Gavin Casalegno (Jeremiah) and Lola Tung (Belly)
Jackie Chung (Laurel) and Rachel Blanchard (Susannah)
Noah Centineo (Peter) and Lana Condor (Lara Jean)
Christopher Briney (Conrad) and Lola Tung (Belly)
Jenny Han has a lot to celebrate — including a shoutout on Instagram from none other than Taylor Swift. In the trailer for Han's new series The Summer I Turned Pretty, launching June 17 on Prime Video, Swift's "This Love" provides a dramatic backdrop. "Thank you @jennyhan for debuting my version of This Love in the trailer for @thesummeriturnedpretty!! I've always been so proud of this song," read the singer's post, which racked up more than 2.4 million likes.
"It was definitely a top-tier moment for me," says Han, adding that she frequently listens to Swift's music as she writes in order to "tap into emotions quicker."
Han has already seen a fair amount of top-tier career moments. Her New York Times bestselling young adult book series To All the Boys I've Loved Before was adapted into a trilogy of global hit movies for Netflix. The series of films — which dropped in 2018, 2020 and 2021 — also gave her experience as an executive producer and paved the way for her new project, where she serves as creator, executive producer, coshowrunner and writer.
In The Summer I Turned Pretty, Han tells the story of Isabel, nicknamed Belly (newcomer Lola Tung), who is caught in a love triangle with two brothers she's spent every summer with, played by Gavin Casalegno (Walker) and Christopher Briney. The seven-episode season will cover Isabel's coming-of-age tale of first loves, high school angst and the complex relationship between a mother and daughter. "I think we continue to come of age; it's not just one moment in your life," says Han about the storylines involving the parents in the series.
When asked if her stories are autobiographical, Han confirms they're fiction, but admits that she does take inspiration from her life. She's Korean American and her lead characters reflect this, though her storytelling is widely representative. "I think about my teen years a lot. For All The Boys, I used to write love letters but would never send them," says Han, referencing a key plot point from the books and movies. "I kept them in a hat box and then wondered what would've happened had they been sent."
The Summer I Turned Pretty — based on yet another of Han's bestselling YA book trilogies — was inspired by a time Han was a nanny while in grad school. "There was a family I was close with — and we'd go to Cape Cod. That time definitely triggered my imagination. I also thought about how all young women have a moment in their lives where people suddenly see them in a different way and though there's power in that, it's also scary. I wanted to explore how that moment feels," she says, explaining that she doesn't shy away from young love and sex. "I like to stay within the realm of reality. I like it grounded in truthfulness and I want to show different kinds of romance and sexuality."
Han has written eight novels and cowritten three. She sold her first book, Shug, when she was just twenty-three, and her binge-worthy storytelling has made her one of the most popular YA novelists in recent years. (Her books are published in more than thirty languages.) It's no surprise that Amazon Studios recently tapped her for an overall television and film deal in which she will exclusively create, develop and produce projects for the studio via her newly formed production banner, Jenny Kissed Me.
She is currently in production in Seoul, South Korea, on the forthcoming Netflix series, XO, Kitty — a spinoff of To All the Boys I've Loved Before — about a teen matchmaker who moves to South Korea to reunite with her boyfriend. It's another top-tier moment for Han, and it's notable for Netflix, too — marking the first spinoff series from one of the streamer's original movies.
Which begs the question: does she have more books in the works? Han responds, laughing, "I've been so busy with two shows! I have a few ideas I keep going back to and I'm looking forward to sitting down and writing."
The Prime Video series is led by showrunners Jenny Han, who also wrote the pilot, and Gabrielle Stanton. Han, Stanton, and Karen Rosenfelt serve as executive producers along with Hope Hartman, Mads Hansen and Nne Ebong for wiip. The series is a co-production of Amazon Studios and wiip.