YA Books and Their Adaptations

So this should have gone up in August, but with the stress of packing and moving, it’s only getting up now.

Apparently, 2018 is the year of the YA adaptations, and for the most part they have been pretty incredible. Love, Simon set the precedent, after years of mediocre adaptations that established a stereotype when it comes to this “genre” of movie.

This past month, I watched two different book movies—well, three if you count Crazy Rich Asians, but I’m only focusing on YA books. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Miseducation of Cameron Post, two books I read and two very different approaches when it comes to adaptations.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the first in a series by Jenny Han. It tells the story of hopeless romantic Lara Jean Covey writes love letters to the boys she has crushes on as a form of closure. She never sends the letters, but keeps them in a vintage hat box in her closet. Her whole world turns upside down when somehow, her letters are sent.

I couldn’t wait to watch the movie, but I wanted it to be the perfect setting, not having it on in the background while I was cleaning or packing. It deserved my full attention. By the time I finally had the time to watch it had been out for a few days and all I read was positive reviews. Girl, they were right.

One of the best parts of the book series is the familial relationships between the Covey sisters as well as their father. I was a little worried that we would lose that connection but it was told on screen in a beautiful way. Youngest sister Kitty could be kind of annoying on page, but they used her very well and very efficiently.  The aesthetic in Lara Jean room and throughout the entire movie was so on point! I wanted to be a part of that world. Another thing that I wasn’t expecting was the role Lucas, a former crush, played in the movie. He was a lovely confidant for Lara Jean and another friend she had besides the kind of flighty Christine.

Let’s get to the most important, Peter Fucking Kavinsky—*SWOON*! Noah Centineo was perfect. PERFECT. Peter is very charming and funny, but he also has a sensitive side to him that he really only lets Lara Jean see. When he feels something, he’s going to stay it—very transparent in his emotions. And Noah really knew how to tap into the complexities of that character.

The only thing that really bothered me was the guy who played one of Peter’s friends. He wasn’t that noticeable if you are the average person, but because I’m fully absorbed in all things Internet, I immediately recognized him: William Bachelor, otherwise known as King Bach. He was a major Vine star that has moved to the big screen, which is great, but this boy, excuse me, this MAN is too old! I get being in your early 20’s playing a high school student but he’s 30. Much too old to be playing a 17-year-old. Despite that glaring mistake, I think this cute, romantic comedy stayed true to the book in the best ways.

Now, on the contrary, The Miseducation of Cameron Post took a small section of the original source material and made an ok movie. Cameron Post (the movie) follows our main character as she enters a homosexual conversion camp. She meets two other misfits and as the weeks pass, the three teens make a plot to escape treatment. Anyone who hasn’t read the book might like the journey Cam experiences, the fans of the book will probably be a little disappointed.

The book is hefty for YA—coming in at 470 pages—as it follows Cameron Post from age 12, just as she learns her parents have died and she kisses a girl for the first time. Through the years, Cam thinks that God punished her by killing her parents because she was with a girl, Irene. Her relationship with Irene is something she always looks back on, even when Irene moves away and more girls come into Cam’s life. To have this whole storyline—the major motive to Cameron’s actions later on in the book—taken out of the movie, diminishes everything Cam has gone through to get to the place she is when we see her enter the treatment center.

I did enjoy the movie, but I had to separate it from the book. I had to look at them as two separate pieces of work. So even though I think the core of the book was left out of the movie—and Cam’s lovely Grandma—I can appreciate the story that was told on the screen.

And in just a few weeks, we’ll have a new YA adaptation in theaters with The Hate U Give. I get literal goosebumps EVERY single time I see the trailer. I CAN’T WAIT!

P.S. Since writing most of this post, I’ve already watched To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before a second time and push myself not to watch it every day since.

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