June 12, 2014

Latest Read: To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Publication date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Category: Young Adult - contemporary
Source: Purchased
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. (Adapted goodreads.com)

My Thoughts
In To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Lara Jean is probably living every teenage girl’s worst nightmare. Or, the most embarrassing one. Since middle school, Lara Jean has written a letter to every boy she’s ever loved. As in every excruciating, honest detail, signed, sealed and addressed. But she’s never sent them. Instead, she keeps them all in a hatbox hidden underneath her bed. In actuality, these boys are never supposed to read the letters — they’re just her way of getting over her feelings. Then one day, the letters are mysteriously mailed out to the five guys she wrote them for. Like Josh, her sister’s ex-boyfriend; Peter, her first kiss who she doesn’t talk to anymore and a few other guys she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years. But the two most immediate dilemmas are Josh and Peter who waste no time confronting her about said letters.

If I were Lara Jean, there’s a good chance I would run screaming in the other direction and lock myself in my bedroom before facing a boy who has read my innermost thoughts about him. Even though Lara Jean is mortified, she tries to save face in front of both Josh and Peter and I gotta say, I admired the girl. I don’t know if I could’ve done that. She handles the disaster and everything that happens as a result in a way that had me cracking up for most of the book. She’s adorable, funny, totally innocent in her earnestness and one of the most endearing characters I’ve read about in a while. I simultaneously felt like I was a lot like her in high school (in terms of being more taken with the fantasy of a guy than the reality) and looking at her as a little sister in need of a hug.

The letters were such fun catalyst for letting Lara Jean explore what could’ve been or could be with both Josh and Peter. They each look at her in a different and shocked light and she has to deal with what that means. With Peter, they knew each other as kids and shared an innocent middle school kiss but that was it. He went on to date the most popular girl in school for years and that was that. But when they reconnect over this letter.. for me, Peter was the guy I found myself rooting for. Their interactions are funny and sweet and really evolve throughout the book. With Josh, he’s been one of her best friends, a part of the family and was in a relationship with her older sister Margot for years. He’s off-limits and she knows it. But now that he’s “the ex” and he read her letter, well that’s just hard to forget and it definitely shakes up their relationship.

But despite the title and everything I’ve said so far, this book isn’t all about the boys. It’s also about sisterhood and family. It plays a huge role in fact. Lara Jean is happiest when she’s with her older sister Margot and little sister Kitty. They lost their mom at a young age and it’s been the three of them and their dad ever since. They care of each other and him and vice-versa, of course. It’s clear they have a special bond and it means the world to her. Margot is the older one who has it all together. Kitty is the fierce, outspoken one. And Lara Jean doesn’t quite know who she is or wants to be yet but she starts to figure it out when Margot leaves for college and she’s left to be the “older sister” for a change. I enjoyed seeing the dynamic between three very different sisters who love each other fiercely.

(No) Reservations
None! I read this in one sitting. I could not put it down.

Do I recommend?
I’ve been a fan of Jenny Han’s writing for some time now and I feel like this is her best book yet. There was just something really special about this one for me and hope anyone who reads it will see that too.

Happy reading!

4 comments:

  1. I'm a fan of Jenny Han also! I can't wait to read this, great review <3

    onegirlandonebook.blogspot.com

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  2. This was my first Jenny Han book and it was such a great experience that I can't wait to go back for more! As I type this, I am also multitasking and unpacking Burn For Burn, which I bought a few hours ago. YAY!

    "If I were Lara Jean, there’s a good chance I would run screaming in the other direction and lock myself in my bedroom before facing a boy who has read my innermost thoughts about him." Is that all? Personally, I would have moved to Tibet and changed my name to Pedro...LOL!

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  3. YOUR REVIEW IS PERFECT.

    Okay, so now that I've gotten that out of the way, I have to say that I too think that this is my favorite book of Jenny Han's! I found it so relatable, so fun, so sweet - and I couldn't put it down either (except when I have to). Han managed to capture the relationships - familial, romantic - perfectly! So glad you wound up loving this one too!

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  4. I just skimmed your review because I still have to write mine-- I'm happy to see that you found it as addictive as I did. I'll come back and read this in detail after I have (finally) written my review (it's been about 3 weeks since I finished it... I need to get my rear in gear). I admit that it started off on shaky ground for me, only because I found Lara Jean to be a little bit immature. I kept reading, though, and her character growth is perfect. This book ended up knocking The Summer I Turned Pretty out of first place as my favorite of Jenny's yet :)

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