To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

a standalone
published on April 15, 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
contemporary | romance

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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.

REVIEW

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.

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Skulls 3

3 skulls

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Let’s discuss! Have you read this book? If you have, what did you think of it? If you haven’t, will you be picking it up anytime soon? Have you read from Jenny Han before?
SIG - Aimee
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36 thoughts on “Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

    1. Definitely! Family is an important aspect in everyone’s lives. A lot of people seem to say that Lara Jean was immature from their perspectives as well…

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  1. I’m not too sure about the dull writing but this book sounds like one I’d really like! Yay for diversity with a half-Korean MC! And family is always good in a contemporary. Usually, my favourite YA contemporaries involves strong ties to family. :D Awesome review Aimee!

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  2. To be honest, I read very little contemporary, only chosing to do so when something exceptional comes my way, so this probably isn’t for me. I wonder about this “stiff” MC, and I would probably enjoy the cute romance, but that’s about it.
    I’m glad you enjoyed at least some of it. Excellent review.

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  3. Great review Aimee! I do love the covers and I can see myself reading this when I’m in the mood for something light and uncomplicated! I’m also interested with the love interest that’s a cross between nice guy and an asshole. I will definitely add this on my TBR :)

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  4. Thanks for sharing that the book talked about family and sisterly love – if the book was solely about the love interests and Lara Jean, I don’t think I’d pick it up. But with sisterly stuff, I’ll reconsider. I like the book cover too. :)

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  5. I haven’t read anything by Jenny Han yet, but I love the cover too and the story seems sweet. Although this probably wouldn’t be for me since I might be a bit iffy on the characters. I should probably try The Summer I Turned Pretty though! Great review Aimee!

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  6. Hurray for Asian MCs! There was a book that I read before, and she’s half-Filipino (I think) “Fear of Falling by S.L. Jennings”. Anyway, Jenny Han hasn’t graced my bookish life yet. I think I will start with the other book you enjoyed “The Summer I Turned Pretty”. I also like books that focuses on family life. It gives the book more depth. Brilliant review, Aimee :)

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    1. Awesome! I’ll check it out. :) Are you going to read the Summer books before Jenny Han’s signing? I plan to buddy read books 2-3 with some Twitter friends. :) Family is definitely important!

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  7. I actually just finished this one today! So seeing this review was perfect, and allowed me to consider my feelings better. Honestly, when I finished this one I was very unsure of what to rate it. Now I do have a plan though c:

    Ugh, the cover is amazing. It’s so cute and pretty! I simply adore it. The family aspect of this one was totally my favorite. It really was so great to see a strong and tight knit family, I especially loved Kitty c: However I did have issues with Lara Jean too. As a fellow junior, I should have connected with her. Instead I found myself rolling my eyes and willing for her to grow up. Seriously, I swear Kitty was more mature than Lara Jean at times. Still, I did love the idea of writing the letters to people who she loved.

    One thing I’m still iffy on is the whole idea of Josh. It felt quite awkward for me to read knowing full well that Josh had a serious relationship with Margot. It also felt like that relationship never really ended, though it did. I just had a hard time enjoying Josh’s character at all. He seemed to be very wishy washy and honestly just annoyed me with his constant disapproval of Peter.

    Peter on the other hand? I actually really enjoyed him and his romance with Lara Jean. It felt very organic and I’d love to see more of it.

    Lovely review (:

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    1. That’s awesome, Larissa! I read a 1-star and a 5-star both to get my thoughts straight. :)

      Love the cover! And I really loved both of Lara Jean’s sisters, but I’d have to say I liked Margot more. :P But I did think Kitty was more mature than her–she sounded like an eight year old.

      Right? It was just really disturbing. I loved him with Margot, so when she left, he became a whiny and irrelevant character for me.

      I did like Peter/Lara Jean as a whole, but I did still have a few issues with them. Nothing that wasn’t fixed in the end, though! :)

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  8. I love books that give more consideration to families because in reality they are such an integral part of our lives. I also adore the fact that the protagonist is half Korean, yay diversity! Too bad the rest didn’t impress you though. I also have problems with childish narrators. Great review :)

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  9. Yeah I’ve seen a lot of reviews like this saying that they liked the book but they weren’t really a fan of it. I hate when I like the idea of the couple but it doesn’t really give me any of the feels that I’m hoping to get and I don’t feel the same emotional connection I was expecting. Fantastic review, Aimee! <33

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  10. I’m so excited to read this one! But I’ve seen some mixed reviews, so my expectations are going to be lowered now. :) I’m excited to hear that the family is such a focus! That’s definitely not the case with a lot of romantic contemporaries, so that sounds like a good difference from most. Great review Aimee! :D

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  11. Noooo…no more love triangles! I’ll still probably read it because it does sound cute, and do love a fluffy read haha. It’s too bad the writing was a bit dull!
    Lovely review Aimee (:

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  12. Interesting about the romance, now I’m really curious if just for that factor ;) I can like a love triangle but only if both guys bring something to the table. I’ll probably be skipping this one, I think the issues you had with it would only be intensified by me xD I get bored pretty easy. I really like the cover though :P

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  13. Hmm, dull writing would really bother me. I have to be engaged to keep reading. but I am happy the romance was good.

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  14. I’m glad that you were able to enjoy this overall Aimee, I’ve been dying to get to my copy, but things keep getting in the way. This certainly sounds like a cute and fluffy read, something that I would definitely need right now. Also I’ve heard that Han is planning to write another book in this series, maybe that’s the reason for leaving the ending a bit open? I hope you end up enjoying the next book a lot more if you decide to give it a go! :)

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    1. Oh yay! In that case, I won’t have to wonder about what happens to the characters. I can’t wait for book 2–thanks for the news, Jasprit! <3

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