You all know that my love for books constantly has to compete with my love for TV shows, because in the end there are only so many hours in one day. That is why I love it all the more when I can combine those two passions and do a little comparison of a book and its (big or small) screen adaptation. I’ve previously done this for Still Star-Crossed and since I am still getting clicks for that, I am just going to assume you won’t mind more posts of the like! Today’s book vs. show post will feature Famous in Love!
The story of Famous in Love follows Portland-raised Paige Townsen on her way to Hollywood fame. She soon finds out that being cast for the main role in a YA trilogy adaptation isn’t just glamorous when she struggles to unite her old and new life, succumbs to the pressure of being a new face in a harsh industry and ultimately finds herself amidst an intense love triangle.
I am going to start with the show, because I actually watched it prior to reading the book. I usually try to read stuff before the show/movie comes out, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen and from there on it can go both ways. Anyway, Famous in Love is in its second season on Freeform. Not going to lie, Freeform and I have a strenuous relationship, because they often do very superficial adaptations and tacky content, while easily cancelling the things I actually do like (except for The Bold Type, they are doing great on that one!). I suppose that was part of the reason why I wanted to watch the show without having much knowledge about the book, since I knew they were going to change a lot. Not having any sort of allegiance the content beforehand can be really helpful in those kind of situations.
Freeform shows follow a very simple formula. Have a glossy appearance, get a mix of known and unknown actors and actresses in their early twenties and then just add drama, drama, drama at a varying degree of realism. For some formats that doesn’t work at all and for other things I quite enjoy their take. Famous in Love is definitely one of my guilty pleasures, but mostly because it takes place in the film industry and that is my soft spot.
As someone who has worked in that industry, I always like those supposed behind the scenes kind of shows. Mix it with a typical Cinderella and fish-out-of-water component and you basically have me hooked without question. I may not be the biggest Bella Thorne fan to begin with, but it’s easy to root for her character, Paige, the entire time. Who hasn’t secretly (or not so secretly) dreamed of becoming famous over night and having celebrities swoon over you?
I am a simple girl, I always favour episodes with character development and exploration of relationships over the superficial drama that comes with jealousy, affairs, fake press stories and out-of-the-blue-murder, but I guess it was to be expected with this kind of show. And even if it’s silly sometimes, in the end you just want to know what happened? So, while I do enjoy watching it as a whole, I still think that Famous in Love has a couple weaknesses. For one, the cast is quite big and keeps getting bigger, which often makes it hard to focus on anyone in particular for an extended amount of time without neglecting someone else. Also, I feel like some of the characters changed their personality quite a bit from Season 1 to Season 2 and I don’t get why exactly. None of that has stopped me from tuning in every week so far though.
One of my favourite parts about Famous in Love is the teen novel they are adapting called Locked. I want that book to be a real YA franchise so that I can dig in and read the story myself. OR I want that fake movie they are filming to be a real movie, so that I can watch the entire Locked film one day. *sigh* Those are the dreams of a TV obsessed bookworm …
Now that the second season started up on Freeform, I thought it was finally time to check out the source material. Granted, I went into this with quite a few preconceived ideas of what the story would be according to the show, but I still wasn’t prepared for the amount of actual changes.
The general idea is still the same. Paige is a nobody, but gets the role in this huge franchise. But that’s about it. Whereas the show takes place in LA, the book is almost entirely set in Hawaii. Whereas Paige is in her early twenties on TV, she is only 17 and still living with her parents when the book starts. Whereas Paige’s friends are right there with her not just in life but also in the film industry in the adaptation, they have a huge fight and grow apart while also being in different locations entirely. Whereas the love triangle on the show is between Paige, her co-star Rainer and her roommate Jake, the book’s main romance catastrophe was between Paige, Rainer and ALSO her second co-star Jordan.
Look, I am all for love triangles IF they are done well. I like the idea that one’s heart is torn between two amazing love interests, but that just wasn’t the case here. While I may have understood the slow burn approach of the Paige and Rainer relationship, which was actually really cute and developed slowly, the Jordan part was completely beyond me. Paige was downright ready to sabotage him getting a job on set, just to fall head over heels into him without saying much more than “hi” to each other for weeks.
In addition to that, the version of Locked they were filming in this scenario also sounds less appealing somehow and I don’t even know why that would be different as well? Anyway, I think that I would usually allow for the possibility of me not enjoying the book as much because of having seen the show first, but I cannot imagine myself liking this book in any other situation either.
Fazit: 2.5/5 stars! (click on the cover to be redirected to Goodreads!)
So, in the end, I would say that the TV show is vastly superior to the book and I stand by that statement. Making the characters older and a tad more mature with that, as well as setting the scene right in the high life that is Los Angeles, was a smart move in my opinion. They also created a better love triangle (whether you like them or not) than they did in the book and I will happily continue watching the series even if I won’t read any more of the books.
Do you watch Famous in Love? Have you read it? What is your take on the subject? Let’s talk!
P.S.: Shout out to the unsung heroes of any kind of production – the PAs (Production Assistants)! Or in this particular case, Adam, a reoccurring character on the show who deserves more screen time.
12 thoughts on “Famous In Love: Book vs. TV Show”
(You mentioning The Bold Type here makes me miss that show so badly)
I’m SO glad you did this post, I love these kind of posts so much and you did such a great job here. I have read the book before watching the show, even before they announced that it would become a tv show, actually, so… I can’t remember much about it, but as I read your review, I kind of thought back and remembered about that Hawaii setting and the annoying characters, haha. Some love triangles are well-done, but yeah, the one in the book didn’t really leave me good memories, or any kind of memories for that matter, so it probably wasn’t that great, haha.
I do love the show and the drama in it – and agree that the love triangle, even if I’m not a fan of these, is quite well done. I’m also really curious about Locked haha, I’d definitely want to see that as a movie or a book or something, a special episode?! I’m curious haha.
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(Just wait for Sunday, I have the promo for the new season of the Bold Type ready 😉 )
I wanted to do this post so bad, but it was SO hard. Talking about differences without giving away too much or god forbid spoiling something, is freaking hard hahaha
I need to start a petition for a Locked feature or something. I mean, if they could do a Backsplash reunion with clips from that, they should be able to do this as well haha
[…] Kat […]
I miss The Bold Type as well 😭😭😭 I want it back!!
You know I’m not watching Famous in Love, mostly because I was hesitant about watching a tv show where Bella Thorne is the lead (she seems slightly … meh), but you’re making me kind of interested because I love a good drama from time to time??? It sounds like a summer tv show for me, so I might try it then. Sorry you didn’t enjoy the book as well, it’s a bummer 😢
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It’s going to be back on TV in early June, so not too long of a wait 😉
And Famous in Love is a lot of fun. I tend to skip storylines I am really bored with, but I quite like the show as a whole. I am not a Bella Thorne fan at all! You have to believe me, but I am not too mad at her being in this role.
Not going to lie, the book was a real letdown.
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It does sound like a fun guilty pleasure type show! It’s a pity the cast keeps expanding (I’ve seen this in other shows before tbh and then it ends up feeling bloated and some storylines feel unresolved- I dunno maybe that’s just me). Pity the book had a love triangle- that’s instantly off putting for me. Great review!
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It’s adding characters but it also got rid of others. It’s not too much in terms of numbers of characters, but there’s a little lack of depth to them. They just appear and disappear randomly sometimes. I think the worst part about the love triangle in the book was the fact that it was the main storyline. If the focus had been less on it, that would have already helped, but it was still a very poor love triangle.
[…] Kat @ Life & Other Disasters talks about tv shows and books in her Famous In Love: Book vs. TV Show […]
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Interesting commentary. I actually loved the book so much more. Maybe because I read it first. I actually wish there weren’t so many changes to the book. I thought it was so well written by Rebecca Serle..love her other novels as well. I did enjoy the show as well, but I kept wishing for it to actually take place in Hawaii and Paige to be torn between Rainer and Jordan. I do agree that it seemed unlikely for there to be such an attraction to Jordan even though they hadn’t talked much..I wish that relationship was developed a little more in the book..but overall I am in favor over the book over the show.
That is totally fair and I can see how reading the book first could potentially change your perception of the show, because it is not a faithful adaptation at all.
I don’t remember if I put this in the post, but I work in film and TV, so I just enjoyed the show more because it felt more authentic (while still heavily dramatized of course). I’ll admit to not having read anything else by the author, but this book didn’t really entice me to check them out if I am being honest.