Title: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Series: Book #1 in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before duology
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: January 1, 2014
Genres: Young Adult – Contemporary, Romance
Format: Purchased Signed Hardcover
“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han is a story about a girl named Lara Jean who writes love letters to every boy she’s ever loved – five in all. She pours out all her feelings into these letters, but never sends them; they’re written as a means to an end, a way for her to say good-bye, even though the boy never knows that she liked him to begin with. One day her letters are somehow sent out and soon she’s set in a whirlwind situation that she never hoped would happen.
When I first read the premise for this book, I thought that it was really unique and cool. We were all teenagers once (or are…or will be) and so we know what it’s like to have crushes, to be infatuated with someone and wish we could tell them everything we feel about them. Well, I know I have, anyway, and so when I first picked up this book I was very excited to read it.
It was really hard to get into at first. Han’s writing style is different than what I expected and the story itself at the beginning just seemed slow. It took me probably about 50-75 pages to really get into it before I felt like the story was picking up and moving along.
Throughout the book I noticed a lot of typos of extra words being placed in sentences that didn’t need to be there or lines that didn’t make any sense whatsoever. Whoever edited the book didn’t do a superb job on it, but oh well.
The story itself was cute. It kind of reminded me of stories where people pretend to date and really don’t like each other, but over time, emotions do become real and things go down. Some of it kept me guessing, some of it was reminiscent of my high school days (which I don’t miss), and some of it was heartwarming, funny, and romantic.
Lara Jean herself is an interesting girl I could see myself being friends with if she were real. She’s quirky, artistic, funny, creative. But she has her weak points of sometimes being oblivious or letting her emotions reign over herself. She seems like a pretty average teenage girl, really.
Her sisters, Kitty (the little sister) and Margot (the older), are both unique individuals, as well, and play their role as the must-take-care-of-everything older sister and the can-get-away-with-anything younger sister. Seeing it through the perspective of Lara Jean’s eyes, though, we obviously don’t get an extreme depth or perception of these other girls, but the basic nuts and bolts are there.
Josh, the boy next door, is super sweet and nice. I thought he was very… well, I found him predictable, like Lara Jean did in the story. But sometimes I saw more and was happily satisfied with how he acted, other times I didn’t like it much.
Peter is how I would envision when I imagine jerk jocks, but then there’s always the side you find later on because you don’t know the person and discover how they act and who they really are over time. From afar, he acts stupid. Up close, he’s actually quite charming.
I don’t like Genevieve.
All in all, the characters each had their own flaws and unique characteristics that made them believable throughout the story. Can I also just mention that a lot of these names, especially for the girls, are weird? Not in a bad way, but just really unique. I thought it was weird to read it in a contemporary novel, but I guess it’s also refreshing to see such unique names in a real place setting.
The plot itself seemed like it would drag on at times, especially at the beginning, but as I read on I was more and more engulfed in the story and wanted to see how it played out. I realize that this is the first book in a trilogy (I think its a trilogy), and I really hope we get to see what happens next between Lara Jean and Peter because I have a few theories that I want to see if they get played out or not.
Overall, this book was fun and cute and definitely reminiscent of high school, first loves, and all the drama in between.
I rate this book 4/5 stars.