What Author Jenny Han Learned From All The Boys And Brought To The Summer I Turned Pretty As A Showrunner

When To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before hit Netflix in 2018, many believed the book adaptation launched a new rom-com era with more diversity. Following the trilogy coming to a close last year, All The Boys author Jenny Han is bringing us her first coming-of-age trilogy, called The Summer I Turned Pretty, to life through a streaming series, this time with a larger role as showrunner. As the series arrives, Han is sharing what she’s learning about working in Hollywood.

The bestselling author played the executive producer role in the All The Boys movies, but for The Summer I Turned Pretty, which was her first YA book series, she serves as a showrunner. While speaking to Han, she talked about how the Netflix movies affected her latest project. 

I would say [I learned] so much because I had never been on a film set before to All The Boys. I think I learned just how much film production is a team effort and that you should surround yourself with people who are really good at their jobs, who know stuff that you don't know. And that, I think, makes whatever you're making so much better for it.

Just a few years ago, Han had never stepped on the set of a movie before; following her involvement in the Netflix trilogy starring Lana Condor and Noah Centineo, she received a hands-on education about what enriches a project. When working on The Summer I Turned Pretty, here’s how she felt that knowledge played into making the show: 

I love that the show we made is the show I wanted to make and that everything, from picking music to sitting in the edit bay and – like there's so many different stages of storytelling as a showrunner. You have the first stage, which is like the words on the page, then you have another stage where you're bringing in all these like shareholders, I guess, to help you tell the story, which is a great production designer and a great head of costumes and hair and makeup, cinematographer, all those different roles. And then the next stage is actually seeing it come to life and being there for the production. But then the post stage is another one too, where you're finding facets of the story that you might not have seen before. And you're kind of like digging out moments as you go through the footage.

Jenny Han recently launched her own production company called Jenny Kissed Me, which The Summer I Turned Pretty is produced under. The series follows a teen named Belly (played by newcomer Lola Tung) who returns to her family friends’ beach house for her annual summer vacation, except this summer she finds herself in a love triangle she didn’t expect. 

It’s great to see Jenny Han taking control of her own words in TV form, especially considering that she is one of the few Asian-American female authors to get a popular book adapted into a major project. As Han shared with CinemaBlend, she really worked on all elements in getting the series right, over a decade after publishing the book initially in 2009. 

Ahead of the show’s release, Amazon Prime already renewed The Summer I Turned Pretty for a second season, which will give Han a chance to adapt her second of three books about Belly, It’s Not Summer Without You. Han has also been working on All The Boys spinoff XO, Kitty, which will tell the story of Lara Jean’s younger sister finding love. 

You can stream all seven episodes of The Summer I Turned Pretty on Friday, June 17 with an Amazon Prime subscription

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.