I’m a books-before-films kinda person. But the Netflix movie To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before stole my heart and for once in my life, I was questioning my desire for reading the book. I was scared whether I wouldn’t like it as much as I had loved watching the movie.
Moreover, I was adamant to own the hardcovers and the exorbitant rates didn’t help either. I waited patiently for over half a year and Voila! I got the series at a discounted price.
A couple of hours ago, Netflix released the film of the second part of the trilogy – P.S. I Still Love You. I thought it was relevant to review this series and also give a Book Vs. Movie analysis.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Trilogy
Though published way back in 2014, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han became popular when its Netflix adaptation was released last year. At least, I’d like to believe that.
One of the most hyped-up trilogies out there, I was excited to indulge in this series. But then, #ReadingWithMuffy happened and the prompt for this month was to read a book with the word ‘Love’, ‘Hug’, or ‘Kiss’ in the title. The series was perfect!
Lara Jean has a unique way of confessing love to her crushes. She writes love letters, stores them in her beautiful teal box under the bed, never meaning to send them. These letters are in a way, goodbyes because when she pours her heart out, it sort of liberates her and helps in moving on.
Except… they are mailed and it reaches the recipients- five in total, including her first kiss, the boy from summer camp and even her sister’s boyfriend! Alas! The mortification!
If love is like a possession, maybe my letters are like my exorcisms. — Lara Jean
The situation is alarming for Lara Jean and she seeks help from Peter Kavinsky, (I love how Kavinsky sounds in my head, just like Lara Jean. Dang!) one of her crushes. However, things take a 180-degree turn as she finds herself falling for him!
*a wee bit spoiler-ish*
The first book sees Lara Jean making a pact with Kavinsky to keep away from all the embarrassment. This is mainly to avoid Josh who Lara Jean has been in love with since like forever. However, he became Margot’s boyfriend and soon the ex. Lara Jean doesn’t want to break the sister code because, for her, family is everything.
The Song Girls
The highlight of this series, next to the epic romance, of course, is the family dynamics.
The three sisters – Margot, Lara Jean and Kitty (Katherine), along with their Dad constitutes the Song family. The girls lost their mother when they were young and thiers is an enviable close-knit family.
Their dad is protective, supportive and immensely lovable. He doesn’t become the overly possessive, strict father just because he now has to take care of his three daughters, all by himself.
The three sisters are similar yet so different.
While Margot, the elder sister is strict with a no-nonsense attitude, Kitty the younger one is fierce and has a mind of her own.
I do understand why Margot is the way she is, having taken the responsibility to manage her little sisters at a very young age. And if not for Kitty, the series wouldn’t have existed, if you know what I mean 😀
The individual temperaments and personalities shine through the series and Lara Jean’s relationship with her sisters is given immense importance.
Another important point to note is the introduction of diversity in the Song family. They are biracial, Lara Jean’s mother being Korean.
I loved the part where they spoke of Korean food, including Kavisky’s favorite Korean yogurt drinks, and their visit to the mom’s side of the family.
The series is character-driven and one can witness character development and growth as the story progresses.
Though Lara Jean Covey is the protagonist, all the secondary characters had a role to play without which the story loses its plot. The family, geeky best friend, mean ex-girlfriend, makes it for a typical teenage drama but the mash-up of these cliches makes it interesting.
Lara Jean is easily likable even when she makes epic blunders. Her childlike innocence draws you into the story from the word go. She loves all things cute and for her, family is bae.
As a South Asian, I found myself relating to her in so many ways, good and bad! She is messy, skeptical, judgemental and is a bundle of nerves most of the time, but that’s who she is- real!
I fell head over heels in love with Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky, just like most of you.
Their romance is epic, adorable and cheesy. Their banter, while fake-dating in the first book is filled with warmth and Kavinsky’s love notes makes you topsy-turvy.
They overcome the minor setbacks – mean ex-girlfriend, Josh (Margot’s ex) and John Ambrose McClaren (I loved him too much!!!).
The love triangle in the second book, P.S. I Still Love You, made it even more interesting and believe me, there were times when I thought John was perfect for Lara Jean. And that says something because I’m a loyal Kavinsky fan. #TeamPeter always. (The world was divided into #TeamPeter and #TeamJohn ever since the release of Book 2. Twilight vibes, anyone?).
Lara Jean and Kavisky are poles apart but they make a perfect fit. It’s the kind of romance I believe in, not having to change for someone else.
Book and Movie References
Lara Jean and Kavinsky have movie nights where they watch each other’s favorites.
From chicklits, romcoms and action movies, there are many recommendations one can pick up. Remember the first rule in their contract? No kissing, but Peter is allowed to put his hand in her back pocket, a la Sixteen Candles.
There are many book references too but I was over the moon when I read Lara Jean is a Hufflepuff, just like me! (If you are wondering what a Hufflepuff is, I ask you, go and die!).
While I give the first book of the trilogy – To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before a solid five, the other two books disappointed me. Even with the introduction of a love triangle, Book 2 failed to deliver. It simply dragged and felt forced.
The third book – Always & Forever, Lara Jean had similar issues. Lara Jean is at a pivotal moment in her life where she has a choice to make. Though this book is the most realistic in the series portraying real teen problems as they reach the end of school, the ending left me unsated. It felt rushed.
Having said that, this is a series you’d love if you like teen romance. It made me all mushy, for sure!
Get hold of that cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows, wrap yourself in a fluffy blanket and immerse yourself in this cute trilogy.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before – 🐶🐶🐶🐶🐶 stars
P.S. I Still Love You – 🐶🐶🐶 stars
Always & Forever, Lara Jean – 🐶🐶🐶 stars
Overall – 🐶🐶🐶🐶 stars
| Get the Boxed Set of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Paperback from Amazon
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before- Book Vs Movie
This is one of those rare scenarios when the movie adaptation lives up to the expectations of a book.
As mentioned before, I watched the movie first, hampering my reading experience a bit. The movie borrows from Book 2 thus acting as a spoiler. I missed that cliffhanger experience I would’ve had if I read the book first.
The casting is spot on and the chemistry between Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky is adorable. The dialogues and interactions are believable keeping the spirit of the book in mind. I also loved the Regina George (Mean Girls) vibe to Peter’s ex, Gen.
Buy the Film Tie-In Edition from Amazon
P.S. I Still Love You – Book Vs Movie
I’m so glad the full cast has returned. It was great to see Lara Jean and Kavinsky again and the movie started with a bang! Watching the couple navigating their real relationship was endearing.
The soundtracks throughout the movie are lovely and the very first shot of Peter Kavinsky made me go Woohoo!
But that was it!
I had high expectations from this movie but it was underwhelming, to say the least.
The movie didn’t have many of the major incidents from the book, especially, Lara Jean and John Ambrose being penpals. The chemistry between Lara Jean and John was sizzling hot in the book that I was having second thoughts on being in #TeamPeter!
However, there wasn’t much happening here in the movie.
Same with Gen! The events in the book are jumbled and merged to maybe, make the movie short and to the point. This, I didn’t like one bit.
The small reunion at the treehouse digging up the time capsule diverges from the book. There is no mention of their little game of Assassins, which was one of the important events in Book 2.
Peter had a subtle negative character in the book because of his “supposed getting-back-with-Gen angle” and that was missing as well (except the infinitesimal mention here and there!).
Alas! The book was far better!
P.S: Mrs.Rothschild has a Golden Retriever, for God’s sake! Argh!
I wish the threequel makes up for this!
Buy the film Tie-In edition from Amazon!
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before- Reading Order
1. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
2. P.S. I Still Love You
3. Always & Forever, Lara Jean
Have you read the series? Watched the movies? I would love to know your thoughts.
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