Book Title: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
Book Series: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before book #1
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date Published: April 15, 2014
Genre: Young Adult
Summary: 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 was strolling and doing my usual window shopping at my favorite local bookstore one rainy morning when I spotted this book in one of their shelves. Even when it wasn’t placed at the “featured books shelf” where I usually do my quick rounds whenever I have limited time due to my busy schedule, the book cover got my interest. I was in the mood to read a teeny-romantic-cute book right after I am finished with my errands that afternoon. Ugh, I am totally obsessed with the book cover. So chic and laid back… Just the kind of book I was hoping to read on that chilly-bed-weather day. I hope you won’t find this crazy, but I consider that love at first sight! Ha!
To be fair, I can say that this book has a few misses here and there. However, I can’t entirely say that I didn’t like the story because I did. If I were to give this book a rating and 5 being the highest, I’d say I’d give it a 3.
Note: Spoiler alert down low. Stop reading here if you wish to save the dits for yourselves 🙂
Upon reading the title and book summary, I initially thought Lara (who is maybe just in her mid-teen years) had 5 boyfriends all-in-all which in my old-fashioned view, was kind of not what I was expecting for in a lead role. I’m like “she already had five boyfriends during her teenage years?” Also, having sorted this book out in the Young Adult Reads corner, that was not ideally the kind of character (for me) for the audience it is intended for. Haha
Anyways, I was wrong!! Great lesson learned: Never judge a book by its book title and summary. That is what summaries are for and what reading-the-whole-book-before-you-conclude saying is for anyways! Haha, good job with that Jenny.
Well, those letters are for the boys she had a crush on. She wrote those letters as her means to express her feelings only when she has decided to end her secret feelings for them. She has never confronted those guys about her feelings. She was your typical shy teenage girl who has this low esteem and would rather keep her feelings inside than say it. For her, it’s pointless anyway. She has this mentality that she can switch off her feelings once she has written them down. And for her, it always works. So, she wrote her feelings for each guys she ever liked in a letter together with their addresses and kept it in her box; sort of like a diary kind of thing. It remained a secret not until her little sister, Kitty, mailed them out to those boys when she got mad at her (sibling thing). There were 5 letters sent to 5 boys and 2 of which were the two main guys of the story — Peter and Josh.
I love, I love, I love Lara Jean’s family. She is the middle child of 3 girls. Margot is the eldest and is a year older than her, and Kitty is the youngest and is 7 years younger than her. They are half American-Korean. Their mother, Eve Song, is Korean and died 6 years ago when Lara was only 10. Since then, their father, Doctor Covey, was a single parent to 3 girls. Being left with 3 kids, let alone all girls and 2 of which are about to hit puberty at that time, was kind of a brainer job for Dr. Covey — plus he has to juggle his time between home and work. But needless to say, he did an exceptionally great job raising beautiful young girls after all. Gladly, being the eldest, Margot stepped up to the plate and took charged of their household to help out their father.
It has been a significant plus for me that even when their mother had died long after the story took place, their father still kept their Korean side alive. He doesn’t want his daughters to lose that touch in them. He was also portrayed as a cool dad — which I completely adore. Even with his busy schedule at work, he still makes time for his daughters and bonds with them whenever chance deemed possible. Jenny did a great job establishing the ideal kind of family I may have been longing for. Also, the dynamics between the three sisters are undeniably relatable. Jenny has also done an exceptional job in portraying each characters’ identities well. I am not talking about the three sisters alone, but the whole cast of this story.
What I didn’t like about this book though is the slow pace of Lara’s and Peter’s relationship. I was hoping that Peter, and not Josh, was the main love interest but even until the end of the story, that was never established. I love how the story focused on her family, but so much — it lacked further development or justification of her’s and Peter’s romantic story (much to my disappointment) that the book was consumed more by her and her family’s story and not their’s. Though her family’s story had significant progress, in the end, it became boring eventually because maybe I was hoping for more romance than family drama. What’s even worse was that Peter and her story was cut short (when finally, at last, there was a little progress building up — and yes it took that long) at the end leaving me hanging if Peter was really the one. Maybe, Jenny has chosen that path to pave the way for the sequel PS: I Still Love You (where it might focus more on Lara and Peter’s relationship — or maybe not?). I fear that Lara still has three other boys which Jenny could bring up and you know be the one in the second book. I have invested emotions so much in Peter that it will entirely break my heart if he wasn’t (which could be with the way the story ended). Also, I don’t like the idea that Jenny put a love triangle between Josh-Margot-Lara. Josh is her sister’s ex for crying out loud!!! That somehow stained their family’s typical conservative values that were established in this book.
Anywho, it’s a great read. I recommend. There may be ups and downs in this story as much as any other books do but so far I enjoyed reading it. Hope you do much more than I did.