This guide to The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy shares everything you need to know about New York Times bestselling author Jenny Han’s beloved coming-of-age young adult Summer romance book series set in the Summer.

Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.
(one of my favorite Summer book quotes!)

The basic plot of The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy (also knows as “TSITP books”) is that young Isabel “Belly” Conklin and her family (including her mother, Laurel, and older brother, Steven) spend each Summer at the family home of her mother’s best friend, Susannah, along with Susannah’s sons, Conrad and Jeremiah, in the fictional Cousins Beach.

The books begin when Belly, Steven, Conrad (Belly’s lifelong crush), and Jeremiah are teenagers, beginning to grow into adults and explore love and other more complicated life issues. There’s a love triangle and so much more in store for Belly along the way.

And, let me tell you, it’s GOOD. It has all of the drama, angst, nostalgia, romance, and youthfulness you want and expect from a Young Adult series. It also has a “bad boy” versus “nice guy” love triangle.

(The Amazon Prime tv show adaptation has also become one of my absolute favorites ever! Each and every layer, from casting to staging, music, and the wardrobe, is perfection. For anyone who was a teen in the late 1990s, like me, I would describe it as a modern-day Dawson’s Creek, but better, as it appeals to both teens and adults.)

Below are details about The Summer I Turned Pretty order of books (with a brief summary of each containing only the most minimal spoilers), fun lifestyle pairings for these popular books, including details about the Amazon Prime tv series adaptation and merch, followed by frequently asked questions about The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy.

The Summer I Turned Pretty Books in Order

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han on a bookshelf.

The Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy Books in Order

What is the Order of The Summer I Turned Pretty books?

The Summer I Turned Pretty books series by Jenny Han is a series of three books in the following sequence:

  1. The Summer I Turned Pretty (2009)
  2. It’s Not Summer Without You (2010)
  3. We’ll Always Have Summer (2011)

The Summer I Turned Pretty Book 1 of 3: The Summer I Turned Pretty (2009)

Page count: 304

In The Summer I Turned Pretty, Belly believes everything magical happens in the Summer, which she spends at the Cousins Beach home of her mother’s best friend, Susannah.

Belly’s always had a crush on Susannah’s son, Conrad (the “bad boy”), and a friendship with her other son, Jeremiah (the “nice guy”). But this year, Belly and her brother, Steven, return to the beach home in her sweet sixteenth year of life, and Belly has bloomed into a butterfly in the eyes of both Conrad and Jeremiah.

As you may have guessed, a love triangle is looming, but there’s even more drama in store, as it becomes clear that Susannah is very sick.

Upon reading this book, I didn’t initially like it as much as Han’s other popular book, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, but I still thought it was very good. If I was a teen reading it, I definitely think I would have loved it. There’s a bit of Judy Blume in Han’s writing — it’s the type of work that can connect with that age group on a deeply intimate level.

But, upon watching season one of the Amazon Prime tv series adaptation, I became a super fan of the series. It’s so rare that adaptations get it right, and this one totally nails it — and then some. It took a good teen series and made it great for me.


The Summer I Turned Pretty Book 2 of 3: It’s Not Summer Without You (2010)

Page count: 288

The second book, It’s Not Summer Without You, picks up next Summer when Belly’s relationships with Conrad and Jeremiah are strained, and she is not looking forward to spending time at Cousins Beach. But, when Conrad disappears, she knows she needs to return.

The three spend time together filled with both fun and angst, and the love triangle pushes and pulls in more complex ways as they mature and manage more complex life issues.

This book has a very different feel. A lot has happened since “last Summer” and the teens are a year older on top of it. Some readers will long for the charm of the first book, but I personally think this book (and season 2 of the Amazon Prime tv show adaptation) accurately reflect real life.

The first Summer reflected their change from children to teens, and the next two books reflect maturing into adulthood. Once we make those changes in real life, everything changes.


The Summer I Turned Pretty Book 3 of 3: We’ll Always Have Summer (2011)

Page count: 320

In the third book, We’ll Always Have Summer, Belly is finishing her freshman year of college. She’s spent the past two years with one of Susannah’s sons, while the other has regretted letting her get away.

As Belly’s now an adult and her relationship is deepening, there’s a betrayal along with lots of family drama that complicate the lives of the two families at the heart of the story.

Ultimately, Belly must make a final choice between the two brothers.

While it’s satisfying to get closure in a beloved series, I also felt this one was a bit rushed. The characters are adults, but barely, and a lot will likely continue to change in their lives in the next decade or two. (So, is there hope for a 4th book picking up later in time?! I would definitely love to see it.)

Buying Tip: While you can buy each book in The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy separately, you can also check the price on the entire paperback box set of the three The Summer I Turned Pretty books.


Lifestyle Pairings for The Summer I Turned Pretty Book Series

Now that you know all about the beloved The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy, let’s have some fun with these lifestyle pairings.

First, you should definitely watch the very guilty pleasure and escapist Amazon Prime adaptation of The Summer I Turned Pretty. Here’s the trailer for Season One (which loosely follows Book One):

(If you are extra curious, you can note the differences between the Amazon Prime tv series and Book One.)

And if you already watched, can we talk about Belly’s stunning gown at the Debutante Ball?! It’s one of my favorite tv looks in ages. Fit for a royal, you can shop “the dress” yourself.

buy belly's debutante dress by emilia wickstead from the summer i turned pretty

(Note: There’s also a cheaper alternative dress at BHLDN.)

You may have also noticed that the Amazon Prime tv series had a massive soundtrack (featuring Taylor Swift, whose music inspired the books) which you can listen to on Spotify.

Lastly, fandom for The Summer I Turned Pretty is REAL.

(Check out this The Summer I Turned Pretty merch on Etsy to shop everything from Cousins Beach tees, to Belly’s infinity necklace, Team Conrad and Team Jeremy stickers, and SO much more.)

Here are a few more top picks I found on Amazon:


Frequently Asked Questions About The Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy Series

How many books are in The Summer I Turned Pretty?

There are three books in The Summer I Turned Pretty book series by Jenny Han: The Summer I Turned Pretty (2009); It’s Not Summer Without You (2010); and We’ll Always Have Summer (2011).

Can you read The Summer I Turned Pretty out of order?

No. The books in The Summer I Turned Pretty series by Jenny Han follow a chronological storyline with the same characters and so, they should be read in the following reading order to avoid any spoilers: (1) The Summer I Turned Pretty; (2) It’s Not Summer Without You; and (3) We’ll Always Have Summer.

Which book of The Summer I Turned Pretty is first?

Book one in The Summer I Turned Pretty series of books by Jenny Han is The Summer I Turned Pretty.

Is The Summer I Turned Pretty only one book?

No. The Summer I Turned Pretty is a trilogy of three books by Jenny Han: The Summer I Turned Pretty, It’s Not Summer Without You, and We’ll Always Have Summer.

Is the first season of The Summer I Turned Pretty based on the first book?

Yes. The first season of Amazon Prime’s The Summer I Turned Pretty is based on The Summer I Turned Pretty, which is the first book by Jenny Han in the book series of the same name.

What is The Summer I Turned Pretty second book?

The second book in The Summer I Turned Pretty books by Jenny Han is It’s Not Summer Without You.

Is The Summer I Turned Pretty series only about the first book?

No. Amazon Prime’s The Summer I Turned Pretty now has two seasons. Season 1 is based on The Summer I Turned Pretty, which is the first book by Jenny Han in the book series of the same name. Season 2 is based on the second book in the series.

Is The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy finished?

Yes, The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy is finished, according to author Jenny Han.

What books should I read after The Summer I Turned Pretty?

These nine books are popular Young Adult romance books with storylines, themes and/or settings similar to The Summer I Turned Pretty:

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (Trilogy) by Jenny Han
Love and Gelato (Trilogy) by Jenna Evans Welch
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
A Cuban Girl’s Guide To Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey
The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther
November 9 by Colleen Hoover


Conclusion

The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy is a captivating book series that perfectly blends the nostalgia of youth, Summer, and first love with the realities of growing up. I highly recommend both the books AND the Amazon Prime’s tv series adaptation (which is somewhat rare for me to say about a beloved book series).

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2 Comments

  1. I’ve seen the Amazon series multiple times now, and I have the second book on my e-reader. Would you say it’s a problem to just have watched the series and skipping book 1 for now so I can continue with the story in book 2? I would get to reading it eventually, but I desperately want to jump in book 2