To All The boys I’ve Loved Before | Film – book review

Hello book friends! Today I’m going to be talking about a book and film that no one has heard of… not at all … I haven’t seen one single post about this series …

Lol, as it turns out, I have literally heard about nothing else for the past few months. Everyone across the bookstagram community has been chatting about this book, and the film has been really successful on Netflix, too. It has definitely expanded out of the book community and into the real world as I had a lovely chat with my younger cousin about it, too!

I’m usually one for reading the book before watching the film, but in this case, it was the other way around. Everyone was talking about the film and I just couldn’t wait so … here we are! It’ll be interesting to compare it the other way around for a change. After all, they’re both great, and I low key hate the snobbery around ‘the book is ALWAYS better than the film’, because it makes out that films aren’t as valid pieces of content and aren’t worth the same credit as books. But I digress.

The story …

In case you haven’t already heard of this series, the story revolves around Lara Jean, who writes secret love letters to her crushes. However, her letters somehow get mailed out to those very people, and her high school life is flipped upside down. Whilst being a rom-com, it also focuses on themes of sisterhood, friendship and grief.

In both the book and the film, I really enjoyed the relationship between the three sisters. As one of three girls, I could see a lot of similarities. Also, the story is set a significant amount of time after their mum has passed away. I know this is a stereotypical trope in YA, but as someone whose dad passed away when they were younger, it means a lot to read about and see situations like this in fiction. It’s always interesting to see how family dynamics change after such a tragic event, and I think the way it was portrayed was insightful and well done.

The film …

I went into the film knowing only that it was a rom-com, and then, like everybody else, I loved it!

The film version of Lara Jean is displayed on a laptop, with the book on top of the keyboard in the foreground

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a groundbreaking film. It’s not going to make you think and consider the meaning of life, but that’s why I like it. It’s a classic rom-com, with some great actors, great Asian representation, and a fun story of teenage love, sisterhood and friendship.

I loved the way the Song sisters were represented on screen. The actors that play them weren’t Korean, and so I can understand why some may be upset about that lack of authentic representation. However, they had such good chemistry, and they felt like they went together really well.

I preferred the ending in the film as it always feels like you need a sense of completion with visually seeing/reading about the characters making up, as opposed to simply knowing it’s going to happen. That’s not reallllllyy a spoiler as it’s a rom-com, so what else do we expect?

The book …

The book is held open by my hand, with the title page displayed.

And then comes the book! I already knew the story, but I was excited to discover any scenes that didn’t make it to the film. I was also intrigued to see how the tone of the book was different, or if it felt the same.

I really enjoyed the extra content/original content (?!) When I reached a scene that wasn’t in the film, for example, the scene where they go antiquing, it felt so fun, and allowed me to connect more with the characters. Interestingly, I think I connected with some characters more in the film, and others more in the book. In the film, Josh felt somewhat forgotten, whereas in the book, because you’re getting more of Lara’s inner dialogue, you know she is fretting about the situation she is in, and Josh appears a lot more. I appreciated that because Josh was a babe.

However, I didn’t like the fact that Lara Jean reads as more childish than she actually is. Her referring to her parents as ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’ was a bit distracting at first and felt a bit random, but not enough for me to not like the book.

To sum up …

Whether you read the book first, or sail straight into the film as I did, it is definitely a fun story that is worth it, in whatever form you decide is best for you! I for one can’t wait to get my hands on the second book (and wait for the next film!)

Are you one to read the book before watching the film? Or do you sometimes do it the other way around? Let me know!

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