Title: “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, #1)
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Copy: Purchased, Hardcover
My Rating: ★★★★½
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?
Sixteen-year-old 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.
I can’t believe it took me this long to finally read this book because it was lovely and I enjoyed it so much!
Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical about the whole concept of love letters accidentally being sent to their recipients, but also very intrigued. The way it plays out and is explained in the book, however, makes so much sense that any doubts I had were quickly put to rest. The way each letter and boy is revealed throughout the story was adorable and felt completely natural. I also love how with every letter we get a glimpse of Lara Jean’s character during different points in her life, from her very first real crush to her most recent one.
I loved the dynamic between the Song sisters; it seemed so genuine and typical of how most Asian sisters are, especially with how the eldest sister, Margot, took charge after their mother passed away. Out of all the sisters, I could relate to Margot the most because I am also the eldest sister in my family and have been instilled with the sense of responsibility for my siblings since I was young. I admire her dedication to her family and how she’s able to be the ideal older sister, but still have enough of her own flaws to feel realistic and human. I’m pretty sure if Jenny were to write any future books where Margot is the main character I would thoroughly enjoy them, too.
The situation that Lara Jean finds herself in after her love letters are sent was not original whatsoever, but the way Jenny tells the story is so compelling and engaging that I could not help but be enthralled. Even though I already kind of knew where the main plot was heading, I was still captivated and eagerly looking forward to how it all fell into place, especially with the boys in Lara Jean’s life. I really admire her for being so strong and resilient throughout the entire ordeal. I really sympathized with her feelings, too, because I imagine that I would be absolutely mortified if I were in her shoes and would have no idea how I could face my crushes afterwards. It was lovely watching Lara Jean mature a bit and develop a more realistic idea of love and relationships, something I wish I had learned back when I was her age.
I’m so happy that I chose this book as my first one for the Beat the Backlist book challenge because it gave me all the happy and warm feelings. Such a wonderful read to start the new year with! To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a lovely, heartwarming contemporary story about family, love and relationships that I am happily adding to my list of favorite books. I can’t wait to dive into the sequel and find out what happens after that cliffhanger! Highly recommended if you’re looking for a cute contemporary read!
About the Author:
Jenny Han is the New York Times bestselling author of Shug, The Summer I Turned Pretty series, co-author of the Burn for Burn series, and most recently, the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy. She is a former children’s bookseller and children’s librarian. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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