To All the Boys I've Loved Before

(To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1, By: Jenny Han)

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.

Published April 15th 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

REVIEW:

I gave this book 3 stars. I loved that this story transported me back to my teenage years and what it was like to lust after boys. It was a quick and easy read that was whimsy and heartfelt without being too heavy. The premise of the story was interesting, and the plot wasn’t terribly predictable, but it also wasn’t anything extraordinary.

My favorite aspect of this book was the way in which it explored lust and the vulnerability required to experience connection and love for the first time. The character growth was quite dramatic for Lara Jean and while she felt a bit young, her change was relevant. Through her character I was able to relive the tenderness that you experience as a teenager when you allow yourself to be fully seen by another person. The all too familiar questions of young love swirled throughout this book: Will they like me if I’m fully myself around them? Are they who I think they are? Will things change when I let my guard down? Do I only like them as I image them from a distance?

I also really appreciated the family bonds that were highlighted in this story. The sisterly turmoil and love added a layer of complexity, even if it was a bit generic at times. Kitty (the youngest sister) was such a lively character, she made up for a handful of other characters who fell a bit flat. At times Lara Jean’s behavior was childish, but I took that as an intentional aspect of her character (which allowed her more growth).

Overall, this was an easy read that explored young love and kept me flipping through the pages to see what would happen. That being said, I wanted a bit more juicy drama (the letters were a bit lackluster in my opinion) and I could have done with a more mature main character.


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