‘The Kissing Booth’: Was the Netflix Movie Based on a True Story?

Netflix released this month the last movie installment of The Kissing Booth franchise that started in 2018. The teen romance movie was a hit amongst younger audiences as it catered to a popular storyline. Elle (Joey King) unintentionally falls in love with her best friend’s bad-boy older brother. According to their childhood rules of do’s and don’t’s, older siblings are off-limits. Before they were movies, they were first published novels by author Beth Reekles. But is the good girl and bad boy romance a true story?

‘The Kissing Booth’ was a written story on Wattpad

Sadly, the storyline and events in The Kissing Booth are not based on a true story. While many fans only dreamed of a handsome and chiseled bad boy like Noah Flynn, he only existed in writing. The same goes for the thrilling and fun romance. Not many fans may know that before Reekles’s novels were published, she initially wrote the story on Wattpad.

Wattpad is a global website and app that allows aspiring writers to publish, update and write their own work for a willing readership. Anyone who has used and been a fan of Wattpad since its start in 2006 will remember The Kissing Booth. It was one of the site’s most popular and well-known published works in the teen romance genre. Reekles wrote the story in 2011 as a teenager and even received the Wattpad 2011 prize for Most Popular Teen Fiction.

When Reekles was 17, she was offered a three-book contract by Penguin Random House and named Time magazine’s most influential teen authors.

The Netflix movies were a hit

Along with the novels, Reekles’s stories were given the green light to be turned into a Netflix movie in 2018. The movie of the same name had actor Joey King in the lead role as Elle Evans with actor Jacob Elordi as the senior bad boy, Noah Flynn. Elle also needed her best friend Lee Flynn, who actor Joel Courtney played. The three actors would reprise their roles for the following two movie installments.

Critics thought the movie hit all teen romance clichés with some backlash on sexist stereotypes within the characters. Screen Rant even analyzed how the third movie installment highlighted issues in Elle and Lee’s friendship. Despite this, the movies are still a massive success for Netflix amongst streamers. The first movie is closely tied to the published novel and Wattpad story, but what was changed from the original Wattpad story and novel?

Elle is popular and Noah is more controlling in the books

The Kissing Booth movie stayed true to many scenarios and plot elements in the Wattpad version and novel. For the basis of this analysis, the main focus will be on the Wattpad version, first novel, and first movie since they all use the same storyline. Elle, in the movie, is a bit of a nerd and not high on the totem pole of popularity. But in the books it is the opposite, she is well-liked in school and has a bigger group of friends.

One of the most prominent character differences is with Noah. He still retains his bad-boy persona and his storyline of secretly threatening boys not to date Elle. The difference is that in the books, he is much more controlling and assertive about Elle. The original Wattpad story and novel are more about romance and drama, while the Netflix movie is more about comedy. There is also the detail that Elle and Lee being a part of the dance club is nonexistent in the original story.

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