She’s Dating the Gangster by Bianca B. Bernardino – Student’s Corner

She's Dating the GangsterTitle: She’s Dating the Gangster
Author: Bianca B. Bernardino

Literary Approach

She’s dating the gangster is about a resident heartthrob named Kenji and a high school girl, Athena who pretends to be together to make Kenji’s ex-girlfriend jealous. But unfortunately, fate was on their side and their make-believe game of love turned to reality.

Based from the title, we inferred that the story is one of those mainstream romantic clichés with predictable endings.

However, as we continued reading the book and reached the end, we still see it as a typical love story but on a different context.

Before reading She’s Dating the Gangster, we have come across a lot of reviews and comments both positive and negative about the book which sparked our interest.

After reading, we felt mixed emotions since we can relate from the kiligs and dramas as well as the tear-jerking parts of the story.

The author has good taste in painting the stories of each character involved. Starting with the lead character Kenji delos Reyes , he is your stereotypical type of bad boy heartthrob who is out of any girl’s reach. Any girl would definitely fall in love with Kenji because admit it or not, there will always be a point in a girl’s life when she falls for a bad boy. Next is Athena Dizon, the simple beauty and brains type of girl, someone who you would expect to think a million times before playing with a bad boy.

Another character is Lucas, a guy who is the complete opposite of Kenji.

The ideal, sweet and caring gentleman of every girl. You’d think he get chosen over a bad boy but ends up losing and loving Athena from afar. Last character is Athena Abigail Tizon, the twist of the story. She is the reason how Kenji and Athena fell for each other at the same time fall apart. This complex mix of characters make up for an unforgettable and heartbreaking story.

“Love is seeing an imperfect person perfectly”

This quote perfectly summarizes what happened to Kenji and Athena. As the saying goes, if you love the person you will accept him/her whole heartedly. You will love every part of the person even the flaws and imperfections. The whole story revolves around this concept, that is why we think this story will capture the hearts of every reader out there, especially the hopeless romantic ones like us.

We very much loved every twist and turn of the story and how it ended left a mark on our hearts.

This book is more than just a love story. It also tackles the art of family and friendship. It’s about sacrifice and learning to put others first before you because that is love in its purest form. We would definitely recommend this novel to everyone because we think that anyone can relate to the story.

Biographical Approach

She’s Dating the Gangster is written by Bianca Bernardino, a 26-year-old BS Psychology Graduate. She is known for her penname, SGWannabe in Wattpad. She also wrote other hit novels like My Girl and I (1 and 2) and Lie About Us.

Historical Approach

She’s Dating the Gangster started around 2005 until January of 2006 and was first featured on around April. The author said that she was bored that time and decided to try something new so she brainstormed with a friend and that is how She’s Dating the Gangster started. She drew inspiration from her love of Korean soap operas and her, having a romantic perspective.

SGWannabe added people’s real life experiences to make the story more interesting and realistic.

Since the Wattpad version of the story became such a hit in the online community, it caught the attention of publishing house, Summit Media and they decided to make a published version of it on October 2013. After being published, it won Best Pop Fiction Book.

After receiving numerous positive critics and due to public demand, it had a movie adaptation.

The movie was directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina and was released on July 16,2014 in theatres nationwide. The movie was starred by popular love team Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla. The movie became a box office hit gathering Php 15 million on its first showing. Aside from that, it was screened internationally in United States, Canada, Australia and United Arab Emirates reaching a total of $570,000.

Linguistic Approach

For the people to appreciate the story, the author used a medium that can easily be understood by the readers. She also used informal language such as capitalizing words, using emoticons and adopting slang or taglish language. Even though she used a different and unusual way of expressing the story people still embraced it.

Sociocultural Approach

This movie became popular for a reason. First, it talks about family relation which is a very essential value for every Filipino. There were parts in the story which highlight how Athena leaned on her family through the good and bad times. Second, it focuses on the ups and downs of every teenager’s life especially romantic relationships which is where the story mostly revolves on. It tackles every aspect of romance, from exes to friend-zones and sacrifices to relationships.

Third is, it teaches us the art of friendship, how Athena and Kenji always had their friends by their side no matter what.

And lastly, the story emphasizes self-acceptance because it is important to know yourself inside out including your good and bad side and accepting yourself as a whole. These morals from the novel mirrors true Filipino identity and culture.

Rating and Comparison

The movie version of She’s Dating the Gangster has a different approach compared to the book version. The twist of the story was changed and some scenes were added. If you were to ask us if we liked the movie version, we would say yes but the book version caught not only our interest but also our hearts. The last scene in the book where Kenji took a glimpse of Athena’s memories was the best scene that the movie version didn’t have.

We would still recommend those readers/watchers to read the book version (the original one) before watching the movie for them to get a really good grasp of the story.

We would give this book a 5 star rating because we could not see anything wrong with it. The storyline was very dynamic and wasn’t that predictable like most romantic novels and the twists in the story was successful in capturing and keeping the readers glued to the book. The way the story was written gave the readers a clear visualization of the book, making it even more enticing to read. All in all, it was a good book for us and it was definitely not your typical romantic cheesy novel.

About the Writers and How Do they See Themselves 10 years from Now

 Pia Leah Marie G. Gama, Student – Pasig City Science Highschool

Ten years from now I’m a successful woman. I will find a job that is connected to my degree. And since I’m still young ten years from now and I’m entering a new chapter in my life, I’ll accomplish the things in my bucket list. I will go to different countries I have always dreamed of going to when I was a child. I will make sure that my parents will have a church wedding before I do.

I’ll establish a business for my parents and for my own.

A food business for my parents especially for my mother since she is and will always be my favorite chef. As per my own business, I will collaborate with my cousins. I will buy a house for my parents and maybe a condo for me. Most likely, I’m creating my own family. I’ll secure the future of my children in terms of education, health and financial matters. And of course I’ll start on creating dreams not just for me but also for the people around me.

Maria Angelica P. Ty,  Student – Pasig City Science Highschool

Ten years from now, I have already graduated med school and achieved my dream of finishing education and making my parents proud. I am probably in private practice as a resident general surgeon in a top performing hospital here in the Philippines.

I have always been a fan of Grey’s Anatomy and from watching it, I’ve been inspired so much that I can already visualize myself wearing scrubs and a lab coat with a stethoscope around my neck.

By this time, I think I’ve probably earned enough to give my parents the house of their dreams and allow my dad to rest by retiring from his work for him to enjoy the rest of his life with my mom.

After this, I’d start planning on settling down with my husband and our children and having a successful life of my own, balancing time for my career as well as fulfilling my life-long dreams of travelling while prioritizing my family above everything else.


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Trixie Ricablanca Angeles, RN

Chief Blogging Officer at Books in My Baggage
Chief Blogging Officer, Books in My Baggage and The Book Geek Wannabe "Readers and Book Geeks are the next generation's coolest bunch of kids"

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