Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1
Published by Simon & Schuster
Pub Date: April 15th 2014
Format: Hardcover | Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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Lara Jean 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 can pour out her heart and soul and say 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.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the first book in a duology and is told from the perspective of Lara Jean over a period of about 5 months. It’s filled with quick chapters (72 in total) that make the story move along quickly. If you’re looking for an action packed suspenseful read, then this won’t be your cup of tea. However, if you love the “fluff” and are looking for a cutesy YA contemporary, then you’ve picked a winner!
This was my second Jenny Han story and she does not disappoint! Her writing style reminds me a lot of Rainbow Rowell, which I love. This specific story’s concept also reminded me a bit of The DUFF except I enjoyed this one a whole 2 stars more!
Lara Jean is starting her junior year in high school a little different from her previous school years. She is the middle child of three girls and will have to take on a lot more responsibilities at home now that her older sister, Margot, will be leaving to college. Their younger sister, Kitty, completes the trio known as “the Song girls” who live with their widowed father.
Lara Jean has loved 5 boys before, but she’s never had a boyfriend. Writing love letters to these 5 boys has served her as therapy when she falls out of love, except she doesn’t actually give these letters out. She keeps her letters safely stored in a hat box and has never bothered to worry about them getting out. That is until she is approached by her first kiss with one of her letters in hand! Lara Jean now has to figure out how to handle the situation without losing friendships and without having to be home schooled to avoid the embarrassment.
“They’re not love letters in the strictest sense of the word. My letters are for when I don’t want to be in love anymore. They’re for good-bye. Because after I write my letter, I’m no longer consumed by my all-consuming love. My letters set me free. Or at least they’re supposed to.” -Lara Jean
A lot of times I’ll read YA books and cringe at the idea of my high school nieces reading it. I know kids nowadays grow up a lot faster than they did in my day, but I still don’t feel comfortable with giving them 300+ pages of ideas. There’s a gap between middle grade books and new adult that is meant to be filled by the young adult genre, but a lot of times that mark is completely missed. I’ll still enjoy the book, however it’s not something I’ll recommend when my nieces ask for a good book. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the perfect example of a great YA! The Song girls set a great example of girls that aren’t perfect, yet they show respect not only for others, but for themselves.
As the youngest of 7 (1 boy and 6 girls), I absolutely related to the Song girls and their bond! You can make thousands of friendships growing up, but the bond shared between sisters is so much more special. You fight about clothes and chores, but at the end of the day those are your best friends. I loved how close these 3 were and how respectful they were to their dad. They were each mature for the age from the beginning, but still did so much growing up throughout the book. My favorite of the bunch was Kitty! Maybe it’s that she’s also the baby, but that girl has so much spunk. To sum it up, I’m pretty sure the phrase “kids say the darnest things” was created for Kitty!
Most of the time, I’ve heard of a book before going into it so I kind of know what to expect and who will (hopefully) end up with who. That was totally not the case with this book. Some people might have realized it early on, but it didn’t hit me until well past the half way mark! Somehow, that helped me enjoy the story even more.
I’m not usually a fan of duologies that could have been summed up in just one book, but I’m okay with it in this case because I’m looking forward to getting more from characters I really enjoyed. The only thing I wish would’ve been done differently, is that we could’ve got at least a few chapters from our male protagonist’s POV. I would have loved to see things develop from his perspective!
My only recommendation when buying this book is to go ahead and purchase book two, P.S. I Still Love You. There’s just no way you can read the ending of book 1 and not be left wanting to know what happens next. Plus, these covers are beautiful and will look fantastic in your bookshelf!