Keeping in line with yesterday’s Waiting on Wednesday, I’m here today with a review of Jenny Han’s “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before“. I finished this book around 11:30 last night – kind of unintentionally. It was one of those “one more chapter, one more chapter” kind of nights & before I knew it I only had 20 pages left – so obvi I had to just truck right on to the end!
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 really enjoyed this book. It was a huge change of pace from Bloodlines & all the YA Supernatural/ Fantasy I read last year. I’m definitely enjoying all these YA Contemporary titles I’ve been getting my hands on lately.
Lara Jean is an easily identifiable character – just your typical 17-year-old girl with a whole truckload of insecurities. She is devoted to her family & often puts their needs above her own, particularly when her older sister goes abroad for college. Well, sort of. Her intentions are good, at least.
Peter is the kind of character I love seeing in print. The hot, confident, popular kid who’s really a lot more genuine than people give him credit for. He’s living life for the experience of it and isn’t afraid to ask for what he wants – but that doesn’t mean he’s inherently selfish. He shows incredible compassion towards Lara Jean’s little sister, Kitty, and is surprisingly thoughtful as he & Lara Jean begin their “relationship”.
I think the most frustrating thing about this book for me is how much of the plot is driven by the simple fact that Lara Jean is afraid to drive. Seriously. She’s a nervous driver, but as the eldest remaining daughter in a family who lost their mother some time ago, the bulk of household responsibilities falls on her shoulders – meaning she’s gotta drive places. There are at least 10 instances where this fear directly affects the narrative in a big way.
It’s always a little difficult to read YA as someone who falls into the “New Adult” category, just because we’ve been through all that teen angst & came out on the other side with a wealth of knowledge on how better to handle situations like the one Lara Jean finds herself in. I’m not saying I dislike the angsty part of YA novels – I mean that’s basically the bread & butter of the genre (and I do love the genre). But I sure as hell find myself doing one of these every 20-or-so pages:
In the end, this was a fun, cheeky look at one girl’s clumsy journey through a HUMILIATING experience. There is a lot of character growth and plenty of real-life issues that get addressed. I think Jenny Han did a great job capturing the mercurial nature of a 17-year-old girl without making her completely insufferable (I’m looking at you, Bella Swan).
The ending was a bit too abrupt for me, but knowing that this was always intended as a 2-part series, I suppose I can forgive the cliffhanger. I will absolutely be picking up the sequel once it’s released.
Have you read this one? What did you think? I’ve seen a lot of negative commentary floating around Goodreads – are you among the non-lovers?
Until Next Time ❤
PS – I can’t decide which book to read next. I have the following books all hanging out next to my bed/on my Kindle & could really use some input!
- Paper Towns
- Looking for Alaska
- Throne of Glass
- Red Queen
- Yes Please!
- Ready Player One!