I initially had no interest in Snow Falling, the novel based on Jane’s book, but it passed through my hands, and my curiosity was peaked. I thought it would give me new insight into Jane, maybe, and I’m always up for a little romance.
Other reviews on goodreads can give you a good idea of why this book is not worth reading, but here are just a few notable reasons you shouldn’t read it, if you actually enjoy watching Jane the Virgin.
It’s a straight-up adaptation- and a bad one
Snow Falling pretty much exactly mirrors the events of season one of JtV, with some deviations for period-accuracy. Obviously, artificial insemination was unheard of in the nineteen hundreds, so that couldn’t be in the book. But, aside from the names and some occupational changes, almost everything is the same. Josephine and Martin meet and are together for two years, then she becomes pregnant by someone else and their relationship is tested. Even the drug dealing stuff is part of the story, as Martin is investigating it, but it’s all less interesting than in the show, flatter and lacking depth. They do supposedly get their happily ever after, but the book honestly doesn’t hold a candle to the emotional weight of the show.
Michael isn’t interesting
While I’m more invested in Rafael as a character, Michael is undoubtedly a lovable and interesting part of JtV. This is due in part to Brett Dyer, who is fantastic, and his performance is a huge part of the reason Michael is so beloved by fans. However, little of TV Michael’s charm and charisma carries over to the book. His love for Josephine and his desire to protect her are huge parts of his character, which is important, but he’s given little meaningful characterization otherwise. Michael in the show is so engaging, it’s a pity he’s so watered down in the novel that is supposed to eulogize him.
Main characters are barely there
If it was going to be a straight adaptation of the story, it would make sense for Josephine to have the most important people in her life be her mother and grandmother. But they barely make an appearance and aren’t all that well served when they do. Petra, one of the most compelling characters on the show, barely makes an appearance at all. Louisa is a mostly benign, if flat character, and Rake is honestly kind of a joke. His desire to have a family, and to be successful, are all we really get from him. He want Josephine because she can give him a child, and because she’s beautiful, but otherwise his love for her seems pretty superficial.
The Narrator is superfluous
We are all familiar with the Narrator, whose identity is still a secret. What I really wasn’t expecting was for him to appear in the book. The Narrator makes sense for the show, and has provided a great frame for the viewer, but in the book is just kind of annoying and out of place.
No appeal to non-fans
As a fan of JtV, reading the book was disappointing. Any other reader probably would have been twice as peeved, because they wouldn’t even have the anticipation for the things a fan would know are supposed to happen. Having sampled romance before, I can say that this is pretty bad writing, even within a genre not known for subtlety. It’s a pity that it was so poorly done, it could have found fans in the romance community who would also like the show.
Shoehorned characters/plot lines
Important parts of the show, like the identity of Jane’s father, and his relationship with her mother, don’t really feel like they belong in the book. Josephine’s dad is also a performer, and they develop a strong relationship, but it feels out of place and as though the book was more interested in reflecting the reality of the show than developing the plot. The book should have been a straight-up romance/drama with the investigation of Sin Sombra and Josephine’s love story, but it deviated in places. That weakens already fragile parts of the book- Rake barely gets any play in the book, only really appearing as an obstacle to Martin and Josephine and as a source of temptation.
It makes the show worse
My main issue with the book isn’t that it’s bad- I’d hoped it would be good, but I wasn’t counting on it. My problem with it is that it makes watching Jane worse. Knowing that the book she supposedly worked on for so long, and pored her heart into, is crappy, makes the whole second half of season three and part of season four feel dishonest. Whenever someone talks about how good Jane’s book is, and how much they love it, it makes my heart sink a little. I hope they don’t publish a tie-in for Jane’s next book, just because I don’t want to be disappointed again.