One summer can change everything, so imagine what can happen after 13 of them.
That's how long readers had to wait to finally see Jenny Han's 2009 novel The Summer I Turned Pretty be adapted into a TV series. The coming-of-age drama, which centers on the love triangle between Belly (Lola Tung) and brothers Conrad (Christopher Briney) and Jeremiah (Gavin Casalegno), who she's grown up spending summers with in Cousins Beach, premiered June 17 on Amazon Prime Video and is now a contender at the 2022 TV Scoop Awards. (You can vote for your The Summer I Turned Pretty favorites here.)
In addition to writing the pilot episode, Han served as co-showrunner and got to make the major decisions about what would remain from the book—and what would be cut. Fortunately, she didn't have to kill any of her darlings and that dreamy, wistful and magical aura of the source material fully translates to the screen, which was the author's goal.
"I wanted it to feel like a locket that you find, you open it up and there's this picture inside," Han told E! News. "It's a memory, but at the same time, I wanted it to feel resonant and current and raw."
Of course, with more than a decade passing, the To All the Boys I've Loved Before writer did make some noticeable changes for the TV series, including making one of the three main characters sexually fluid, expanding the world beyond Belly's limited point of view and introducing several diverse new characters.
"I was approaching it like, 'What if I was writing this book in 2021?'" Han explained of her thought process. "The characters are all still the same, but I think with so much time passing it's just a different moment. Even though 13 years doesn't sound like much, it's a significant amount of time that's passed and culture has moved in so many different ways, even from technology to diversity."
While some edits were made to plotlines and characters, Han made sure to maintain the spirit of the summer love story that readers first fell in love with.
"I really want my original readers to be happy," Han said. "If they're happy then I feel like I'm fine with what I've done. I've done my best."
Here are the biggest changes The Summer I Turned Pretty made in its journey from page to screen...
The Summer I Turned Pretty season one is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
(A version of this story was originally published June 20 at 5 a.m. PT)