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John Ambrose McClaren Deserves Better

 

I’m an avid fan of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy. I read the books when they came out, and middle school to high school me seriously wanted to be Lara Jean. I was so excited when the first movie was announced — a great YA novel was getting turned into a chick flick and representation for Asian American authors and actors were increasing. The first movie was adorable, and I was actually pretty impressed by how it was adapted (despite them changing the setting from Charlottesville, VA to Oregon). However, I recently watched the second movie and would rate it a 6/10; it was disappointing to say the least. The movie omitted so many iconic scenes and was way too biased towards Peter Kavinsky. John Ambrose McClaren deserves way better in the movie. 

 

The “minor” details they changed from the book to movie actually had a huge impact on the storyline. Lara Jean and John Ambrose exchange letters for an extended period of time while Peter frequently talks to Genevieve in the book, which leads to Lara Jean’s much needed break from her relationship. However, this is not stressed in the movie; the conflict is resolved after a few days of Lara Jean moping around, and then they are onto the next scene. Another major detail they changed was how Lara Jean and John Ambrose met at Bellevue due to volunteering. In the book, John Ambrose is actually Stormy’s grandson, which is an important plot twist. Another horrible change was the Halloween scene. Although their costumes were cute, Lara Jean actually knew she loved John Ambrose when they got caught in the rain after gym class in 8th grade. The book describes this scene in perfect fashion, and the movie altered it completely.  

 

Next, John Ambrose had more romantic moments with Lara Jean in the book than in the movie. They actually kiss in the book after Lara Jean gets awkwardly confronted by Peter and Gen outside of Bellevue. Then, Lara Jean hops into John Ambrose’s red mustang and they speed off. Instead of that iconic scene, Netflix left us with poor John serving punch alone. 

 

Lastly, in the book, Lara Jean beautifully tells John Ambrose that she “could fall in love with [him] so easily” and “of all the boys, [he’s] the one [she] would pick”; however, she chooses Peter because he entered her love life first. She actually gave him the closure he deserved! I am totally team John because of the book, but sadly the movie made his amazing character flat and mediocre. 

Shirley is a fourth year at the University of Virginia. She loves coffee, books, and plants. She also hopes that you'll enjoy her articles!
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