Dear Jenny Han,
Did you know that when you wrote and published To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, I would come to love it?
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is remarkably sweet, sincere, endearing, and absolutely adorkably adorable! The story is so honest and refreshing and the characters are smart and sweet, vulnerable and open! Most of all, I think To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the kind of honest book which appeals to the quirky, awkward inner self i think all of us have inside of us. Never over dramatic, and always sincere and grounded in its telling, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the kind of book I’m willing to go out on a limb for and say that all book-lovers will adore, regardless of genre preferences!
The Quick Catch-Up: Lara-Jean has a simple solution for when she’s in love with a boy and wants to get it out of her system. She writes him a love letter, seals it in an envelope, addresses the envelope…and puts it in a special hatbox, never to be seen again by anyone but her. At least, that was the plan. Until one day, Lara-Jean’s letters accidentally get sent! Now Lara-Jean has to deal with the consequences of all of the boys she’s loved before reading letters meant only for her eyes! What will they do in the wake of this grand teenage tragedy??? More importantly–what will Lara-Jean do???
Honesty and Openness are real keywords here. Han writes this humorous tale so openly and honestly, that you can’t help but fall in love with the story. Lara-Jean is so refreshingly relatable in every moment of the story. Han writes to the awkward, funny, optimistic, curious heart of every teenager (and honestly, every human being) and gets it just right! Her characters are so real and bright, each unique and special in their own way! Her story plays out naturally, her characters evolving in such lovely, wonderful ways, learning from each other and from the situations (both humiliating and hilarious in their own right) perfectly.
I adored Lara-Jean (she’s like Anna from Frozen!) and her evolution as a character. It is the most beautiful thing to see her open up and take new chances and learn what love is! I also loved Peter and his evolution–from his facade of cool-guy bravado, to his big softy core and his patience with Lara-Jean. Their relationship is almost a character in and of itself and its evolution is also one of the sweetest and most sincere (and most humorous!) in YA literature! The supporting characters like Kitty, Margo, and Josh are all brilliant in their own right as well, and you can’t help falling in love with them too and coming to feel as though Lara-Jean’s friends and family are your own friends and family!
I really love that To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before wasn’t just a typical YA romantic comedy. It did focus on the humorous and romantic aspects of Lara-Jean’s life, but that didn’t overshadow the core story. Equal attention was payed to all of the relationships in Lara-Jean’s life–particularly familial–and we got to see how she grew as a human being because of those core relationships, rather than because of any romance. I think this is part of what made the book so real and endearing. It was more about a typical teenage girl discovering who she was and who she wanted to be in the midst of life, than about a teenage girl falling in love. This growth was mirrored in the evolution of her relationships with Margo, Kitty, her father, and, yes, Josh and Peter!
I seriously cannot stress how much I loved this book, and it’s well known that contemporary generally isn’t my thing–BUT THAT’S HOW MUCH I LOVED To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before!!! I heard there’s a sequel and nearly cried tears of joy. I can’t wait to hear more about the adventures of Lara-Jean, Peter, and the Song girls!
The Bottom Line: Buy it, borrow it, get it–you won’t regret it!