Turning the Pages: What Came Before ‘TATBILB’

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Before Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky fell in love, author Jenny Han took the world by storm with her first New York Times best selling trilogy, The Summer I Turned Pretty. It‘s well worth a read by anyone who loves To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.The series follows Isabel “Belly” Conklin during her summers at a house in Cousins Beach with her mother and older brother, along with her mother’s best friend and her two very handsome sons. Belly has been in love with eldest son, Conrad, for as long as she can remember. But he never really paid much attention to her growing up. That changed the summer she turned sixteen. And Conrad isn’t the only one who started noticing Belly that summer. His younger brother, Jeremiah, also started to realize his dormant feelings for the beautiful girl they grew up with.

New York Times Best Selling Book Covers

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2014) and The Summer I Turned Pretty (2009)

 

In a bittersweet love story told over a lifetime of summers, Han pulls at your heartstrings with this tale about love, loss, family and friendship. Three reasons you should read this now: 

1. A strong, relatable female lead and fully fleshed out supporting characters

Han struck gold when she created Lara Jean Covey. Book and movie fans all adore her, with good reason. She’s wonderfully written. But Lara Jean isn’t Han’s only incredibly relatable female character. Belly’s story will resonate just as much as readers follow her through all her summers at Cousins Beach. They’ll also fall in love with this sleepy coastal town, and the two boys she loves most in the world. They are as fleshed out as she is. Han gives everyone the growth they deserve, which is refreshing. Some books in this genre tend to leave their supporting characters without any substantial development.

2. An epic love story with a very equal love triangle

Most of us cringe at the thought of another badly written love triangle.  Usually those triangles look and feel disjointed because all sides are not equal.. That’s not the case here. Han works hard to show Conrad and Jeremiah are both very worthy of her leading lady. That doesn’t mean both boys are perfect and can do no wrong. Han is just not afraid to tear one or both of them down before building them back up again. She’ll break your heart without a second thought, but she’ll always work to heal it in the same breath.

3. Han has her finger on the pulse of teen angst

There are plenty of teen rom-coms out there for us to read and watch, but unfortunately a lot of them feel like they are written by adults with no real understanding of what it means to be a teenager. It’s as if they’ve forgotten what it was like, but are trying to tap into a popular, lucrative genre. In contrast, Han just seems to get it. Her books aren’t over the top, and her characters sound like actual teenagers. Han has been writing young adult novels for years and lucky for us, it doesn’t look like she’s going to be slowing down anytime soon. The Summer I Turned Pretty is just another wonderfully written love story told from a young adult’s perspective.

Going Beyond The Book

In 2013, Han confirmed on her Tumblr that the book series had been optioned by Lionsgate TV (Weeds, Mad Men) for development as a TV series. There has been no word about this since. A year later, Han published To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, which became a beloved and critically acclaimed film on Netflix this summer.

“To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.” Source: Netflix

It is unknown if the success of that film will cause Lionsgate Entertainment to revisit their optioned series or if their time is up, putting the rights for The Summer I Turned Pretty up for grabs again. If this series does go back into development, would you like to see it become a film like To All The Boys?Or would you prefer a new TV series as originally planned? Let us know in the comments!

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