If you were anything like the nerdy, bookish girl that I was in high school, then you were sustained by a steady diet of YA romance novels. And like me, you probably lost your ever-loving shit when To All The Boys I Loved Before hit Netflix last week. Based off Jenny Han’s YA trilogy, the surprisingly witty and tender rom-com is arguably one of the best teen movies we’ve had since John Hughes blessed us with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Breakfast Club.
Everything in this movie is near perfect; it boasts a diverse cast, the soundtrack is pure fire, Lara Jean (Lana Condor) is an American style icon/interior design guru, and… Peter effin’ Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) stole all of our hearts. Yes, Peter Kavinsky – dimpled lacrosse god of the Pacific Northwest – is the high school boyfriend all us girls who like boys wish we had.
Even as a grown-ass woman, I have retained my nerdy tendencies. Which is why, after watching the movie for the third time, my friends and I started thinking about the fanfiction we could write about it. Specifically, we talked about how we could turn dreamy Kavinsky into the perfect Jewish boyfriend. In both the books and the movie, Kavinsky’s religion isn’t specified. So we imagined the ways that the cutest scenes might be even cuter if Peter was Jewish. Spoiler alert: They all involve a lot of food.
1. Lara and Peter’s First Kiss Should Have Been at His Bar Mitzvah
Remember the flashback scene, when Lara Jean remembers her and Peter’s first kiss at a 7th grade party? Well, I think that the drama could have been turned up a notch if it happened on the very day Peter went from boy to man. Just picture it: After crushing his Torah portion, Peter and crew get the party going at a local hotel ballroom (the theme is Fight Club, obviously). Lara Jean dances her way through the “Electric Slide,” but as soon as the lights dim and a slow song comes on, she starts to make a bee-line for the dessert table. But — not so fast! Peter grabs her wrist and asks if she’ll slow dance with him. After a terrifying two minutes of dancing with their arms outstretched like zombies and barely touching one another, Peter leans in for a little peck. What a man!
2. Peter Should Have Cooked a Shabbat Dinner for Lara’s Family
Some of the best scenes are Peter’s interactions with Lara Jean’s family. Whether he’s goofing off with her gregarious younger sister Kitty, or sharing a moment of mutual respect and friendship with her dad, it’s so heart-melting to see dreamy Peter getting close to the people who love Lara Jean. And since in the movie, Peter doesn’t fall into the trap of being an insensitive jock committed to toxic masculinity, it would have been great to see him don Lara Jean’s floral apron and cook her family a nice Shabbat dinner. Maybe he could finally show Lara’s dad how to make a brisket that doesn’t need to be sawed in half. We’re sure Kitty would be grateful.
3. Lara and Peter Should Have Taken a Shabbos Walk After Dinner
Ah, the Shabbos Walk… the quintessential Jewish date, the genesis of so many long-term relationships, and (in my boring opinion) a great way to prevent indigestion after a big meal. After this fictional Shabbat dinner with Lara’s family, I would have loved for that sweet debrief and Peter’s moment of emotional vulnerability about his absent dad to happen as she and Peter went for a walk. My friends and I were gushing as we imagined Peter holding Lara Jean’s hand and opening up to her — all underneath a canopy of twinkling stars and evergreen trees. I’m not crying, you are.
4. Antiquing Trip
In the book, Lara Jean and Peter go shopping for some antique chairs for his mom. I think this scene should have 1) been in the movie and 2) they should have went shopping for antique Judaica. I can just picture all the beautiful Magen Davids or mezuzahs they’d find. And can you imagine Peter delicately placing a hamsa necklace around Lara Jean’s neck, right underneath her awesome choker? I’m swooning just thinking about it.
5. Deli Trips
A couple of my guy friends insisted that the diner scenes with Peter and Lara Jean should have taken place at a traditional Jewish deli. I love pastrami and lox just as much as the next person, but I’m partial to the cutesy milkshakes and pie that Lara and Peter had at the diner. It felt like a throwback to the ‘60s, and the foods are neat enough to allow Lara Jean to stay looking like the style kween she is.
Still, in taste and quality, Jewish deli food is clearly superior. Just with the messy way I eat it, I’m having trouble picturing it as a “falling in love” food, not a “we’ve been together for over a year and you’re stuck with me” food. But hey, it worked for When Harry Met Sally….
6. Peter Should Have Invited Lara Jean to Celebrate Rosh Hashanah with His Family
The movie shows a few Christmas scenes — although the ones with Peter are a little cringey — but we know that Jewish Peter Kavinsky would be taking Lara Jean to a Rosh Hashanah meal with his family. It could go one of two ways: it could be super chill and intimate, like the ones my grandma and I host, or it could be big and dramatic and full of kvetching. Either way, I’m all the way here for it. Also, am I the only one who is fantasizing about Peter feeding Lara Jean apples and honey? OK, just me. Cool.
Like I said, this movie is pretty much perfect. But it’s always fun to imagine how our favorite teen movies could mirror our own experiences more closely. Peter may not be Jewish… but no one’s perfect.