Para sa Hopeless Romantic (For the Hopeless Romantic): Book Review

Para Sa Hopeless Romantic
(photo credit to http://jfrzspeaks.blogspot.com)

When I heard that Star Cinema and Viva Films will adapt the wattpad-turned besteselling Marcello Santos III novel Para sa Hopeless Romantic starring teen stars Nadine Lustre and James Reid, along with new loveteam Julia Barreto and Iñigo Pascual, I was intrigued. True, Jadine’s first two movies Diary ng Panget and Talk Back and You’re Dead, both based on wattpad fiction did not blow me away. But I was entertained because I liked seeing these two together. This time, I wanted to make sure that there was a good story involved behind the movie so I got an hold of Santos’s novel before the movie’s release.

Para sa Hopeless Romantic is a Filipino novel that revolves around the love story of six people, all in various states of being in love. Becca, the main character, an embittered college student still trying to move on from the betrayal of her first and only love by writing short stories with tragic endings; Nikko, her ex-boyfriend who wants a second chance with her because he hasn’t really fallen out of love with her; Ryan and Maria, two characters out of Becca’s short story — friends who have romantic feelings for each other but are too afraid to act on them; Jackie, Becca’s best friend and confidante, who is pining for Matt, Becca’s boss, and Faye, Nikko’s girlfriend of three years whom he dumps because is still in love with Becca.

I can safely say that I thoroughly enjoyed Santos’s novel, so much so that I finished the book in a matter of hours (in one sitting). I liked how he established the characters, and loved that he used his old school (PUP) as a backdrop for all of their adventures. Because he knew a lot about his subjects, he was able to effectively describe the settings and moods and set the tone for the scenes in his book.

I liked that the characters had their own issues to deal with and that they weren’t exactly on the same page as the other half of their love teams straight off the bat. This makes the plot slightly more complicated while the characters seemed more human and releateable.

Marcelo understood his characters and he didn’t make them perfect. At times, Becca seemed overly dramatic but Marcelo was able to justify her actions by a substantive backstory so people won’t get too annoyed. Of the characters, Jackie reached out of the page to grab my attention. She was awesome despite being a secondary character but my favorite lines actually came from Ryan when he finally confessed his feelings for Maria through his notebook.

I liked Marcelo’s contemporary approach to writing, and his fluid storytelling style. While Ricky Lee’s Para Kay B was more serious in tone, Marcelo’s Para sa Hopeless Romantic embraced the cheesiness of falling in and out of love and all that came in between. The way the stories were interconnected makes for a sense of community among the characters and its a good thing that the readers have this one group of people to cheer for.

All in all, I think Para sa Hopeless Romantic is a good choice for a mainstream movie adaptation. Even the writing is already fit for the big screen. My favorite part of reading the book was the sense that the writer seemed to care deeply about his characters and his desire to give them their respective happily ever afters was obvious and infectious. He too, seemed to be a hopeless romantic in real life. So, was this the most original love story ever? No. But it sure as heck was entertaining and heartwarming. A great read before you go to bed or to keep you company on a long journey. Highly recommended.

Here’s the clip of the trailer if you’re interested to see what to expect on the big screen.

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