Friday, May 2, 2014

Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

To All the Boys I've Loved Before
By Jenny Han
Published: April 15, 2014

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them... all at once?

Lara Jean Song 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 pours out her heart and soul and says 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.

My review:

Lara Jean is the middle child in a family of three sisters, a caring dad and a deceased mom. Her eldest sister Margot is the responsible one who keeps things running smoothly but now she is off to college in Scotland leaving Lara Jean to try to fill her shoes and take care of their younger sister, Kitty. Lara Jean feels woefully inadequate to the task. She is also struggling with some unresolved feelings for Josh, one of her best friends and the boy Margot just broke up with. So when her secret goodbye love letters get mailed, Josh finds out how Lara Jean feels and so does Peter Kavinsky, the on again-off again boyfriend of Lara Jean's ex-best friend Genevieve. To make things even more complicated, Peter decides that he and Lara Jean should pretend to date to make Genevieve jealous and so that Josh will think she has moved on from her crush.

I would say that the romance is actually weaker compared to the other elements. Both of Lara Jean's "love interests" seem less worthy of her though one is better than the other. I did like how Lara Jean and Peter developed a friendship over time but he still seemed to be playing games or just unsure of his own feelings where Genevieve and Lara Jean are concerned. I think this makes Lara Jean feel off balance and not sure where things stand between them and while I found it annoying that there was ambiguity in their relationship perhaps teens would be able to relate to that. I wish the romance had been a little better planned out but it still had an authentic feel to the way teen dating relationships (and even grown up ones) can be confusing.

Lara Jean could seem a little immature and innocent at times for her age and the romance was not quite what I expected but I still liked this book because of Lara Jean and her relationship with her family. I liked how her dad was portrayed in a positive light and how close she was to her sisters. The synopsis of this book makes it sound like it is a contemporary romance and while Lara Jean's romantic predicament is part of the plot, there is much more to the story. Themes of sisterhood, family relationships, failed friendships, facing fears and growing up are all explored. That is what really made the book worth reading for me.

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of Amazon Vine


  1. I'm so glad you liked this one. Jenny Han is one of my favorite authors and I can't wait to read this. I have heard that family plays a major role in this book, which is good to hear. I think we need more of that in YA literature. Great review, Christina!

  2. I haven't actually read any book by Jenny Han yet but I was planning on reading To All the Boys I've Loved Before. I like the synopsis of the book but then I have read mixed reviews on the book. Lara Jean's being Korean-American was something that I was looking forward to reading about. I think so far I have only encountered 3 characters that were Korean or at least part-Korean in YA. Great honest review!

    Precious @ Fragments of Life

  3. I love family dynamics and friendship themes so I think this would work for me too, haven't read anything by Jenny Han but I'm putting this one on my wishlist :)


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