Freeform’s Cruel Summer tells a chillingly real story but is the series based on a true story? Did real events inspire Cruel Summer?

Cruel Summer arrived on Freeform and Hulu in April 2021 and promises to be a captivating watch for the next few weeks.

The series is set in a small Texas town during the 1990s and tells the story of a kidnapped teen who goes missing not longer after befriending a social outcast.

The chilling tale seems as if it could happen to anyone but is Cruel Summer based on a true story?

Cruel Summer on Freeform

Cruel Summer arrived on Freeform with a two-hour premiere special on April 20th, 2021.

The series, which is set simultaneously in 1993, 1994 and 1995, tells the story of Jeanette Turner a nerdy wannabe who is befriended by Kate Wallis, the most popular teen in their small Texas town.

However, not long after the pair meet, Kate goes missing without a trace and is feared dead.

Jeanette’s fortunes change dramatically after Kate’s disappearance as she takes the missing girl’s place as the most popular teen in town before eventually becoming a social outcast.


Is Cruel Summer based on a true story?

  • No, Cruel Summer is not based on a true story.

That’s right, despite seeming entirely plausible, the story of Cruel Summer is actually fictional.

However, saying that, there are elements of Cruel Summer’s story that can and have happened in the real world – just take the entire 90s setting for a start.

High-profile kidnappings are an unfortunate part of life and can scar a town’s population for years if there isn’t proper closure.

On top of that, attempting to raise your social standing at school or in your local area has been a genuine struggle many have gone through for years so Jeanette’s rise to town stardom and subsequent fall may well be familiar to viewers.


Cruel Summer is airing weekly on Tuesdays via Freeform with new instalments also arriving on Hulu on Wednesdays.

In other news, Broken But Beautiful season 3: Cast for series on ALTBalaji revealed!