Season 2

The popular YA adaptation returns in a complicated second installation.
Erika Doss/Prime Video
Jeremiah (Gavin Casalegno) connects with Belly (Lola Tung) in the midst of her fallout with his older brother this season. Used with permission via Amazon Studios.


Amazon Prime’s hit teen drama The Summer I Turned Pretty recently concluded its second season a few weeks ago, leaving many fans demanding more. Loosely inspired by It’s Not Summer Without You (the middle book in the Summer trilogy), the eight episode season feels disjointed and overstuffed at times. However, the show’s improvements ultimately overshadow its minor flaws, thus making the return to Cousins Beach worth the yearlong wait

A quick recap: Laurel’s promoting a new book, Susannah’s gone forever, and Steven’s off to Princeton. But most importantly, Belly’s still torn between Conrad and Jeremiah Fisher. And did anyone mention how the beach house is up for sale?

Following a difficult loss, Belly (Lola Tung) struggles to rebound while at Cousins Beach. Used with permission via Amazon Studios. (Prime Video)

It’s hard to root for Belly this time around; she’s moodier than ever before and gives major “pick me” energy. After all, she’s solely responsible for stirring up unnecessary drama at prom… and a funeral! Major props to Lola Tung, who at just 19 years old continues portraying such a complicated character so masterfully in her first major acting credit ever. 

Belly’s far from Season 2’s worst character, though. While the show took a step forward in terms of representation by including a nonbinary character named Skye (who is not featured in the books), it struggles by portraying Skye as a rude individual rather than a likable one; a particular issue can be attributed to how they do not want to help the Fisher boys retain the beach house in the wake of Susannah’s death. 

The final scene left much to be desired, too. Ending the season with a corny volleyball sequence fell flat considering how the wild events played out for Belly and company. A now depressed Conrad takes a backseat to Jeremiah as he cheers on his new girlfriend from the stands. Perhaps a cliffhanger or major plot twist would have benefited Episode 8, but turns out viewers must wait another year or two to see if Jelly prevails over Bonrad. 

With every complaint comes a compliment or two, especially regarding Summer’s acting performances. The MVP award has to go to Rain Spencer for doing a complete 180-degree-turn with Taylor’s characterization. Belly’s once shallow best friend blossomed into a hilarious scene-stealer who goes above and beyond with providing support to those around her. Taylor’s glow-up also included a wardrobe overhaul, new hairstyle, and a compelling on and off relationship with Steven, played effortlessly once again by the charming Sean Kaufman

Season 2 benefits from scenes shared between Taylor (Rain Spencer) and Steven (Sean Kaufman). Used with permission via Amazon Studios. (Erika Doss/Prime_Video)

Aside from Conrad’s semi-dreadful rendition of Last Kiss by Pearl Jam, the music selections hit the right notes. From a pivotal flashback to Fleetwood Mac’s Silver Springs to Miley Cyrus’s Party in the USA blasting during a choreographed dance routine, the song choices synced with plot points seamlessly. The list goes on and on for A-list singers featured on the soundtrack: Frank Ocean, Olivia Rodrigo, and, of course, Taylor Swift.

Speaking of Ms. Swift, treats Swifties once more by including nine songs by the iconic artist in Season 2. Highlights include tearjerker Bigger than the Whole Sky, Snow on the Beach featuring Lana Del Rey, and a snippet from Delicate (Taylor’s Version), which is yet to be released. 

It may not be peak TV, but Summer’s sophomore outing rises above the typical fluffy teen fare on streaming by showcasing rising talent, keeping up with today’s music trends, and further exploring the irresistible love triangle at its core.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

About the Contributor
Grace Tucceri
Grace Tucceri, Editor and Writer
Grace is finally a senior at FHS and cannot believe it's her fourth (and final) year at Pantherbook! This year, she runs Varsity Cross Country, serves as Student Government Treasurer, and executive produces the weekly Panther TV newscast. She also contributed a movie review to Headliners in Education, a national student news site, and partook in the New England High School Journalism Collaborative over the summer. Grace plans on attending college for broadcast journalism since her main goal in life is to report live on TV for a major network.