Jackie Chung & Rachel Blanchard On Who They Were 'Lucky' To Have On Set - Exclusive

Fans of Jenny Han's novel "The Summer I Turned Pretty" have patiently waited more than a decade to see their favorite characters hit the small screen. Finally watching them all come to life was something that even actress Rachel Blanchard (who plays Susannah) was in awe of each time she stepped onto set. "You could see the world that Jenny had been creating jump from the page in large part because of the younger cast," she said during an exclusive interview with The List – and the incredible casting didn't stop there.

Working with actress Jackie Chung (who plays Laurel) is something Blanchard will never forget either. The two felt instant chemistry in their initial screen test, making it easy to depict their characters' close friendship in the series. "It's always exciting to be a part of a show and play a relationship when the chemistry is a given," Blanchard added.

But there was still someone else on set that both Chung and Blanchard were thrilled to be able to work with every day. "I have a mutual friend with [the author of the books] Jenny Han, and she was like, 'You will love Jenny,' so I was super excited to work with her," Chung gushed.

The author was heavily involved in the TV series

Though the actors in "The Summer I Turned Pretty" did have the novel to study as a secondary source, there was still a lot to learn when it came to their characters. That's because when author Jenny Han set out to write the television series, she wrote in some new twists and turns to keep original fans on their toes — including the cameo she makes in the final episode of the series. 

Because of that, having the woman who originally wrote the fictional characters available was an enormous help for the entire cast whenever they had questions. "It was invaluable to have her on set, because obviously, she knows the stories inside and out," Rachel Blanchard told The List.

Not only was Han an incredible resource for the actors when it came to character development, but she was also an uplifting spirit to have standing off-camera. "She has a wonderful, generous, and open energy, and it's so nice to have that at the leadership level for your crew and cast," Jackie Chung said.

Having the novelist on set isn't something every actor gets to experience at work, but Blanchard and Chung will always be grateful to have had Han in the moments they needed her most. "We were so lucky to have Jenny around," Chung said.

Season 1 of "The Summer I Turned Pretty" is available to stream now exclusively on Prime Video.