Before you read any further, this is a review based on the tv-series, without any prior knowledge of what happens in the books. Therefore I’ll be judging it as such.

Belly (Lola Tong) used to count down the days until she could return to Cousins Beach, but with Conrad (Christopher BrineyDaliland) and Jeremiah (Gavin CasalegnoWalker, The Unhealer) fighting over her heart and the return of Susannah’s cancer, she’s not sure summer will ever be the same. When an unexpected visitor threatens the future of Susannah’s beloved house, Belly has to rally the gang to come together, and to decide once and for all where her heart lies.

As a fan of the 90s tv-show Dawson’s Creek, the first season of The Summer I Turned Pretty pretty much reminded me of that same coming-of-age feeling filled with emotional character development and love triangles. Unfortunately, this second season is a complete letdown from start to finish. There’s not a hint of cheerfulness, it’s all gloomy, depressing, childish drama that goes back and forth without any adult intervening.

The tragic event that happens offscreen, makes the time jump at the beginning of the season seem like it’s been months or even years, but we find out it’s only been like a month since Susannah died, so I fully understand the sincerity of those fresh feelings lingering in a child’s mind. We get glimpses of what happened in between the end of the first season and this new one, by means of flashbacks, but they feel so forced, I’d rather have seen a full episode and be done with it.

My biggest issue with this season is the lack of events. It all revolves around saving Susannah’s house from going up for sale. And it’s not even that exciting. Any other show would use this plot for one, maybe two, episodes, but TSITP decided to milk it for what it was. It almost feels as if they had no budget this time around and everything had to be shot in two locations, but that wouldn’t make sense when you basically have Taylor Swift’s entire discography playing throughout the season. The story and dialogue is lacklustre. Once again, I don’t know if this season follows the events of the second book, but it sounds to me they could’ve added a bunch of other stuff to at least make it a bit more interesting, since the first season was filled with memorable moments.

Everyone except for most of the adults are back this season, and you can feel it. The lack of adult storylines is such a loss for this show, because the teenagers really don’t bring much to the table than going around in circles and playing with each other’s feelings. I can only take as much. The welcome addition of Kyra Sedgwick (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Closer) as Conrad and Jeremiah’s aunt breathes a little life into the story, but even she can only work with what’s been given. Elsie Fisher (Barry, My Best Friend’s Exorcism) plays Sky, a somewhat shy teenager who’s been out of touch with their cousins for years. Fisher feels miscast and her character doesn’t add much to the story.

The main cast is fine, but I don’t feel like they’re challenged enough in terms of material unable to really show their acting skills. Where the first season had me bawling at times, those times it was always a scene in which the younger cast was paired up with an adult, or when the adults had a scene together. The lack of this dynamic makes this second season one of the worst fallbacks I’ve seen in years, when it comes to sophomore seasons.

I guess if you’re a fan of the books, you’ll find some joy in the highly boring love triangle that is Belly, Conrad and Jeremiah, but after this spiritless second season, I think I’m done with TSITP.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

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