We’ve all been there (at least, I’m assuming). A book gets made into a movie adaption and you go back to your always consistent belief that the movie is hardly ever better than the book and you think, “But I’ll still go watch it. Just in case”. And then you realize… they made the damn movie better than the book.
This doesn’t happen to me often. Sometimes, if the movie stays extremely true to the book, I may find it to be equally as good as the novel, but it’s pretty rare that I find the film to be more enjoyable.
HOWEVER. This frustrating, long year of 2018 has blessed (
cursed) me with not one, but two realizations that the movie was better than the book.
Because both of these books have some wonderful representation for the LGBTQ+ population, I decided to hold onto these until Pride Month. And now my friends, we are here!!!
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
“I know this is going to sound strange, but would you mind being my girlfriend for the next five minutes?”
Nick frequents New York’s indie rock scene nursing a broken heart. Norah is questioning all of her assumptions about the world. They have nothing in common except for their taste in music, until a chance encounter leads to an all-night quest to find a legendary band’s secret show and ends up becoming a first date that could change both their lives.
Co-written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, co-author of WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON with John Green (THE FAULT IN OUR STARS), NICK & NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST is a sexy, funny roller coaster of a story that reminds you how you can never be sure where the night will take you…
Rating: 2.75 stars
This is one of those really upsetting moments for a book lover. You know the one… where you think that the movie adaption of a book is better than said book…
I absolutely loved the movie version of this. Gimme a movie about music and live bands and New York City and I’m pretty much hooked. But whereas the movie won me over, the book kind of did the opposite.
For one, reading Nick’s POV was like trying to read really, really overrated poetry (the kind that gets posted all over social media and gets 4.9 stars because it’s just so relatable in the most beautiful way). It was a freaking nightmare 80% of the time. He says things that you really just have to read three or four times to even possibly grasp what the hell kind of point he is trying to get across. It’s rough.
Norah is completely unlikable for me in the book version. There is just something about her wishy-washyness that completely turns me away from her. She makes absolutely no sense in her actions.
Let’s also talk about Caroline and Tris. If no one else is going to say it, then fine, I will. Caroline is a capital Shitty friend. She is codependent on Norah taking care of her in literally every way possible and has absolutely no understanding of what it means to even be a decent friend. I know that the vast majority of eighteen year olds like to go out and get drunk occasionally, but Caroline’s social life hangs on knowing that Norah and her family will pick up all the pieces whenever Caroline messes up. I didn’t even like Norah in the book and I still think she deserved way better. Then, we’ve got Tris who is made out to be the she-devil in the movie, but is actually not nearly as bad in the book. I mean, yeah she’s mean and could definitely be a better person. But she isn’t heartless or canniving like she get’s played off in the movie. I think that the movie adaption could’ve done just fine without pitting the girls against each other for Nick’s affection (I know the movie is from 2008 but it’s now 2018 people; we don’t stan girl hate).
But I could’ve put aside all the annoyance with the characters. And I did. But the insta-love and the back and forth drama of, “do I want Nick or is he too nice? Or gay? Or not into me even though he’s kissed me several times and followed me around Manhattan while I can’t make up my mind?” was too much for me. It was just cringy to read.
One thing I did like about this book, in addition to the music, was the way that sexuality was represented. It was never a thing in this. There were so many gay characters in this novel and no one batted an eye and I know that it’s New York City and it can be a lot more accepting in the city of dreams but.. I just loved it. No one was made to feel uncomfortable. Nick is heterosexual and he never flinches whenever his gay band mate holds his hand for a (lovely) speech about the Beatles. And when he has a full conversation with a drag queen he never does the whole macho boy thing where they are convinced that they are being hit on even though it’s seriously just a conversation and not every gay man is going to be attracted to you and not every drag queen is gay¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .
So yeah anyways, the book is capital O and K but the movie is better. The music is nice and the representation is even nicer but it wasn’t for me.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
Rating: 3.25 stars
So, I like Becky Albertalli. I enjoy her work.
But I was feeling a little indifferent with this one.
This is a nice, good, fluffy book with lots of diverse representation when it comes to race and sexuality and even body types. So for this reason alone, I find it to be worth reading.
But I think that a story needs to have more going for it than just its diversity.
Let me go ahead and say it… I prefer the movie to the book.
The character’s in this are honestly upsetting. I know that the whole premise of this book is Simon’s sexuality being used against him while another student/”friend” blackmails him, but it just felt so seriously wrong. The girl hate and pitting against each other seemed really unnecessary to me. In the movie, Leah is not nearly as bad as she comes off in the book. Abby seemed like a genuinely good character, both in the book and the movie, and it just seems like a ploy to add even more drama to the mix to have Leah dislike her so much. Basically, Leah is just really…. off putting.
I really liked that the movie version of this showed different scenarios for each person that Simon hoped would be Blue. After reading the book and seeing the movie, I wish that this could’ve somehow been incorporated into the novel as well. For me, personally, the book was less driven by the romance between Simon and Blue and more by the blackmailing. I’m positive that not everyone feels this way, which is 100% fine because we all read a book differently, but I would’ve definitely been happier if I got to feel more drawn into Simon and Blue’s online relationship.
I also found that the fluffiness of the book felt undermining for what exactly was going on here. I mean, someone is literally blackmailing Simon because he’s gay. They are threatening to share his personal messages with Blue to the entire world if Simon doesn’t hook them up with Abby (who should definitely have a say in who she likes, Martin). Martin actually POSTS these messages online for everyone in their school to see. Being outed is a really BIG freaking deal. And it just didn’t seem like this really showed that the way it should’ve. Of course we see Simon get angry and upset, but it just seems like it gets swept under the rug. I felt like the movie did a better job of showing just how drastic this can really be for some people to be unwillingly outed.
All in all, it’s decent, and it’s super diverse and representative which makes me still want others to read it, but it could withstand some changes.