Series: To All The Boys I've Loved Before #1
Published by Simon and Schuster on April 15, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance, Young Adult
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What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them... all at once?
Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren't love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she's written. One for every boy she's ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control.
Here’s the thing: I love Jenny Han. And letters. And Jenny Han writing about love letters was just. YES.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was, without a doubt, one of my most anticipated releases of 2014 and while I didn’t hate it, per say, it was rather disappointing (though it was a pretty awesome read!)
My problem with the story was that it had NOTHING to do with the letters. After reading the synopsis I expected something about repercussions and the consequences after all these guys find out she liked them–maybe one going viral, her being bullied and coping with it. So something emotional and deep and heartfelt. What I got was…a fluff.
I was disappointed when I first found out (that’s what reviews are for! Especially when one is confused about why the letters aren’t getting any facetime.), but I was well prepared for the rest of the story. But even expecting a cute love story, I was still…pretty disappointed.
The writing disturbed me, I’ll say that straight out. It was a bit…juvenile and I know that it wasn’t Han’s writing style–it was more like her attempt to write from a typical teen’s point of view and I…don’t think she succeeded as much. There were so many things that irritated me, but what struck me the most was Lara Jean’s absolutely annoying and naive voice. Every time she said something I imagined a high pitched giggly voice and everything she said just sounded like…me. 5 years ago. I don’t know anyone my age (I’m 14) who even utters the word “Gosh” anymore, except sarcastically. Also Lara Jean calls Josh “Joshy”. IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS.
But besides that I just can’t quite put my finger on exactly why she seemed like a ten year old. Actually, at ten years old, her sister seemed more of a teenager than her. Throughout the entire story, I just felt like Lara Jean was reacting how a kid would and, nearing the end of the book, I felt like she just overreacted and had a temper tantrum.
Lara Jean, however, did undergo some character development that I loved. She grew and realized that not everything was black and white and that people weren’t perfect–that she was far from it. By the end of the book it was like she grew the seven years she was missing in a chapter and while that would usually irritate me…it didn’t. It was just perfect.
Let me just say, the romance didn’t go where I actually thought it would–quite honestly, I expected a love triangle. And we…sort of? got one–but it didn’t last long and that was just something I loved about the book too because I absolutely shipped this couple. They were adorable and they were so different–it’s fun reading a book where it takes more than one try (and when that one try was in middle school!) It was really just an adorable romance that simply made the story for me!
Here’s something else I loved: how real the story was. Ignoring Lara Jean’s immaturity, the rest of the characters were written beautifully and, I thought, almost flawlessly. There were a couple of moments that I got annoyed since there were several characters the story could’ve done without (Like the other 3 of her crushes), but I realized that it just added to the story since some people really do just pop in and out of your life. (That makes sense, right?)
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was actually a pretty good read and while I did enjoy the read, it was a bit disappointing in the plot and character department. However, the romance was just adorable and I couldn’t help myself from reading about this not-so-perfect couple whose edges more poked each other than fit. Its really a perfect–not summer–but fall read. And don’t ask me to elaborate because I really can’t–I call it how I see it, guys!