The changes made when adapting Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before book into a Netflix movie will impact the sequel – here’s how. Netflix recently found massive success with the debut of its latest teen rom-com, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Directed by Susan Johnson from a script by Sofia Alvarez, the movie is actually adapted from the same-named 2014 novel by Jenny Han. As such, the film made some changes to the story and characters of the book, some bigger than others. And those changes will undoubtedly carry over to a potential To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before sequel.
In the case of the film, it follows high school junior Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor), a hopeless romantic who’s more likely to daydream about falling in love than actually have a boyfriend. However, all that changes when the five love letters she’s written throughout her young life get sent to the boys on which she’s had crushes. To make matters more complicated, both boy-next-door Josh (Israel Broussard) and popular boy Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) receive letters; the former also happens to be her older sister’s ex-boyfriend while the latter just broke up with Lara Jean’s ex-best friend. To avoid Josh, Lara Jean agrees to enter into a fake relationship with Peter, but she starts to develop very real feelings.
For the most part, the first two-thirds of the movie sticks to the story of the book pretty closely. Certainly, there are elements of the book that are cut out, including specific scenes or characters that stuck with fans of the book. However, the biggest changes made to the storyline arrive in the last third of the movie. As such, this post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before book and movie – as well as Han’s second novel, P.S. I Still Love You – as we discuss the changes made to the story and how they impact the potential sequel to Netflix’s rom-com.
- This Page: Lara Jean & Peter’s First Kiss
- Next Page: The Movie’s Ending & What’s Missing
Lara Jean & Peter’s First Kiss Was Different In The Book
In the movie, Lara Jean and Peter have their first kiss in seventh grade during a game of spin the bottle at what Lara Jean describes as her first boy-girl party. She also makes it clear that she was aware at the time that her best friend Gen (Emilija Baranac) liked Peter and it would be a betrayal for her to kiss Peter. But as young Peter points out, those are the rules of the game, and Lara Jean is forced to follow them and kiss Peter. This later provides the motivation for much of Gen’s vendetta against Lara Jean, after Gen and Peter have broken up and Peter starts dating Lara Jean.
However in the book, the circumstances of Lara Jean and Peter’s kiss are slightly different. Most importantly, their kiss isn’t during a game of spin the bottle, it’s at the end of a party when Lara Jean and Peter are the last ones waiting to be picked up. Though Peter is the one to initiate it in both cases, the contexts are different and it’s more of a betrayal to Gen for Lara Jean to kiss Peter simply because she wants to than because she’s participating in a game. The book’s version of events give Gen more motivation to feel jealous of and seek revenge on Lara Jean (more on that revenge later).
In the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before book, Peter’s motivations for entering into a fake relationship with Gen were slightly different as well. He didn’t necessarily want to make his ex-girlfriend jealous (a motivation that caused Lara Jean to believe he wanted to get back together with Gen despite the fact that Peter doesn’t say that’s his goal). Instead, he wanted to make Gen and the whole school see that it’s over between them. Of course, since both the book and movie mostly follow the story from Lara Jean’s perspective, she doesn’t truly know what’s going on in Peter’s head. But between his eagerness for their first kiss, no matter the context, and his motivation for starting the fake relationship with Lara Jean, it’s fairly clear he’s been interested in her for quite a while. And although Peter and Lara Jean are solid by the end of the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before movie, a sequel will undoubtedly put their now-real relationship to the test.
Next Page: The Movie’s Ending & What’s Missing
The To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Movie’s Ending Borrows From the Second Book
Jenny Han’s first novel, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, ends with Lara Jean breaking up with Peter following the ski trip and a rumor being spread that the two had sex in the hot tub. Much like the movie, Peter doesn’t immediately deny the rumor and Lara Jean feels betrayed, which is further exacerbated when Gen pours salt in the wound by insisting she and Peter will always have a connection. Instead of getting back together with Peter, though, the book concludes with Lara Jean settling things with her sisters (Margot forgiving Lara Jean’s interest in Josh and Kitty admitting to sending the letters). Lara Jean does read Peter’s notes that he sent her and resolves to write him another love letter, but that’s it.
In the movie, plenty more happens following the infamous ski trip. Notably, the video of Lara Jean and Peter leaks, which doesn’t happen in the books until Han’s follow-up novel, P.S. I Still Love You. It’s also much clearer in the books that Gen is behind the video and the rumor about Lara Jean and Peter. In the movie, Lara Jean doesn’t have much proof, but both she and Peter are sure it’s Gen. Lara Jean then goes to confront Gen and the latter’s motivation and jealousy is revealed to stem from the spin-the-bottle kiss. Though their antagonism isn’t resolved, the storyline of the sex tape is, allowing for a potential second movie to move on from Lara Jean and Peter’s ski trip escapades. Still, since Lara Jean and Gen’s relationship is still incredibly antagonistic, there’s room to further explore their dynamic, and its effects on Lara Jean’s relationship with Peter, in a sequel.
Of course, the To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before movie also concludes with Peter and Lara Jean on much more stable ground in their relationship. At the end of the first book, they were still broken up. But at the end of the film, they’re not only back together, Peter admits he loves Lara Jean. It’s a sweet ending and offers fans enough resolution that they wouldn’t be disappointed if the movie doesn’t get a sequel. However, the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before mid-credits scene does tease a sequel. In the brief scene, John Ambrose McClaren (Jordan Burtchett) shows up on the Covey’s doorstep with a bouquet of flowers and the letter Lara Jean wrote to him. Remember, he’s the one she attended Model U.N. with when she was younger.
In the books, John Ambrose doesn’t show up until P.S. I Still Love You and he plays a major role in Lara Jean’s continuing story. Much of Han’s second novel sees Lara Jean reconnect with John and develop feelings for him, all while her relationship with Peter struggles. (Peter supports Gen through a tough time in her life, which sees them get close again, causing Lara Jean to feel insecure in her relationship.) However, since John shows up at the end of the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before movie, the film borrows a bit from the second book seemingly in an effort to set up a sequel – one that would adapt this particular storyline.
What’s Missing From To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before That May (Or May Not) Be Added In A Sequel
The movie adaptation of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before omits a number of story beats and characters that appeared in the original novel – some of which become more important in the second and third novels in Han’s trilogy. One such plot point is the kiss between Lara Jean and Josh, which is when Lara Jean determines she’s no longer in love with Josh like she originally thought. In the book, it’s what prompts the fight between Lara Jean and Margot, but in the movie, it’s more about the elder Covey sister misunderstanding Lara Jean’s feelings. Still though Lara Jean and Josh return to being friends at the end of the movie, this story beat could be adapted for a second movie with a different letter recipient.
In P.S. I Still Love You, Lara Jean gets close to John, partly because he comes back into her life, but also because it turns out he’s the grandson of Stormy. In all three books, Stormy is a woman at the nursing home where Lara Jean volunteers to whom she becomes incredibly close. In Han’s second book, Lara Jean spends a great deal of time with John because of their relationships to Stormy. Though Lara Jean and John never kiss in the books, if the movie receives a sequel, the kiss between Lara Jean and Josh could be adapted for her and John’s storyline instead. A big part of P.S. I Still Love You is Lara Jean wondering what it would be like if she’d dated John instead of Peter and one way to portray that on screen would be a kiss. No matter what, because of John’s inclusion in the mid-credits scene of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, it’s clear he’ll play a major role in the potential sequel.
For now, it remains to be seen how a second movie would adapt P.S. I Still Love You. Of course, Netflix still hasn’t revealed whether To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before will get a sequel, but it’s clear the follow-up would need to make some changes to the book’s storyline based on the differences in the first movie. How exactly the filmmakers plan to do that remains to be seen, though Johnson did tell ET that the second movie would borrow from Han’s third novel Always and Forever, Lara Jean, and it would offer more resolution to Josh’s storyline. So fans can expect the filmmakers to stay true to the spirit of Han’s novels, even if the movies stray a little bit in a sequel to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.