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Cruel Summer 

What's it rated? TV-14

When? 2021

Where's it showing? Hulu

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From executive producers Jessica Biel, Tia Napolitano, and Michelle Purple comes this unconventional drama about getting the life you've always dreamed of and the price you pay for living it. The episodes span three years, intermixing timelines to build the story of what really happened to Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt) and Jeanette Turner (Chaira Aurelia) over that time.

click to enlarge SWITCHEROO After Kate (Olivia Holt, left) is abducted, school wallflower Jeanette (Chiara Aurelia) seems to effortlessly take her place as the popular girl in school, acquiring both her friends and boyfriend, in the Hulu TV series Cruel Summer. - PHOTO COURTESY OF IRON OCEAN FILMS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Iron Ocean Films
  • SWITCHEROO After Kate (Olivia Holt, left) is abducted, school wallflower Jeanette (Chiara Aurelia) seems to effortlessly take her place as the popular girl in school, acquiring both her friends and boyfriend, in the Hulu TV series Cruel Summer.

Jeanette is an awkward and overlooked teen with zero social clout beyond the love of her two best friends, Mallory (Harley Quinn Smith) and Vince (Allius Barnes). She secretly yearns to be like the popular and much cooler Kate Wallis, who's a year above her, dresses cute, and can suck face with her super cute boyfriend, Jamie (Froy Gutierrez), without braces getting in the way. When Kate goes missing, the entire community is shocked, but as life wanders on, Jeanette soon finds herself growing up and growing into a life that looks eerily similar to the one Kate had—or at least the one she seemed to lead on the surface. When we flash forward to the third year, we find Jeanette embroiled in a legal battle when Kate claims Jeanette witnessed her captivity and essentially kept quiet so her new lifestyle wouldn't be at risk.

It's teenage drama mixed with many unknowns about what the truth really is. There's a season 2 slated, and I can't wait to see what more this drama has in store for us. It's hard to peel your eyes from the screen, so be prepared for a binge with this one. (10 42- to 45-min. episodes) Δ

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