Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was my first book by Jenny Han that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Going into it, I’ll be honest, I was not as excited at first as I had imagined while I was anxiously waiting for a copy to fall into my hands. However, upon passing the first 30 pages or so, when the story finally started picking up, it was hard for me to stop reading (which is rather a large feat as I really had to study that day!).
We follow the protagonist Lara Jean (my, may I say what an interesting name that is!), a rather typical girl in high school living in a more upper class home. She wrote these letters addressing the 5 boys she’s ever fallen hard for. Unfortunately, they get released and sent to those very boys, these private letters that were only for her eyes to read. Boy, that sure leads to some crazyyy things. I would hate for my own letters (full of rants about the sheer idiocy of guys some times) to fall into the wrong hands. So I guess that already says I relate a lot to this story. What surely becomes an embarrassing encounter with all those boys leads to a fake-relationship with one of them. If you know me, I’m a sucker for weird plot twists like these. I shall not go much deeper into the plot, for sake of keeping some things a surprise still.
What I loved:
1) I really liked that Lara Jean was relateable, or at least real. Yes, at times, she did not make the greatest decisions, but hey, when have we ever made the BEST decisions in EVERY situation? I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t. She did things that I think a lot of girls her age would do in her position.
2) I loved that she was half-Korean. I am glad the author put in some of the culture into the book. Maybe I’m just biased, but I like knowing that not every YA protagonist is the EXACT same. This at least added character, in my opinion. Also, it embedded a fun way of seeing her family in this new light, with a single father who tries to keep up the cultural traditions of his deceased wife for his 3 children.
3) Not a true love triangle. I can’t stand those. Honestly, I feel if an author has no other way of trying to spice up the protagonist’s love life but randomly throwing in another dude, that’s just not the most creative thinking. Sometimes, they just go nowhere. Or, some just don’t make a real difference for the story ’cause EVERYONE knows which guy the girl will end up with. And yes, in regards to this story, I do love Peter. Which brings me to…
4) Peter!!<3 I like that he’s not a full on stereotype of a typical popular guy. He’s not the nicest boy that readers will instantly fan-girl over. He doesn’t (at least initially) treat Lara Jean in the nicest way. But when he occasionally does the odd thoughtful thing (ahem, buy her fav. breakfast!), it really warms the heart. I’m a sucker for romances built like that. It’s at least a realistic relationship. It’s not one of those boy-meets-girl, then BAM! Insta love! I wish those exist, but sadly, they rarely do.
Well, I think I’ve said enough. Give it a shot if you’re feeling for a happier, easy read. It’s a cute story that stands out from other books in its genre, and the ending is open enough for your imagination to run wild (unless…you’re one of those people who need a solid happily-ever-after kind of ending…then you just got to wait for book 2 to come out!). All in all, I highly recommend the book. It may not be for everyone, but it’s a fun read for those who want to laugh and cry with Lara Jean.
Yes, I shed a tear or two with her. Sshhhh…