Jenny Han's Romantic Charm on Pop Culture
How Jenny Han has Influenced the Way we Engage with Film and TV
By: Amanda Healy
In seventh grade, I picked up The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han, and it changed how I viewed books. Reading was no longer an activity that had to be academically driven but could be enjoyable, stepping into a world that is no longer your own. This series has always been my favorite. I reread the books every summer and have waited years for them to receive the recognition they deserve.
Jenny Han is an author who has written many different books, including the To All The Boys I Loved Before series, which became a three-film series on Netflix starring Noah Centineo and Lana Condor. The success of these films helped boost Centineo and Condor’s career. Additionally, The Summer I Turned Pretty is a current series on Amazon Prime starring Lola Tung, Christopher Briney, and Gavin Casalegno—and it has taken the internet by storm.
Television show adaptations of books can be scary, especially if you love something the way I love these books, because changes are always made. While I don’t agree with every alteration to the adapted series, Han has done a great job of adding extra storylines that feel like an extension of the original character instead of changing the plot entirely.
The Summer I Turned Pretty focuses on the main character, Belly, and her love triangle between two brothers, Conrad and Jerimiah. Their families spend summers together because their mothers have been best friends since college.
TikTok and X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, have passionately debated “Team Conrad” and “Team Jerimiah.” I have been on “Team Conrad” since I was 13 years old and always will be, but it is fascinating to see how different people perceive the show and dissect the pros and cons of each character. Han has been very successful in curating versatile characters that develop over time and allow fans to develop differing opinions.
Jenny Han is powerful. She works closely with her on-screen adaptations and has a lot of creative control over her projects. We saw the rise of the internet’s crush on Noah Centineo as Peter Kavinsky, and the same appeal is seen now with Christopher Briney and Gavin Casalegno. Han has a way of writing compelling characters and bringing them to life in a romantic light, and the world of pop culture stops to pay close attention to each of her projects. She has a way with words, and her captivating storytelling keeps people coming back. I am definitely one of them. I cannot wait to see what she does with season three.