Spoiler alert! We’re discussing plot points from “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” the popular book and film series. Stop reading now if you don’t want to know.
Don’t worry, Lara Jean Covey enthusiasts: The sequel to the first “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” movie has the same romantic, fun-spirited energy as the books.
“To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” (streaming Wednesday on Netflix) picks up soon after 2018’s first installment concludes: Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) are finally a real couple.
But rough waters are ahead for the lovebirds. Remember those five letters Lara Jean wrote to her former crushes? Another boy she loved before rears his head: John Ambrose McClaren (Jordan Fisher, replacing Jordan Burtchett, seen briefly in the first movie’s end credits) replies belatedly to her letter. And suddenly, the love she feels for Peter doesn’t feel quite so simple.
For the most part, the plot remains the same. Some scenes and characters, like Janel Parrish’s Margot and Israel Broussard’s Josh, are consolidated or eliminated to keep things moving through the 1 hour and 42 minutes run time.
And other scenes are shifted to different locations for little reason other than gorgeous aesthetics. (See: Lara Jean and Peter’s dreamy wish-making lantern date and a dramatic scene later on in the blue glow of an aquarium tank.)
These are the five biggest differences between the second book in the “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” trilogy and the movie:
1. Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship timeline shifts
The movie opens on Lara Jean and Peter’s first real date – not as fake boyfriend and girlfriend, but as a legit couple. In the book, things are rocky in the beginning for Lara Jean and Peter: The first “To All the Boys” movie stole some drama from the second book (involving that infamous hot tub video and Peter’s ex Genevieve, played by Emilija Baranac) to wrap things up more neatly at the end. As a result, the timeline shifts a little here, and the movie opens several chapters into the book.
2. Stormy isn’t John Ambrose’s grandmother
As a volunteer at a senior living home, Lara Jean befriends Stormy (Holland Taylor), one of the home’s livelier and more outspoken residents. Book Stormy makes subtle references to her high school-age grandson before readers find out she’s related to the one and only John Ambrose. That connection gives the two yet another reason to run into each other.
But movie Stormy has no relation to the newcomer. Instead, Lara Jean and John meet-cute again in the lobby of the senior living home as the two new high school volunteers. And while they write back and forth before seeing each other in the book, the new encounter happens before Lara Jean even gets a chance to respond to the letter.
3. Lara Jean and her friends live on the opposite coast
Virginia is an important setting in the “To All the Boys” trilogy: In the third book, high school seniors Lara Jean and Peter visit the University of Virginia and dream of going there together someday.
Here, the setting (and part of the real-life filming location) is Oregon, showcased by a couple of license plates and Peter’s childhood time capsule hat, which was swapped from Baltimore Orioles merchandise to Seattle Seahawks. (The first movie also briefly acknowledges the setting, too, with an establishing shot of Portland’s Aerial Tram and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment when Josh buys himself a plane ticket from Portland to Scotland to visit Margot at college.)
It’ll be interesting to see how the third movie, which Netflix confirmed last summer had already begun filming, will handle that cross-country switch. Unlike the first two, which technically could take place anywhere, much of the third and final installment focuses on the idea that the two lovebirds might have to split up (but still be close to each other, thanks to Virginia’s wide array of state schools) when high school ends.
4. Nobody plays Assassin
Several things are cut or restructured, most notably a game of Assassin between the old treehouse gang. In the book, a game that involves players trying to take each other out one-by-one gives Lara Jean reason to be more suspicious of Gen than usual – and later to come across her and Peter hugging and sharing an emotional moment.
With no Assassin to give characters a reason to run into each other outside of school or Peter’s lacrosse games, Lara Jean learns of Peter and Gen’s moment from a photo snapped and shown to her by Chris (Madeleine Arthur), her best friend and Gen’s cousin.
5. Lara Jean and John Ambrose throw a Star Ball
Book Lara Jean decides she wants to throw a USO-themed party at the senior living home as a way to let the seniors reminisce about old times. But movie Lara Jean (accompanied by John) decides instead to throw a Star Ball, which makes for much prettier visuals.
Their times together at the home are more consolidated as well – specifically when the two get snowed in overnight and share a romantic moment post-Peter breakup. That scene is eliminated in favor of the two sneaking out of the Star Ball to make snow angels.
Because there’s no Assassin game, Peter doesn’t show up with Gen to tag Lara Jean. In the book, that surprise allowed her to run off and finally kiss John. Instead, she and John kiss while playing in the snow before Lara Jean realizes Peter is the one she wants.
Cue: Peter showing up moments later because it’s snowing and he knows she hates driving in inclement weather. They’ve been through their fair share of drama, but the couple again patches things up by the end for another perfect rom-com ending.