If you watched Netflix's newest angst-ridden teen series I'm Not Okay With This and thought it strongly resembled the plot to a great young adult novel somewhere, you aren't totally wrong. Because even though the show is based on a graphic novel rather than a picture-less binding of thousands of words alone, the source material isn't just a script that was pitched to Netflix.
Of course the more important question here is how the book compares to the show and, if you are so inclined to wonder, what the I'm Not Okay With This book spoilers are. Even if you are only halfway through the wild ride that is the Netflix Original, you might already be scratching your head trying to figure out how it all ends. And if you are prepared to spoil yourself silly with the details of the book to see if it lines up with the series, then you have come to the right place.
The book is full of illustrations
One of the biggest differences between the I'm Not Okay With This book and show is the style in which the book is designed. The graphic novel was created by Charles Forsman, whose work inspired the TV adaptation to a point. But the live action series doesn't feature any of the animations for which the graphic novel is known.
The book does feature many of the same plot points, however, like Syd's best friend Dina and her superpower mentor, Stanley. Both figures are as important to Syd in the book as they are in the show. The I'm Not Okay With This book also features Syd's identifying hangup about the pimples on her thigh. It seems like a minor thing in the show, but it is what helps her and Stanley connect and bond as they become better friends.
The book ending is definitely different
In the show, the tension that has been building up all season comes to a head at the Homecoming dance. It gets taken a step further when Dina's ex, Brad, confronts Syd about telling Dina he had cheated on her. Things get very Carrie-esque when Syd, the telekinetic outcast, accidentally uses her powers to blow up Brad's head in front of the entire student body.
She ends the night, and the season, on a watchtower, yearning to be alone to better understand her powers and everything that had just happened. In the book, however, Brad dies in a way that makes it seem like he had a brain aneurysm. In other words, something that can be explained away, unlike the seemingly spontaneous combustion in front of Syd and everyone else that takes place in the show. Syd also decides to kill herself in the book, unlike the show version of Syd, who contemplates running away to spare those around her any other accidental injuries.
Syd's stalker takes another form in the book
In both the show and the book, Syd encounters someone or something following her. It is a running mystery throughout the first season of I'm Not Okay With This. And in the show, the person following her meets her at the watchtower and tells her that everyone should be afraid of her. He seems like he knows what he's talking about, so maybe all is not lost for Syd just yet.
In the book, however, Syd's stalker is just a manifestation of her feelings and more of a shadow and feeling than an actual person. It makes sense for the show to have taken liberties with this aspect of the story, since it can help inspire another season. And, I Am Not Okay With This creator Jonathan Entwistle told Decider, that was kind of the point.
"The questions I want people to ask are who has come to town? Is it going to be the mentor Professor X or is it going to be the Sith Lord come to take Syd to the Dark Side?" He said. "I think when you've got the type of powers that she's got you can become an asset in a bigger world that's been brewing outside of the tiny town where we started the story. So I'd like it to immediately off the bat to be a hint that, whoa there's a bigger world out there than just one girl with crazy powers."
While the I'm Not Okay With This book does differ slightly from the Netflix series, the core plot is still there and Syd is still the hopeful heroine at the heart of it all. Hopefully it means there will be another season to continue her story and reveal to viewers who the heck that mysterious man is.