‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ Creator On Why She Made One Lead Queer

·2 min read
The Summer I Turned Pretty still
The Summer I Turned Pretty still

When The Summer I Turned Pretty author and co-showrunner Jenny Han was approaching the adaptation of the beloved YA novel for Prime Video, she knew she wanted to find a way to make the series feel more modern. The answer, she told TV Line, was to make it queer-inclusive — and we love to see it.

“My approach to this adaptation was: How would I tell the story in 2022? What would that look like? And how would that change things?” she explained. “I think perhaps if I was writing the novel today, I may have made that choice because I think that [Jeremiah has] always been a character, to me, that is really at ease with himself, really comfortable in his own skin, and open-minded and open to exploration. 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.”

In the series (and book), Jeremiah (Gavin Casalegno) and his brother Conrad (Christopher Briney) are both vying for the heart of 16-year-old Isabel “Belly” Conklin (Lola Tung) as she navigates the romantic entanglements of one summer. It’s a perfect setup for a YA romance, but adding the nuance of a sexually fluid character does succeed in making it feel more authentic.

Gavin Casalegno
Gavin Casalegno

In episode two, Jeremiah describes himself as equal opportunity, and while he doesn’t go as far as identifying as bisexual, he’s still exploring that side of himself, says Han. “I would say [he’s] sexually fluid. He is a young person who’s figuring out where he falls in all that and hasn’t experienced a lot of love yet. It’s still kind of early on in that journey,” she said.

With the series already renewed for a second season, Jeremiah will have the opportunity to continue that journey of exploration. Season one is currently streaming on Prime Video. Watch the trailer below.