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.
I just loved Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. A big, full, book case heart for this one, great cover art, perfect YA novel within. My only regret, that I didn’t read it when I was a teenager myself! Shame I can’t time travel back to do a bit of reading. Anyway I’m still in touch with that side of me, my teenage self is still there somewhere deep in the layers of my enforced adulthood!
The initial idea behind the book, the hidden letters to her crushes, is a simple concept but the way Jenny Han develops upon this and draws us into the story is just wonderful. Lara Jean’s relationship with her older sister Margo begins to change when Margo goes off to University in Scotland and dumps her boyfriend Josh just before she goes. Lara is shocked, Josh is like one of the family and everyone loves him, and when I say love him, I mean love him. She finds herself now taking the role of “big sister” to her younger sister Kitty, who is wise beyond her years. I love how Jenny Han expresses Lara Jean’s confusion and distress at her new role by placing her behind a steering wheel and making her face her fears. Okay so it’s a bit of a disaster, she doesn’t manage to do everything perfectly like Margo does but that’s what makes her so endearing. She isn’t Miss Popularity. She isn’t Miss Confident, but none of that matters because she is Lara Jean, and Lara Jean is infinitely more likeable than some overconfident, pretentious girl. I found the relationships between the sisters so touching, probably because it spoke to me personally as I have an older daughter going off to University this September and both of my girls will be affected by the change. Jenny Han writes about the bonds, and dynamics of sisterly relationships with such humour and empathy. The fake relationship between Lara and Peter is perfectly written. Peter’s character evolves so naturally. I can’t find fault with any aspect of the book, the dialogue, and every single one of the characters are so convincing that by the end of the book it was almost as if Lara Jean and her family and friends live and breathe. In the beginning her fake boyfriend Peter doesn’t seem the right choice for her, but by the end of the book he steals the show from Josh. There are sad elements of the novel, that tug at your heartstrings but there are also happy and laugh out loud moments. In fact if there is a moral to this story it is that you can rise above the worst things that can happen to you, (her mother’s death), if you have one simple ingredient, a loving family that pulls together. It just encapsulates life’s up and downs in such a lovely, sweet way. It is without doubt one of my favourite YA novels to date. Oh, and the references to Korean food well that just sealed the deal for me, yum, yum.
As to the ending well let’s just say thank goodness there’s going to be a sequel, or we’d have to get a petition letter out there to Jenny Han super pronto!
I would highly recommend, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, 100% to readers of YA, Contemporary, romance.
My star rating, well of course it has to be an excellent, well deserved 5 stars!
“When someone’s been gone a long time, at first you save up all the things you want to tell them. You try to keep track of everything in your head. But it’s like trying to hold on to a fistful of sand: all the little bits slip out of your hands, and then you’re just clutching air and grit.”
”If love is like a possession, maybe my letter are like my exorcisms.”
“I wonder what it’s like to have that much power over a boy. I don’t think I’d want it; it’s a lot of responsibility to hold a person’s heart in your hands.”
“I delete the picture of him from my phone; I delete his number. I think that if I just delete him enough, it will be like none of it ever happened and my heart won’t hurt so badly.”
“Margot would say she belongs to herself. Kitty would say she belongs to no one. And I guess I would say I belong to my sisters and my dad, but that won’t always be true. To belong to someone—I didn’t know it, but now that I think about, it seems like that’s all I’ve ever wanted. To really be somebody’s, and to have them be mine.”
“If you were mine, I would never have broken up with you, not in a million years.”
Authors website: http://dearjennyhan.com/
Have you read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before? Do leave a comment below I’d love to hear from you.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx