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    17 Differences Between The "Tiny Pretty Things" Show And Novels

    "I can find the tiny pretty things you love and tear their wings off."

    As a YA author and reader, nothing makes me happier than seeing my favorite books adapted to the screen. Tiny Pretty Things, written by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton, is Netflix’s latest adaptation, and while there are ~tons~ of changes, the heart of it remains the same — three girls will stop at nothing to become prima ballerina at their elite ballet academy. It is gossip, lies, and scandal. Plus, lots of ballet-toned ~glutes.~

    Here are a few differences between the books and show!

    1. The Archer School of Ballet is set in Chicago in the TV show instead of New York, like in the book.

    Cassie Shore dancing on the ledge in a white dress; chicago skyline in the background. "Nobody can save me from myself" lyric.

    The first big change is moving the New York City ballet scene to the Windy City. The school in the books has a huge Russian influence, including the teachers, as well as an emphasis on classical ballet instead of contemporary dance. You can’t talk ballet without the influence of the Russians. Maybe we’ll get to see some of that in season two. 👀

    2. Neveah Stroyer had more than a name change.

    Neveah Stroyer wearing brown ballerina outfit at the barre

    In the books, she’s named Giselle Stewart, Gigi for short. She’s an only child. Her mom is an artist and her hippie parents met as ex-pats in Paris. She’s one of two Black dancers at the school, yes, but she’s sheltered by her parents and family and has to fight for her place at the school. In the show, her name was changed to Neveah Stroyer. Her mom is serving time in jail (*Alexa play “Cell Block Tango” from Chicago), and her brother is in a wheelchair after a shooting incident with cops. So...choices! Still, the gorgeous Kylie Jefferson brings the character to life with her show-stealing presence and dancing chops.

    3. The show centers big discussions about eating disorders in the ballet world.

    Better and Oren laying on a picnic blanket.

    I loved that the show was not shy about showcasing eating disorders. In the book, it’s my darling June who suffers from bulimia and anorexia. The adaption sheds light on how the ED also affects men. *Love for Oren intensifies.*

    4. Jack the Ripper is the new Sugar Plum Fairy.

    Ballerinas in black and red.

    The books focus on seasonal performances. In the show, the sexy new choreographer, Ramon Costa, puts on his own original ballet as Shane says, “The sex maniac who killed all those women hundreds of years ago.” The nature of the Ripper mirrors the inner darkness that lives in all these cut-throat dancers.

    5. Cassie’s accident is the anchor in the show.

    Girl in a coma

    Cassie’s narration opens both the show and the books, but that’s where the similarities stop. The accident that lands a student in the hospital happens toward the end of the firstTiny Pretty Things book, but on the show, the accident happens to Cassie in Episode 1. Her narration frames what happens in the story and how we see the characters move like pieces on a set, which is a great touch. There’s also a drug-related incident, which happens in Shiny Broken Pieces, and is brought up in the show. Also, in the books, Cassie is also related to Oren (née Alec), and that whole family has a lot more power at the academy.

    6. Oren’s relationship status is...complicated.

    Oren, Neveah, Bette at dance practice

    Actor Barton Cowperthwaite kills it as Oren Lennox. In the books, he’s known as Alec Lucas and he’s one of the school’s legacies with a prestigious and privileged family lineage. I am NOT disappointed about his love triangle becoming a love quartet and how messy and complicated it gets. I mean, who could resist?

    7. In the TV series, Shane is a bigger star.

    Neveah and Shane lying in bed

    Shane is perhaps my favorite character. His character is an adaption of Will from the books where he’s written as a queer boy who isn’t publicly out. There are touches of his backstory from the books, including a rendezvous with another male student in secret. Shane, played by Brennan Clost, is dazzling, joyful, and proud. He brings brightness to every scene he’s in — I was rooting for him the whole time.

    8. In the show, the French dancer has a few more redeeming qualities.


    Cassie’s French boyfriend “Monsieur Paris” is brought to life by Michael Hsu Rosen, and he's just as mysterious in the show as he is in the books. Nabil (née Henri) is Muslim and trying to prove his innocence in Cassie’s accident. He’s way more likable than the predatory boy in the books who would do anything to get his way. While I did love the changes to his character, I didn’t like the Islamophobia added to the script, which is DEFINITELY not in the books.

    9. The plot is one big whodunit.

    Neveah with white rose. "There was a white rose near cassie after she flew smack onto the street"

    What happens at ballet school stays in ballet school. The show does an incredible job of showing the insular world of aspiring dancers — and how cut-throat it can be. In the books, this is shown by a series of terrible pranks. Leaked photos, bullying, hazing. Then they get violent — glass inside slippers, someone pushed in front of a moving vehicle (moved up from book two). All of these things are tiny cuts and cracks that lead to the big fall out at the end of the books. While everyone is friends one minute and mortal enemies in the next, the pranks are replaced with the police investigation surrounding Cassie’s major accident.

    10. Ramon Costa breaks hearts and is terrible...but I like it?

    Ramon Costa

    There’s a mysterious young choreographer in book two, Shiny Broken Pieces, named Damien Leger, which is who I think Ramon portrays in the show. Of course, he plays a bigger role in the Netflix series. He’s the mastermind behind Ripper and he’s a bad, bad man with skeletons in his closet. Why is he so bastardous, sexist, and so pretty? He’s romantically involved with at least four women on the show — and I love mess! Ramon Costa (Bayardo De Murguia) can and will ruin my credit.

    11. Bette is still the perfect ballerina, but with a twist.

    Bette loose hair

    Oh, sweet Bette. You are a lovely hot mess. She is impossible to hate even though she does everything possible to make it possible. Casimere Jollette’s performance does her justice and fully captures the fierce but lonely girl from the books. While her story remains mostly the same. She feels invisible next to her prodigy ballet sister Delia (née Adele), and she is the Queen Bee after Cassie is gone. Here are the differences: the injury she suffers from was originally June’s storyline, a result of June having an eating disorder in the books. Bette targets Neveah (née Gigi) in small, cruel ways after losing her boyfriend to the new girl. She definitely still has a pill problem. In the adaptation, Bette scores a boyfriend with an adorable family who brings her back to life after her ordeals. That storyline actually belonged to June in the books. Though, it sucks we're asked to root for a boyfriend who starts off saying a homophobic slur.

    12. June's character arc focuses more on her relationship with her mother than her marginalization.

    June in purple dancing

    Speaking of June, I did miss the storyline in the books where she falls in love with a Korean boy whose family owns a restaurant and loves food. The food and family moments brings her back to life. Still, Daniela Norman is a fantastic June. She depicts the actress’s insecurities and deep passion for ballet, which is in her blood. In the books, June has a tense and complicated relationship with the group of Asian dancers that also go to school with her. It’s the nuance of straddling two cultures. While the actress shares the same marginalization, it’s not a plot point in the show. Instead, the focus is on the relationship with her mother, who is harsh, but still wants the best for her daughter. That leads June to some shady situations. I’m rooting for you, June!

    13. There is no Michi Beach Club in the books.

    June serving a drink in a red dress. "Well, look who's move on up."

    In order for June to become financially independent, she needs a job. Like some of the other girls, she becomes a waitress at an upscale club where older businessmen get the ballet school to hire underage ballerinas for the VIP section. This is *NOT* in the books whatsoever.

    14. Lady Boss Madame Du Bois rules the school in the series.

    Madame Du Bois in a gold dress

    In the books, the head of the ballet academy is Mr. K. But in the show, Mr. K’s role now belongs to Madame Du Bois. Starring the incredible Lauren Holly, the storyline is more duplicitous and shows how the scandal of ballerina life is not something you escape. Mr. K’s relationship with a student is only hinted at in book two, but it is center state in the adaption between Madame Du Bois and Caleb (Damon J. Gillespie).

    15. Officer Cruz gets a plot line.

    Office Cruz in blues

    There’s a cop in book two who makes a speech after a student’s accident. Because the show revolves around a big crime and investigation, there’s the addition of officer Isabel Cruz (Jessica Salguiero).

    16. So many naked butts.

    Ramon and Madame Du Bois about to kiss

    Okay fine, I’m immature. But it’s definitely noticeable how much nudity and sex is in the adaption of Tiny Pretty Things. I mean, the show has a rating of TV-MA. In comparison, the books are a lot tamer. There is still a discussion of sex — who is having it and who is not. And there is definitely some kissing and PDA, but anything else fades to black in the novels.

    17. The timeline of Oren and Neveah deviates slightly. (But still, Oren and Neveah 4Eva.)

    Neveah and Oren dancing

    Oren and Neveah’s characters have dancing chemistry and ~spoiler alert~ get together — just like in the books. But in the books, we see them dating from the jump. Naturally, in the series, their relationship is complicated because of Bette and the added pressures of ballet life. This is something I hope is explored in Season 2!

    Overall, alliances are forged and broken in single episodes. Hearts and lives are destroyed into shiny broken pieces. And with that massive cliff-hanger, I can't wait for more! If you've read the books, what differences did you notice?


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