Everyone always seems to love a good coming-of-age story, and The Summer I Turned Pretty is no exception.
Based on the hit novel trilogy by Asian-American author Jenny Han (she’s also well known for writing the “To All the Boys” series, which was adapted to a series of films starring Lana Condor, released from 2018-2021), The Summer I Turned Pretty was originally released in 2009, with its sequels It’s Not Summer Without You and We’ll Always Have Summer released in 2010 and 2011.
This novel trilogy is available on Amazon.
The hit Amazon Prime Video series, The Summer I Turned Pretty, is based on the novel trilogy by Jenny Han
The book series follows the protagonist Isabel “Belly” Conklin, a young woman who spends her summers at Cousins Beach, a popular getaway location in Massachusetts, U.S.A., with her family.
There she reunites with her childhood friends, brothers Jeremiah (Gavin Casalegno in the show) and Conrad (Christopher Briney).
While they grew up together, Belly has grown to have crushes on both brothers and suddenly finds herself thrust into a love triangle as she begins to mature into a young woman.
Lola Tung stars as lead character Isabel “Belly” Conklin in The Summer I Turned Pretty (Credit: Amazon Studios)
In a surprising move, Jenny Han also acts as the co-showrunner for the Amazon Prime Video series, which debuted on June 17, 2022.
The series has proven popular with its target demographic, causing Amazon to renew it for a second season, set to debut sometime in 2023.
In the new series, Isabel “Belly” Conklin is played by Lola Tung, a 20-year-old newcomer to the American film and television industry.
In this article, we will be analyzing the young Tung’s career so far while also discovering how she landed the coveted role of Belly in The Summer I Turned Pretty.
The Summer I Turned Pretty follows Belly Conklin as she finds herself caught in a love triangle with her friends, brothers Jeremiah and Conrad (Credit: Amazon Studios)
How Did Lola Tung Become Famous?
Born in New York City, New York, on October 28, 2002, Lola Tung grew up in the bustling metropolis and desired to pursue acting from a very young age. Her mother, Pia Tung, briefly worked as an actress herself, undoubtedly inspiring Lola to follow the same line of work.
According to Lola, she first fell in love with acting when she was in sixth grade after she landed the role of the Tin Man in her middle school’s production of The Wizard of Oz.
“From there I fell in love with the process and loved being on stage and telling the stories, all of it. That was the moment that started the love for me.”
Lola Tung wearing a vintage Yohji Yamamoto Spring 1999 gown with a Chris Habana tribal thorn choker at the Unforgettable: The 20th Annual Asian American Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on December 18, 2022 (Credit: Ryan Hartford / Startraksphoto / Cover Images)
After she set her heart on acting, Tung decided to enroll in LaGuardia High School, a New York City high school that is famous for its Music, Art, and Performing Arts programs. At LaGuardia, Tung was studying drama daily and continuing to develop her craft.
It was actually her final drama showcase at the end of her time at LaGuardia that caused her to become noticed by an acting manager.
The manager landed her an audition for a dramatic role right from the get-go. That role? Belly Conklin in The Summer I Turned Pretty.
Lola Tung was discovered by an acting manager, who landed her an audition for a dramatic role in The Summer I Turned Pretty (Credit: Amazon Studios)
How Did Lola Tung get the Role of Belly in The Summer I Turned Pretty?
Tung’s audition for Belly in The Summer I Turned Pretty was actually her first-ever professional audition. Apparently, she managed to wow the casting directors of the project because she was able to book the role despite her inexperience in Hollywood.
After she received the news that she landed the role of Belly, Tung became nervous, considering it was her first production ever, and it was such a major one.
She had this advice to cling on to: “Take care of myself. To make sure you’re really taking care of yourself and to just be present and in the moment and doing the work and being there and enjoying it,” Tung told Collider. Sounds like sage advice to us.
Gavin Casalegno as Jeremiah Fisher and Lola Tung as Belly Conklin in The Summer I Turned Pretty (Credit: Amazon Studios)
Despite her complete lack of experience in professional acting, Tung managed to perform admirably as Belly in the first season of The Summer I Turned Pretty.
Reviewers of the show have given the show positive feedback, with particular emphasis on highlighting Tung’s performance as Belly.
In a review for the AV Club, film critic Lauren Chval remarks: “…it’s a magnetically charming Lola Tung who holds this world together.”– talk about a star in the making!
Lola Tung with Christopher Briney, who plays Conrad Fisher in the coming-of-age series (Credit: Amazon Studios)
How Old is Lola Tung?
Lola Tung was born on October 28, 2002. As of this writing, she is 20 years old. She will celebrate her 21st birthday on October 28, 2023.
How Tall is Lola Tung?
Lola Tung stands 1.67m in height, or 5 ft 4 inches, which makes her height about average for a woman in the United States.
Will There Be a Second Season of The Summer I Turned Pretty?
Considering the success of the first season, it’s no surprise that Amazon has confirmed that a second season of The Summer I Turned Pretty has been ordered.
Amazon seemingly predicted that the show would be a success, as they had ordered a second season even before the first season premiered!
Amazon ordered a second season of The Summer I Turned Pretty before the first season premiered in June 2022 (Credit: Amazon Studios)
The second season of the show will follow the second book of Jenny Han’s series, It’s Not Summer Without You. In the second book, protagonist Belly Conklin returns to her family’s summer beach home at Cousin’s Beach and reunites with Jeremiah and Conrad.
Author and co-showrunner Jenny Han was thrilled to hear the news that Amazon renewed the series for a second season, stating: “To receive a second season pick up ahead of the premiere of Season 1 is beyond my wildest dreams.”
So far, Amazon has not revealed the date of when the second season will premiere, but rumors point towards 2023 being the year when it will release to audiences across the globe.
Given Jenny Han’s original trilogy of books, The Summer I Turned Pretty will most likely be renewed for a third and final season (Credit: Amazon Studios)
We’re excited to see Belly’s story of love and maturation continue in the second season of the show.
Lola Tung has managed to truly bring life to the character, allowing us to truly become attached to the young Belly Conklin. We’re sure that season two will continue to provide even more drama, romance, and character-building than the first season.
The Summer I Turned Pretty follows the lives of Belly (Lola Tung) and her brother Steven (Sean Kaufman) (Credit: Ryan Hartford / Startraksphoto / Cover Images)
Since there are three novels in Jenny Han’s original trilogy of books, we’re also certain that Amazon will renew the series for a third and final season as well!