This is not a run-of-the mill story about obsession. Clara is a perceptive and mature heroine, but she still has to face all the difficulties that come with such a relationship, and she does that with ups and downs—making her a pretty realistic protagonist (with a sense of humour, too).
Jess is a thoroughly likeable character, and the book addresses several serious issues in a light-hearted way. Both Jess’s family and Jules’s mother are rooted in tradition and don’t really want the headstrong girls to live their lives their own way. But the two girls’ determination adds to the final feel-good moment at the end of both book and film.