Find out what changed in the TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE movie!
As movie adaptations go, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is pretty darn faithful to Jenny Han‘s 2015 novel of the same name. there aren’t many major changes and most seem to be aimed toward condensing the story and keeping the focus on the romance.
Still, there are a few things we missed and a few changes we liked. There are even a couple that could affect the sequel, should Netflix decide to ever make one (Please, Netflix?) So let’s dive in an explore the book-to-movie changes!
Margot was more involved and served as a surrogate mom
While the movie does show the closeness of the Song Covey girls, it doesn’t show how lost the family is when Margot does for the family. Since their mom’s death, Margot has basically played the family’s mother role while Dr. Covey is constantly on call and when she goes off to college, the others are a little lost without her. In particular, Lara Jean struggles to take on all the responsibilities Margot once handled.
Josh wasn’t such a jerk
Josh Sanderson only gets a handful of scenes in the movie, and for half of those, he comes off as jealous and angry. In the books, Lara Jean and Josh maintain an awkward but mostly cool relationship once Lara Jean explains away the letter with her fake-lationship with Peter. Josh is still conflicted, brooding, and skeptical of Peter’s real intentions, but he’s never quite so aggressive about it. Oh, and he’s totally still in love with Margot, not getting over her with time like in the movie.
How the letters got out remains a mystery for most of the books
The movie features Kitty very obviously sneaking into Lara Jean’s room to do something a wee bit mischievous, but in the novel, we have no idea how the letters got out. Until Kitty cops to it toward the end of the novel, readers think they accidentally went out in the donation bin and someone from the thrift store sent them out.
Kitty was younger and wasn’t acting out of the goodness of her heart
Kitty is only 9-years-old in the novel and not taken as seriously. When Lara Jean jokes about Kitty’s crush on Josh in front of him (yup, he’s so charming in the books that <em>all</em> the sisters crush on him), Kitty sends out the letters for some cold-hearted revenge. She’s not trying to help Lara Jean’s social life, she’s trying to embarrass Lara Jean the same way she was embarrassed.
Peter wasn’t trying to win Genevieve back
Movie Peter wants to make longtime girlfriend turned ex Gen “crazy jealous,” but in the book, Peter is genuinely ready to be done with Gen. He hopes that by dating someone else, Gen will realize that that they’re truly over. In both cases, the plan backfires spectacularly.
Peter drives Lara Jean and Kitty in his mom’s minivan
Peter has a pretty swag car in the books– but it’s a two-seater. So he starts trading with his mom and taking her minivan so he can drive Lara Jean AND Kitty to school. There’s nothing wrong with his massive silver Jeep in the movie, but we missed that endearing moment.
Lara Jean shares her heart through letters, but also through baking
While we see Lara Jean starting cupcakes and the sisters making chocolate chip cookies, the movie doesn’t touch upon how much Lara Jean loves to bake and how she uses desserts, particularly cookies, to share her love with others. It’s ah-dorable!
Lara Jean and Peter’s mom already know each other thanks to his mom’s awesome vintage store
While they’re not besties, Lara Jean and Mrs. Kavinsky have bumped into each other at the vintage store that the latter owns. They have a shared interest, after all. The store even leads to a super cute estate sale date between Lara Jean and Peter but alas, that’s just one of many dates that was cut for time.
There was no hot tub video, only an ugly rumor (until P.S. I Still Love You)
Word of mouth itself is enough to (temporarily) tear Lara Jean and Peter apart in the first book. When the rumor of the two having sex in the hot tub spreads, Peter doesn’t deny it, and Lara Jean is having none of that. The hot tub video featured in the movie doesn’t rear its ugly head until the sequel, P.S. I Still Love You and causes some big trouble between the two then, especially when Lara Jean finds out that Peter knew Gen was behind it for certain and did nothing. If the movie ever gets a sequel, the screenplay will have to cook up some new troubles for them!
Lara Jean’s final letter to Peter was completely open-ended
The final words of the novel are “Dear Peter…” That means we never actually saw whatever Lara Jean said to Peter, nor do we see the two characters getting together in this end. This was definitely a necessary change, as it just wouldn’t work as effectively in movie form!
John Ambrose doesn’t show up on the doorstep
Lara Jean does bump into John Ambrose McClaren in the first novel, but rather than him seeking her out, she seeks him out mid-novel, showing up at a Model UN competition. The two lock eyes and he seems to recognize her, but Lara Jean gets nervous and walks out just after. That doesn’t mean we don’t love the movie’s setup for a potential sequel, of course!
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is available on Netflix now.