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.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 15th, 2014
Get a copy here!
Quick Reasons: cute and entertaining, but nothing I wasn’t expecting; I absolutely ADORED Peter by the end of this book; the relationship between the sisters and their dad was absolutely adorable; well-rounded, diverse characters; the focus on finding yourself and forging a way through life is so important
Okay, penguins, you can all stop screaming now–I did it. I picked this book up. I picked it up, and I opened to the first page…….and I didn’t put it down again until I was finished. (Well, I mean, I DID–to do normal human stuff. But in the grand scheme of things, I read this in one sitting.) Relax! The world isn’t ending. Not today, at least.
To be honest, this was pretty much EXACTLY what I was expecting going into this read. By which I mean, I wasn’t really surprised. There are quite a few cliche scenes/moments. The prose in this read is so poetic and beautiful, though–I felt I’d been sucked straight into the mind of a writer. Being a practicing poet myself, I feel I can say with confidence that Lara Jean has the soul of a poet. The prose is, therefore, at times abstract and always, always gorgeous; the descriptions and details pore from every page like magic, waiting for readers to stop and take them in.
The characters were vibrant, diverse, and well-rounded. Because this is from Lara Jean’s perspective, we don’t, unfortunately, get all the nitty-gritty of the inner-workings of everyone else. Instead, we are made to see them from Lara Jean’s mind–and often, this means from a biased or judgmental standpoint. Lara Jean is, I feel, the sort of girl who makes snap judgments. This made for both entertaining and confusing reading–several times throughout, I wanted to reach through the pages to shake some sense into her. To yell at her to stop daydreaming and actually LOOK at the world around her. Still, I had a ton of fun following her along this journey, and watching her come to grips with herself.
The relationships are probably the most important focus in this book. I absolutely ADORE how much emphasis was put on Lara Jean’s relationship with both her sisters and their dad. Their reactions and interactions were endearing and entirely human, even during moments of drama or upset. The fact that these relationships also brought up a strong focus on self-discovery helped to drive home and emphasize what I think Jenny Han was most trying to convey: that sometimes, you HAVE to stand on your own. That sometimes, you have to break yourself apart to figure out who you really are.
So, while I was not necessarily blown away by this read, I absolutely ADORED the journey regardless. There are some cliched moments/scenes, but the characters and the relationships really helped to drive this story for me. I will definitely be picking up P.S. I Still Love You in the near future (I mean, it’s already waiting for me on my kindle, so…) I recommend this to lovers of contemporaries, very messy romances, and self-discovery journeys. This was an adorable read, penguins–you should definitely keep it in mind next time you’re seeking those elusive heart-flutters.