Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To all the boys I've loved before
Title:  To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (#1)
Author: Jenny Han
Published: April 15th 2014 (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Pages: 368
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format:  Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Rating: Four stars
Goodreads Summary:
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.
Purchase: Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository
Cover Thoughts: The cover is completely gorgeous. I love how it gets the title across. I like the cursive title. It’s really feminine just like this book.
First Line: I like to save things.

~Review~
First Thoughts: 
I love the prologue. In the prologue we discover that Lara Jean writes letters to all of her crushes when she doesn’t want to love them anymore. As a writer I really connected to this aspect of her and it was great to see. I her letters she writes that they free her. I really loved how Jenny Han gave equal time to the family relationship plot and the romance plot. It thought was really well done.
 
Characters:
 I loved the beginning of  this book. I thought Lara Jean’s family was fantastic. I liked getting to know them and seeing them interact with each other. This seemed like it would be a great contemporary romance. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before revolves around Lara Jean, the middle “Song Girl”. When her older sister Margot goes away to college, Lara Jean’s letters she’s kept in a hat box for years are suddenly mailed out. One of the letters goes to the boy next door, Josh, who happens to be Margot’s very recent ex boyfriend. 
Margot is a very type a person who takes on the majority of the load around the house after their mother passes away. Due to this she always puts her sisters first and herself last. I thought this was very kind and respectable of Margot. We can see that Margot really cares about her sisters. I thought Margot was a little uptight at times. She also seemed to think she knew everything which I didn’t like. 
The youngest Song girl is Kitty who’s really named Katherine and she is nine years old. Kitty is an absolute riot. A lot of her remarks to Lara Jean are hilarious. There is a scene when Kitty is mad at Lara Jean for something, Lara Jean asks her to make her a braid and Kitty replies “You don’t deserve a braid from me…besides, a braid would take it too far”. I thought she was very fun to read about and she made me laugh several times. For only being nine years old, Kitty was hilarious, smart, determined and extremely sarcastic, which I loved.
Josh is a typical boy next door with a kind heart. He tries to look out for Lara Jean when Margot leaves. I wasn’t crazy about his character, he was a little boring to me. I found his behavior to be a bit predictable regarding Lara Jean. I could definitely sense some jealousy issues in the plot. I hated how he was so intent on getting Lara Jean to break up with Peter because he wasn’t “good enough for her”.  This was really judgmental of Josh because he didn’t even really know Peter.I thought he was written well enough though, he was a believable character.
I liked Lara Jean well enough. I thought she was a bit childish and naive in regards to some things, the initial plot for instance. A specific incident that comes to mind is when she and Peter are going somewhere and she decides not to sit with him for a ridiculous reason. Another incident is how she got a ride form Josh to school instead of Peter without letting him know because he was late. She was also a bit naive about things. Lara Jean seems to have a dreamlike, everything is perfect, view of love and relationships. At one point in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Lara says “If you were mine, i never would have left you”. I just found her view of love to be too idealistic and flawless which Peter points out to her. 
I like how Lara Jean grows throughout To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before though. There are several things about Lara that I did enjoy, she wrote letters, she was a romantic, she had a glass unicorn collection and she was interested in the baby names people chose from her father’s deliveries. The biggest thing I could relate to Lara Jean about is her fear of driving. As someone who doesn’t drive, if I were to ever drive, I would be terrified of getting in a wreck or getting lost, which happens to Lara Jean. I loved how Kitty was better at directions than Lara Jean because that’s how my younger sister is too.
Chris, Lara’s best friend took some getting used to. Initially I didn’t care for her given her behavior, she drank, was provocative and didn’t like Margot. At one point she says “Margot doesn’t have normal human emotions like the rest of us”. On the bright side, I thought this was realistic since not everyone approves of their siblings friends. Chris proves to be a loyal friend to Lara Jean which I loved.
Peter is one of the five guys to have received letters from Lara Jean. He is thought to be a bad guy like the rest of the Lacrosse team members. Lara Jean initially writes a list of everything wrong about Peter in her letter to him. I like how Lara Jean discovers there’s much more to Peter than just what she knew about.
Peter was one of my favorite characters. I loved seeing his interactions with Kitty. They were always a highlight. He got along well with Lara Jean’s dad which I also liked. We find out that Peter doesn’t have such a perfect life with his dad being out of the picture. Peter did annoy me at times, mostly when he would get jealous over Josh because Lara Jean and him were only in a fake relationship.
Genevieve is Peter’s on again off again ex girlfriend and Chris’ cousin. Chris and Genevieve do not get along together at all. I found Genevieve reason for disliking Lara Jean for so long to be for a really ridiculous reason.
 
Plot
I loved the beginning of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. We meet Lara Jean, her sisters, Margot and Katherine, known as Kitty, and her father. Lara Jean, Margot and Katherine are three of the remaining Song Girls. The fourth was their mother who died when Lara Jean was young. I loved the family aspect that this book had. I thought it was very well done and it made me wish I had sisters like Kitty and Margot. The family aspect in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before was a great addition. I liked that there was as much of a family aspect as a romance aspect.
When Lara Jean’s letters are sent out, she’s left to deal with the effects of her old crushes reading their letters. The biggest effect and what launches To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before plot is Margot’s ex boyfriend reading Lara’s letter. We then discover Josh used to have a crush on Lara Jean. In order to cover her tracks. Lara Jean tells Josh she has a boyfriend. A boyfriend whose name happens to be Peter Kavinsky, a lacrosse player and the most popular guy in school.  I always wonder about these girls who decide the best thing to do is to fake having a relationship with someone. This engagement is not without guidelines though, there is little physical touch, 
Peter has recently broke up with Genevieve. In order to make her jealous, he goes along with Lara Jean’s plan to be a fake couple. Right away, I think readers will be able to tell what is going to happen. I loved seeing Peter and Lara Jean hang out together and get to know one another. I thought their relationship was very well developed and believable. The plot of course thickens when the fake relationship becomes more than that and Peter and Lara Jean discover what, or who they really want. I was worried when I read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before that it would end up as a love triangle or a love square, I can happily say that it isn’t either one really as the story progresses.
 
Overall: 
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before was very well written. It was cute, entertaining and hilarious. I mostly glided through this story because it was so easy to read. There are several chapters in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. A lot of the chapters are short with often only one or two events taking up a chapter. I liked the short chapters as it focused on mostly one thing at a time.
Overall I liked To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. I didn’t love the entire book, several things got on my nerves such as Josh’s behavior at times, Margot’s behavior at times and Lara Jean’s occasional childish attitude. I think it’s important though that all of the characters have flaws which were well portrayed. I loved Peter and Kitty the most. This book does end on a cliffhanger which I absolutely hated. That was mostly because I just needed to read more of this story. I needed to know the ending. Fortunately, there will be a sequel coming out so I’m extremely excited for that. This is a great story about family and love that I think readers will enjoy. I expected a little bit more from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Lara Jean wasn’t exactly like the character I had imagined. I rate this four stars since it did drag a bit after Margot left for college but picked up not too far after and I wasn’t crazy about Lara Jean or Josh.
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About Amber (YA Indulgences)

Amber is a 20-something woman who enjoys reading, writing, listening to music and taking walks. She has a book blog called YA Indulgences . She is still trying to figure out what she's doing with her life, but she's confident that time will tell. In the meantime she's heading towards the goal of becoming a renowned blogger. View all posts by Amber (YA Indulgences)

9 responses to “Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

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