Warning: Spoilers if you haven’t read the book series or watched the TV show.
Late last year, Tiny Pretty Things released on Netflix. We had to watch it as soon as we saw the trailer. How could we resist a dark mystery set at a hyper-competitive ballet school?
The book by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton was published in May 2015. We read the book recently and couldn’t wait to compare it to the show.
While the show has not been renewed yet for a season 2, we hope it gets one. After all, the book has a sequel titled Shiny Broken Pieces. We’re excited to see what happens next in both the book and TV show.
1. The Location
The book is set in New York City. Specifically, the American Ballet Conservatory. The school is the feeder for the American Ballet Theatre, the best company in the country. The show is set in Chicago, Illinois at the fictional Archer School of Ballet.
We thought it was a strange choice to change the school to a fictional one. It probably had to do with filming purposes. However, the NYC setting played an important role in the books. The school is in the Upper West Side near Central Park. A lot of locations across Manhattan are mentioned. Also, most of the characters are from NYC, showcasing the privilege of a lot of elite dancers.
2. The Names
The TV show changed some of the names of the main characters. Most importantly, Giselle “Gigi” Stewart’s name was changed to Neveah Stroyer for the show. On one page in the book in a casting list, her name is listed as Gigi Neveah Stewart. Even though it’s only mentioned once in the books, the show used the middle name instead.
Another name change happened to the main love interest, who is Alec in the book and Oren in the TV show. Besides him, Alec’s roommate’s name changed from Will in the book to Shane in the TV show.
This also happened with a few of the minor characters as well. Bette’s sister in the book is named Adele and in the show it’s Delia. Also, the mysterious French dancer who transferred from the Paris Opera school received a name change. In the book his name is Henri and in the show Nabil.
The funny thing though is that even with all the name changes, the casting looks exactly how the characters are described in the books.
3. The Performances
In the show a visiting choreographer Ramon Costa wants to do his version of Jack the Ripper for the semester show. In the books, the Fall semester show is the Nutcracker and the spring semester show is Giselle.
4. The Ships
The show and book have some different characters, especially when it comes to relationships. Bette (ballet princess) and Alec/Oren start as the main couple in both. However, in the show, Bette gets a second love interest.
Gigi/Neveah and Alec/Oren become a couple in both, but in the book it’s much simpler. There’s less drama between the two of them and they have a sweeter romance.
Then there’s June, the other main character. The show cut out her love story altogether. The show focused more on the tension between June and her mother instead of her friendships and secret romance.
5. What Happened to Cassie
What happened to Cassie was a lot more dramatic in the show than the book. In fact, it plays a much bigger part of the show. It’s not much of a mystery in the book because the reader learns about halfway through what happened to her. The show starts off with Cassie falling off a building. All of the characters visit her in the hospital in the show. While in the book, Cassie is only seen by the reader in the very first chapter.
Without spoiling the ending of either, just know that who hurt Cassie is a different person in the book and the show. Still, in both, we expect Cassie to play a bigger role in book 2 and the potential season 2.
6. Gigi/Neveah’s Family
Gigi in the book and Neveah in the show have completely different family lives. Gigi’s parents live in California and have a small apartment in Paris. Her mom is an artist and named her daughter after the ballet Giselle. They’re super protective and supportive of Gigi. Also, Gigi has an aunt who lives in Brooklyn.
In the TV show, Neveah is from New York and travels to Chicago. Instead of being an only child, she has a brother. She also has a very difficult relationship with her mom that the viewer sees on screen.
In the show, Bette and June used to be best friends. In the book, they were never close, despite knowing each other for years. Bette had two friends named Eleanor and Liz that weren’t in the show. June also used to hangout with a group of students, but they ditched her and started to bully her. However, this group was also cut from the show.
The show also added a new character. One of Oren’s best friends in the show is Caleb, who never existed in the book.
8. Eating Disorders
If this is a trigger for you, you might want to stay away from the book and the show. In the book, June has an eating disorder. In the show, it’s Oren. We thought this was an interesting twist because guys with eating disorders don’t get much representation. The show did a great job of explaining how men struggle with their body image as well.
Despite some of the changes, we think the adaptation was fairly strong. While we didn’t get the need to change a lot of the names, we loved how accurate the casting turned out to be. Plus, the actors are super talented and really brought the characters to life. We recommend reading the book and watching the tv show!