Title: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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.
I gave this book 4.5 stars… yes, I like cheesy YA romances and I still enjoy an innocent character in a world full of precocity; it’s a guilty pleasure of mine and I’m proud of it. I finished the book in one sitting so that means I enjoyed it! It’s cute, heart-warming and easy to read.
I’ve been frequently around one-parent families for whatever reason and, in my experience, the story Han suggests is extremely normal. Especially after the death of one of the parents the older sibling/s spontaneously takes responsibility for the others, whether they realize it or not.
So this is a family where the older sister Margot undertakes the responsibility of caring for, not only her sisters, but her father as well and when she leaves for college Lara Jean inherits such responsibility; and it’s important to gather the relevance of family this book wants to convey: the bond between sisters, the need for them to take on a more adult role, the importance they give to their culture (it’s important but doesn’t define any of them).
Lara Jean is hopelessly romantic and has a crush on Margot’s now ex-boyfriend since even before they started dating. The story unfolds after Lara Jean’s old hatbox (where she kept good bye love letters she wrote to all the boys she’s ever crushed on) goes missing and one of the guys in question confronts her about a letter addressed to him that was delivered to his house. That’s when she realized her letters were mailed to the recipients including to her next door neighbor and Margo’s ex.
This book brought back memories of high school so if we consider Lara Jean innocent and naïve it’s because to an extent we may have been like that, maybe not that naïve but still. Yes, it was a little annoying to find her constantly describing Peter’s handsome face but… didn’t we all do that? Yes, a sixteen year old calls her dad “daddy” but that is just out of love and nothing more; we may grow up but the love is still there so we’re allowed to express it however we feel it and it does not make us dorky. Everything about this book is so very high school and we’ve all been there and know who the Lara Jean, the Peter, the Genevieve of our time were.
There were moments where Lara Jean’s misfortunes made me sad, laugh, be mad at her; but a book is only enjoyable when it allows us to feel some kind of emotion, even if that is annoyance.
Peter I didn’t really like at first because of his over-confidence but he grew on me as I his relationship with Lara Jean started to grow. Josh I didn’t really care for because I find his personality too much like Lara Jean’s and suddenly he is paying attention to Lara Jean. Margo I think has a stiff personality but that is because she had to take too much responsibility too soon. I loved Kitty’s personality.
- Lara Jean matures very little during the plot never learning from here experiences.
- The ending is a To Be Continued…, inconclusive thing.
- The romance is a make believe relationship that makes way to a real one.
- Lara Jean has no social life, I understand how she loves to spend time with her family BUT where are her girlfriends because Chris is always MIA. A group of school friends is something we all need.