'The Summer I Turned Pretty': The Biggest Changes From the Books to Series

Jenny Han penned the book series on which the Prime Video show is based.

The Summer I Turned Pretty is a hit on the page and onscreen! Following the season 2 finale of the Prime Video series, ET is taking a look at the biggest changes between Jenny Han's books and the Lola Tung-led drama.

Season 1 followed Belly (Tung), a teen on her annual summer trip to the fictional Cousins Beach with her mom, Laurel (Jackie Chung), and older brother, Steven (Sean Kaufman). While there, they stay with Laurel's lifelong friend, Susannah (Rachel Blanchard), and her teenage sons, Conrad (Christopher Briney) and Jeremiah (Gavin Casalegno), who Belly is romantically torn between.

In season 2, viewers will see Belly struggle to choose between the feuding Conrad and Jeremiah following the return of Susannah's cancer. All the while, an unexpected visitor will threaten the future of the beloved Cousins beach house.

When it came to adapting the series for the screen, Han, who serves as co-showrunner, knew it wouldn't be an easy task.

"It's a bit of a balancing act, because I really had to weigh what the fans are expecting with where the show is going creatively and find that balance," she told Variety. "My priority has always been that I want fans of the book to feel really satisfied by the story we're telling, but also for them to know that this is an adaptation in a new medium, so it's not going to be exactly the same. I think those are sort of the two things that are always in my head."

Keep reading for the biggest changes between the book and the show. And beware, spoilers ahead through the season 2 finale of The Summer I Turned Pretty.

Season 1

The Debutante Ball

The event serves as a through line in the show's first season and was not a part of the books at all. Han opened up about her decision to add the big event into the story in an interview with The Wrap.

"The Deb Ball was a chance to really bring a rite of passage, like a ceremonial rite of passage, of growing up to life -- to really see that visualized, because I think different cultures have many different ways of marking that moment of between girlhood and adulthood," she said. "And that's what the Deb Ball is, you're coming out and being seen as an adult."

Peter Taylor/Prime Video

Jeremiah's Sexuality

The first novel in Han's series came out in 2009, so when it came time to adapt it for the screen there were some things she wanted to update. One of those was Jeremiah's sexuality. While the character was assumed to be straight in the books, he's portrayed as sexually fluid in the show.

"I think perhaps if I was writing the novel today, I may have made that choice because I think that he's always been a character, to me, that is really at ease with himself, really comfortable in his own skin, and openminded and open to exploration," Han told TVLine. "I do think that's more reflective of today and young people today and the way they view sexuality being much more of a spectrum."

Steven's Presence

While Han's novels have Steven depart Cousins Beach early to go visit colleges with his dad, Belly's older brother sticks around for the entirety of the first season.

Since he's much more present in the show, Steven has an expanded role, including a romance of his own, more scenes with Conrad and Jeremiah, and some added drama too.

Peter Taylor/Prime Video

Belly and Taylor's Relationship

In the book, Belly's friend, Taylor (Rain Spencer), is mentioned, but only in the context of flashbacks. While Taylor visits Cousins Beach in the series, the trip happens back when they were kids, not during the present timeline.

Since the visit takes place during present day, Belly and Taylor's friendship is much more developed, and includes both a friendship fight and reconciliation.

Susannah's Cancer

In both the book and the show, Susannah is dealing with cancer. However, Conrad and Jeremiah convince their mother to enter a clinical trial in the Prime Video series, while in the book, Susannah remains adamant about not seeking further treatment.

Laurel's Storyline

While the book was told solely from Belly's point of view, the show expands to give side characters more dimension. This is especially true for Laurel, who, in the show, gets an expanded friendship with Susannah, a romance with Cleveland (Alfredo Narciso) and a career as an author.

"It's also about female friendship and we really see that with Laurel and Beck and this friendship that they have nurtured over decades. I was excited to tell that story because I think that we don’t as often see the parents on teen shows having their own lives. And their lives seem to be just as complicated as Belly's with adult challenges and obstacles to overcome," Han told TV Insider. "I wanted both of those women to feel like they were more than just the roles of a mother or a wife, but that they had their own rich[ness] in their lives."

Peter Taylor/Prime Video

Belly and Jeremiah's Relationship

While the book reveals Belly's first kiss was with Jeremiah, courtesy of a game of truth or dare that they played as kids, there's no such background on the show.

Additionally, in the book, Belly shuts down Jeremiah's romantic interest in her by telling him that she has feelings for Conrad. The show, however, leans into the love triangle between Belly and the Fisher boys, having Belly and Jeremiah kiss and explore a relationship together.

Belly and Conrad's Relationship

During season 1, Belly finds an infinity necklace Conrad had intended to give her, but ultimately did not. She confronts him about it and their relationship is accelerated because of it. While there is an infinity necklace in the book, it doesn't enter the picture until the second novel in Han's book series, meaning that it plays out a bit differently.

That's not the only change in Belly and Conrad's relationship. Season 1 ended with Belly and Conrad kissing on the beach, seemingly solidifying their relationship, despite the fact that she had previously been with Jeremiah. The book ends differently, and instead flashes forward to show Conrad surprising Belly at home in the winter. 

Season 2

Finding Conrad

While Belly finds out that Conrad has gone missing by calling Jeremiah out of the blue in the show, in the book it's Jeremiah who calls Belly for help finding Conrad. Likewise, while the show features Belly having to convince Jeremiah to let her come along, it's quite the opposite in the book, as Jeremiah is the one pushing Belly first to visit Brown and then to head to Cousins in the quest to find Conrad.

That Fireplace Scene 

In a flashback scene, fans learn that Conrad and Belly had sex when he surprised her by showing up at her house in December and driving them to Cousins.

In the book, things are kept much more PG, as Belly and Conrad have a hot and heavy makeout session in front of the fireplace -- and an even more intense one the morning after -- but don't take things any further than that. They do discuss sex, though, with Conrad revealing that he's not a virgin and Belly sharing that she is, just before Conrad stops things from going further.

The scene comes back into the conversation in episode seven when Conrad and Belly take stock in the downfall of their relationship. When Conrad tells Belly he hopes she doesn't regret their sexy night together, she has the perfect answer.

"Of course it hurts to think about that night, but I don't regret it," she says. "I don't regret any of the times we were together. I loved you and I know you loved me too."

The exes hug things out and agree to be friends. 

The Beach House's Sale

One of the biggest changes from the book is the main drama of the seasons -- the sale of the beach house. In the show, Susannah's half-sister is the one who owns the house with her, and, upon Susannah's death, decides to sell it. 

Aunt Julia (Kyra Sedgwick) doesn't exist in the book and neither does her child, Skye (Elsie Fisher). Instead, in the book, Susannah's husband, Adam, is to blame for the house's impending sale.

Conrad tells Belly and Jeremiah that news as soon as they get to Cousins in the show, but in the book, Belly learns about the situation when a realtor shows up at the house, and Jeremiah finds out the tragic news when his dad stops by to drop the bombshell. In the book, Conrad sends away movers and confuses the real estate agent in an effort to prevent his dad from selling the house.

In the show, after Conrad and Jeremiah fail to get their dad's OK to use their trust fund to purchase the house, they plot to ruin the open house in order to prevent it from being sold, and do so successfully when the air conditioning just so happens to go out. It's all for nothing, though, at least initially, as episode four ends with the teens coming back from their boardwalk fun to find an empty house, courtesy of Julia.

Things get even worse for the group in episode five, which ends with Julia's reveal that the house has sold and she's going to Boston to finalize the paperwork. In the book, the brothers -- with the help of Laurel -- end up saving the house before it's sold.

Conrad and Jeremiah may have one last trick up their sleeve, though, as they decided to contact a law firm to help them win back the house, a storyline that does not appear in the book.

The lawyer storyline in absent in episode six, but the brothers now have Skye on their side. Though Skye was unsuccessful in convincing her mom to back out of the sale, she did manage to get her to give Conrad and Jeremiah visitation rights to the property. The compromise delights Jeremiah, but Conrad is of the all-or-nothing point of view.

In episode seven, the show follows the book's lead when Laurel shows up to the beach house after getting a drunk call from Belly. While Laurel just has to convince Adam not to sell the beach house in the book, she has two obstacles in the show: Julia and Adam. 

She works on Julia first, convincing her to back out of the sale. When Adam arrives, he's resistant to any solution -- just as he is in the books -- but Laurel eventually convinces him to buy the house from Julia for the boys. Unlike in the book, that requires Adam to sell the family's house in Boston, but that's something Conrad and Jeremiah are happy to give up to save the home in Cousins Beach.

Steven and Taylor's Storyline

As Steven and Taylor were given bigger roles than the book dictated during season 1 of the series, they were likewise gifted expanded screen time in season 2. The whole plot of Steven and Taylor driving to Cousins to surprise the trio was absent from the book, which sees Belly stay at the beach house with the brothers by herself.

That means that Steven and Taylor's flirty moments in episode five -- the Lost and Found scene, the recreated debutante ball, and the golf course sleepover -- don't appear in the book.

That's likewise true for their big moments in episode six, including their choreographed dance routine, Steven's confession of feelings, his fight with Milo, and his kiss with Taylor.

When Taylor leaves the beach house in episode seven, she hints to Belly that things may be progressing with Steven. Taylor and Steven's flirty parting moments -- and his confession to Conrad that he can't wait to see her again -- aren't present in the book.

Likewise absent from the book is the big finale moment between Steven and Taylor when they finally confess their feelings for one another and decide to give their relationship a go.

Conrad's Panic Over College

Episode three ends with Conrad running to the beach in a panic after seeing something on his phone. It's later revealed that Conrad's panic attack came after he found out he got into Stanford, a dream his late mom long held. In episode six, the question of Conrad attending Stanford is brought up again, but he remains adamant that he won't be heading out west.

That's all different from the book, where Conrad's college plans and panic attacks are not part of the plot at all.

Conrad tells Jeremiah about his Stanford acceptance in episode seven, and his brother encourages him to go. There's just one problem though: Conrad hasn't studied for his remaining final and Stanford will pull his acceptance if he doesn't pass.

The group agrees to stay in Cousins one final night and help Conrad cram for his test. While the looming possibility of Stanford doesn't exist in the books, Conrad's test and the late-night study session between friends does.

The Boardwalk Games

There's no fun at the boardwalk in the book, which means that Belly's basketball moment with Conrad and Tower of Terror moment with Jeremiah are all new additions for the show. Likewise, Cam Cameron's (David Iacono) appearance in the series is a change for the book.

The flashbacks to Belly's teenage boardwalk embarrassment with Conrad and summer cold hang out with Jeremiah both appear in the book, though.

The Country Club

In the book, the group does not break into the country club for an epic sleepover. That means the homemade apple bong, Cam Cameron and Skye's budding friendship, the awkward game of Truth or Dare, and the tension between Belly and Jeremiah are all new additions to the storyline.

Cam and Skye's Storyline

Given that Cam fades into the background in the books and Skye doesn't even exist in them, their friendship and big kiss in episode six is all new for the TV series. Also new is Skye's episode seven talk with their mom about their very first kiss with the whale-obsessed Cam and their declaration that they're "Team Cam" going forward.

Belly's Love Triangle

After Belly and Conrad's episode seven conversation, Belly's heart seems to shift fully to Jeremiah. She tries to tell Conrad as much later, but he falls asleep before she can. Conrad, meanwhile, is fully back in love with Belly and considers telling her as much at Steven's insistence, a scene that doesn't happen in the books.

When the trio sets off to take Conrad to his test, Jeremiah and Belly pass the time by having him give her a tour of his college, where she could potentially go the following year. That doesn't happen in the books. 

While the books have Jeremiah kiss Belly after getting jealous over an innocent moment with Conrad, the show puts all the onus on Belly. She's the one to confess her feelings for Jeremiah and they end up in a passionate kiss. Just like in the books, Conrad sees the intimate moment and the love triangle forges on.

It all comes to a head in the season 2 finale, when, just like in the books, Conrad goes back and forth on whether or not he still likes Belly. Eventually, Belly decides to "evict" Conrad from her heart -- an internal monologue fans of the book will recognize -- and drive away, hand-in-hand, with Jeremiah.

"When I used to picture forever, it was always with the same boy," Belly says via voiceover in the finale's last moments. "In my dreams, my future was set, a sure thing. This isn't the way I pictured it. The future is unclear, but it's still mine."

Seasons 1 and 2 of The Summer I Turned Pretty are now streaming on Prime Video.