The epic battle of books vs movies.
So if you haven’t been up to date with book Twitter, you might have missed the overwhelming hype the adaptation of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has been getting. I was never planning on reading the books, but Book Twitter has won me over (like it usually does). Since I was waiting for my sister so we could watch the movie together, I figured I would start the book. And I ended up watching the movie when I was about a third of the way through. I have since finished the book as well, so now I bring you an epic battle between the two in which we will see which version will be crowned the winner.
I ended up giving the book 3 stars. I enjoyed it and it was easy to read, but nothing about it impressed me that much or stood out to me in any way. It’s just the same old YA Contemporary story, but with a POC main character, so it got bonus points for that. If I have read this when I was 17, I would have loved it, but right now it just didn’t do all that much for me. As for the movie, I was so surprised by how much I loved it. I rated it 9/10 on IMDB and I am constantly thinking about how great the movie was. So in respect to the initial upon completion feelings, the movie wins this round.
I feel like the movie is a really good adaptation of the book. The two don’t really differ in plot all that much and I feel like the movie totally did the book justice. The plot of the story is really predictable and sort of formulaic, but the story’s strengths don’t really rely on the plot anyway. We follow Lara Jean, who writes letters to all the boys she’s loved, only to wake up one day and find out that all of those letters were sent out, including the one to her sister’s ex-boyfriend and Lara Jean’s best friend since childhood, Josh. In order to avoid Josh and a discussion with him on it, Lara Jean starts up a fake relationship with one of the other recipient of her letters, Peter Kavinsky, who happens to be the most popular guy in school.
There were plot points that I HATED in the book, but there was also some stuff that happened in the book and was discussed in it that wasn’t in the movie, so I feel like that evens out, so this round is a tie and both of them get a point.
I have to say, I much prefer the characters in the movie than in the book. I think Lara Jean’s quirkiness translated far better in the movie, and Lana Condor did such an awesome job in bringing her to life. While it’s mentioned in the book frequently that Lara Jean is quirky, I never really got to SEE that, instead of just being told, so I feel like the movie nailed that. But more importantly, I much prefer the movie version of Kavinsky to his book counterpart. I feel like book Kavinsky was a jerk a lot of the times, especially in the beginning, while that never happened in the movie. I feel like the book tried to play that “he’s a jerk, but you don’t know him like I do, deep down he is amazing” card a bit too much, the movie never went down that road, and movie Kavinsky was just great from start to finish. Plus, Noah Centineo. I also felt like most of the characters were better in the movie, like Josh and Kitty. So the movie is the clear winner of this round.
I think that Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship was way more organic in the book. I feel like it happened more naturally and we could really see how they started liking each other and how their feelings evolved. Some of it is due to the format, because the movie couldn’t really portray them hanging out as much, but still, I feel like the relationship was just more believable in the book (even though I LOVED it in the movie as well, don’t get it twisted). But this round goes to the book.
I also feel like the family dynamics were much more realistic in the book. While the movie was very easy going and fun, the book portrayed the relationship between Margot and Lara Jean in a much more believable and serious way. In the movie, their conflicts resolved too easily in my opinion, while the book was fantastic at showing the sister relationship and I could totally relate to it and see so much of myself and my sister’s relationship in Margot and Lara Jean. I also felt like Kitty’s relationship with Lara Jean was a bit more realistic in the book. Overall, the family dynamics of the book felt way more multifaceted and layered than the family dynamics in the movie. So the book wins this one as well!
For me, the book wasn’t anything new or special. I did not get swept up in it and I did not find like it had a fleshed out feel to it, something that is unique to the book. While I was completely mesmerized by the movie. I loved the colors, the way the scenes were shot and directed and I just found the overall aesthetic of the movie to be so unique and I feel like it brought something new and fresh to the screen. So the movie is a clearcut winner of this round.
So that means that the winner is…
I did really prefer the movie to the book. That rarely happens but I think the movie handled a lot of the plot points and characters better and I found it to be way more enjoyable than the book and I can totally see myself rewatching it, while I don’t see myself rereading the book or even continuing on with the series (it did end on the worst sort of cliffhanger thing ever, so I maybe will, but I will be annoyed to do so).
So that’s the book vs movie battle! I hope you enjoyed the format of this post and I would love to hear your thoughts on both the book and the movie in the comments!
Come hang out with me:
*Used Book Depository links are affiliate links which means I get a small commission if you buy a book through my link, which helps me out a lot!