To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.
When I found out Jenny Han was going to publish another YA contemporary, I was stoked and added it to my wishlist at once. I remember loving her writing style in The Summer I Turned Pretty.
Naturally, I picked this one right up when I saw it was in our local bookstore a day before it’s official US release! (Plus that cover is adorable and features an Asian girl–because our heroine’s half-Korean! I want.)
So anyway, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has a pretty simple story. It was cute and easy to follow. What I really liked was that, aside from the romance, this book really focused a lot on the relationship between Lara Jean’s family. There’s a ton of sisterly love, and also love for their father.
Lara Jean herself, though… I’m not sure. Her character is a bit iffy and stiff. And to be frank, her narrative voice sounded like a ten-year-old’s. I couldn’t picture Lara Jean as a young adult, not until the last couple of chapters. Maybe it’s the way she talks and acts? I didn’t get that sense of maturity from her that I would’ve wanted, considering the main theme of this book is “moving on,” right?
The romance was endearing, to put it simply. I never really swooned hard, or shipped the two characters with my life, but I found them cute together and I liked them as a couple. But honestly, I expected Peter Kavinsky to be a sweet and friendly guy. He wasn’t a huge douche or anything, but he’s somewhere in between an asshole and a good boy. I can’t really say. The romance is actually a love triangle. I won’t say more to prevent spoilers, but I had no love for the other love interest to be a love interest. I liked him as an individual character, though.
Like I said earlier, my favorite aspect was actually the aspect of family. Margot is Lara’s older sister, who stood as their mother-figure, and I really loved how protective, caring and independent she was. Lara also has a little sister, Kitty, who acted her age yet still being responsible (mostly). I loved how close they were with each other and their father. This is one of those books where family matters.
Overall, I enjoyed reading the book, although I found the writing to be a bit dull, sadly. I did like how things ended openly–it was a cute ending that left me wanting more. I would recommend this to anyone who wants something cute, quick, and where family members don’t just disappear into thin air.