“The Summer I Turned Pretty” cuts to the chase in its season opener, regarding Susannah, which is a little jarring considering her role in the show but sets the tone for the season.

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General Information

This section Includes information about the Director, Writer, and Cast.

Release Date (Prime Video) July 14, 2023
Director(s) Zoe Cassavetes
Writer(s) Jenny Zhang
Newly Noted Characters and Cast
Milo Will Spencer
Cory Louis Tomeo
Previously Noted Characters and Cast
Conrad Christopher Briney
Belly Lola Tung
Jeremiah Gavin Casalegno
Laurel Jackie Chung
Steven Sean Kaufman
Taylor Rain Spencer

Plot Recap

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Summer 2022 – Conrad, Belly, Jeremiah, Susannah

Summer 2022 is when it all began to go to hell. This is when everyone learns of Susannah’s cancer coming back, Belly breaks Jeremiah’s heart by revealing she kissed and chose his brother Conrad, and then because of Jeremiah’s hurt feelings, Belly puts her and Conrad’s relationship on pause. Leading to three weeks of silence from Conrad until he started to get lonely at school and called her.

Fall 2022 – Conrad, Belly

This led to a few weeks of bliss. Belly and him talking until 2 AM, Conrad revealing he knew about his father cheating, Belly talking about the oddity which is her parent’s relationship, and them bonding over the phone more than they got to all summer – at least, without Conrad getting hot or cold. And it wasn’t just over trauma either, but Conrad talking about his roommate and Belly about Venus’ cycles.

Summer 2023 – Belly, Laurel, Jeremiah, Steven, Taylor, Milo, Cory, Conrad

Steven (Sean Kaufman) giving a valedictorian speech
“Steven (Sean Kaufman) giving a valedictorian speech,” The Summer I Turned Pretty, “Love Lost,” directed by Zoe Cassavetes, 2023, (Prime Video)

By the time Steven graduated, Susannah was dead, Jeremiah and Conrad, due to something that happened at Susannah’s funeral, weren’t talking to Belly, and Steven was collateral damage. He lost his two best friends because of Belly’s indecision, and he isn’t afraid to, drunk or sober, point that out. For while he has friends in Chesterbrook, Jeremiah and Conrad were his brothers.

Belly acknowledges what she did, but to take on the blame for the dissolution of Steven’s friendships, her own with the boys, and then the grief of losing Susannah has been a lot. Her grades have dropped, she froze during a volleyball tournament and is no longer captain, and while Taylor still supports her rejoining the team for senior year, Belly is in a serious fog. One that Laurel isn’t helping much with since Laurel is torn between not wanting to promote the book she wrote about Susannah, just realizing Belly isn’t doing well in school, and being held accountable for pouring everything into Jeremiah and Conrad, albeit in their time of need, and not holding anything left for Belly. Which makes Laurel’s sudden care about grades and volleyball laughable to Belly, who feels more alone than ever.

Even in terms of moving on, as Taylor pushed her to, it is all so awkward when she talks to Cory. Then, to boot, he likes one of her friends, so she has to deal with her hitting on someone who wasn’t interested in her and even trying to kiss him since she thought they were having a moment.

Cory (Louis Tomeo) returning Belly's book
“Cory (Louis Tomeo) returning Belly’s book,” The Summer I Turned Pretty, “Love Lost,” directed by Zoe Cassavetes, 2023, (Prime Video)

So, topping off the night with a Jeremiah call was a surprise, but with learning Conrad seemingly was having a moment and disappeared somewhere? This seemed like the perfect opportunity for Belly to get back in the good graces of the Fisher boys and reconnect with the only people who might be in mourning as deeply as she is.

Collected Quote(s)

Escaping to your dreams is easier than living with your memories.
— Belly

Breakups don’t always lead to breakthroughs.
— Steven

The world is not only happening to you, you are happening to the world.
— Susannah



Showing Of How Everyone Doesn’t Grieve The Same

It isn’t clear yet when Susannah died, but it is interesting to see how everyone grieves. In some ways, Laurel seems to be in a low-powered state, as is Belly, thus putting most of their life on auto-pilot. However, while Laurel had a book to help her grieve, at least writing and publishing it, I wouldn’t say Belly had the same outlet.

Laurel might be able to write her feelings, but speaking them is a whole other task, and she seems the type who would rather keep herself busy with work than dwell on feelings and emotions. Steven lost Susannah too, but with the focus being his party and wishing he could have with Jeremiah and Conrad, it isn’t shown how Susannah’s absence affects him yet – Even if she appeared to be like a second mother or, at the very least, an aunt.

Now, as for Belly? Let it be clear, Laurel is Belly’s mom, but sometimes it seems Laurel is a mom the same way a father can be a provider. Laurel may keep a roof over Belly’s head, but in terms of caring for her emotions, things like putting her in a debutante ball and embracing Belly beyond what makes her a productive member of society? That seeming was Susannah’s place. So without that, her grades and desire to play sports fell apart. For as much as she enjoyed volleyball and certain aspects of school, what was the incentive? There would be no Susannah, no Jeremiah, or Conrad. She couldn’t expect, like Steven got, a basket with a kind-hearted note that makes you all fuzzy inside.

Some, like Steven, may just focus on the gifts, but as shown by Laurel and how Susannah’s absence affects Belly, Susannah, and her influence, brought so much more than material things.

On The Fence

The Time Jumping

Milo (Will Spencer) performing at Steven's party
“Milo (Will Spencer) performing at Steven’s party,” The Summer I Turned Pretty, “Love Lost,” directed by Zoe Cassavetes, 2023, (Prime Video)

While going directly from the summer to fall, to Susannah’s death, to summer 2023 would have been potentially boring, I must admit, sometimes the time jumping felt a bit much. It made any emotion exhibited feel stifled, rushed and cut off just as it was starting to get into the wound. The start and stop, going from Belly mourning Susannah then talking with Conrad until 2 AM and then struggling with her mom, trying to date, and more? I get things are complicated, but it weakens the narrative by jumping around like this.

More From The Series

Previous Episode – Season 1/ Episode 6 “Summer Tides”

Check Out The Character Guide

Next Episode – Episode 2 “Love Scene”

Belly (Lola Tung) touching her infinity necklace
The Summer I Turned Pretty: Season 2/ Episode 1 “Love Lost” – Recap and Review
Showing Of How Everyone Doesn’t Grieve The Same
The Time Jumping
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Showing Of How Everyone Doesn’t Grieve The Same
The Time Jumping

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