Friday, 14 September 2018

To All the Boys I've Loved Before: Book Review | Book v Film.


As always, I found myself jumping on the bandwagon with a new hype. After reading tweet after tweet about To All the Boys I Loved Before, so I spend my Sunday afternoon, thankful for Netflix, engrossed in the world of Lara Jean and her letters. Since I have watched it once more, and just the book in just three days.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think it's the perfect YA rom-com storyline. The first time I watched it, I found myself a little underwhelmed. I'd heard so many good things about it, so it was unlikely it was going to live up to expectations. My unpopular opinion being, The Kissing Booth is actually better. Still, I liked it enough to watch it again. I preferred it the second time around and then I bought the book.


General Thoughts:

On beginning the book I found myself somewhat disappointed. I didn't love the style of language, it just felt too simple, and there really seemed to be no different from the film adaption. Having said that, spending an evening babysitting, meant I have time to kill. I got hooked on the book and ended up reading all 421 pages in just three days.  To begin with, something felt immature about Lara Jean's voice, however, as the story went on she grew on me and seemed to grow up.

As I've mentioned the language used through is pretty simple, which at first bothered me because I felt it all could have been made 'prettier', however on reading it I realise the simple language made the story more digestible, and cuts on the crap. I had a very clear picture in my head of what was happening, there was no need for fancy adjectives, however, the story being so clear in my imagination probably had a little something to do with having already seen it on screen. Yet having said that, despite the lack of flowery language the book is very detailed. I think it was a lot longer than I needed to be, it could have done with a healthy edit. We don't need to know that the characters are eating cereal.


Plot:

The narrative doesn't vary much from the Netflix film, if you haven't seen it, here's the most none spoiler (ish) breakdown I can give it: Lara Jean, is a half Asian girl with two sisters she's close to, an older sister Margot, and Younger sister Kitty. It's just them and their dad. Lara Jean writes letters to all the boys she's ever loved, with no intention of sending them, rather her way of moving on. Her letter gets sent to all of the boys. One of those boys is Josh, their neighbour, sisters ex-boyfriends and Lara Jean's close friend. A letter also gets send to Peter, Lara Jeans first kiss, and her ex-friends, recent ex-boyfriend. Lara Jean and Peter end up in a fake relationship, a way to make Gen (Peters Ex) jealous, and convince Josh, Lara Jean's feelings for him are a thing of the past.

Although there are many layers to the story, it's written in a way which is easy to follow.
Personally, I prefer the book ending, to me it felt right and bought things in quite a satisfying circle.

The plot works for the Young Adult genres,  but could never to adapted to be something more adult. It feels very young.


The Characters:

The characters have good chemistry, as Lara Jean and Peter were friends when they were younger, it feels natural that their relationship doesn't feel awkward, it's also interesting to see how their relationship develop throughout. Despite the fact Margot's character isn't actually present in the book much, she has a lot of impacts. She's also one of the only characters I really found myself disliking. Lara Jean's and Josh's relationship is confusing and sometimes unrealistic, is your sister's boyfriend really someone you're likely to crush on? Something about that feels a little icky to me, but it also a key aspect of the story. Each character feels very real and unique, we learn a lot about the characters personal/family lives, which I think gives them an extra dimension.


Themes:

The story explores themes including, love v crush, family dynamic, high school drama, popularity, death, race, sisterhood, friendship and more.


Book v Film:

The main difference between the book and film is that the film has a much more modern social media twist. Instagram is not discussed through the book and doesn't need to be.
The ending varies slightly between the two, however, there are more books in the series, therefore the end is left more open in the book. I personally really enjoyed the book ending, it felt as though things came in a satisfying loop.

The character, as ever have a slightly different feel in the book. I really dislike Margot character in the book, I think she comes across much immature and uptight.
It seems we learn more about Josh's character in the book and his relationship with Lara Jean and his family.
Peter's character is not so likeable throughout a lot of the book (or maybe seeing how beautiful Noah Centineo is, makes Peter more likeable in the film). It took a lot longer for me to come around to him, but there is a certain charm about him nonetheless.
Kitty's character is brilliant in both.
In the book, you learn a lot more about Lara Jeans past, and her Mom, and their Asian culture.
The acting and casting of the film were incredible, each actor reflecting their character pretty true to how they're written in the book.
I loved the book the more I read it. I could not put it down. I wish, I read it before I watched it, but either way, I stayed up until 2am reading to finished it. Any book worth sacrificing sleep for is worth reading. I'm excited to get the next in the series now! Everything about this book is cliché, and typical of a Young Adult romance, but that's kind of what I love about it.



Have you read or watched To All the Boys I Loved Before? What do you think, is it worth the hype?
I'd love if you could comment with any book recommendations you have, I'm always looking for something new to read!

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