Thursday, April 14, 2016

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (Laura)

Romantic Lara Jean has written a love letter to each of the five boys she has secretly liked when she needed to get over them. She kept the letters in a hatbox for years, until one day when all the letters are accidentally mailed. Now Lara Jean must deal with a busier love life than she ever imagined.

When I heard about this book, I knew I needed to read it.

Not only did it sound fun and devastatingly humiliating, but I immediately related to Lara Jean and her secret romantic tendencies and lack of bravery in that area. In middle school and high school, my sister had the ever-fluctuating Top Ten list of cute boys, whereas I had one boy I liked for the whole year and would never tell anyone. That would have been the end of the world, and I was never in love with my sister's boyfriend like Lara Jean is in this story. I wish that particular letter had appeared in the book, but for some reason it never did. The overlapping love triangles pulled my heart right out. I was originally rooting for a different love match than Lara Jean ultimately chose, but the end of the book felt right and natural for that moment in her life. I was also grateful to see her sister begin to express her feelings. The sister story really becomes the important relationship to watch in the end.

Lara Jean, her family members and friends, and the boys in her life felt real in the most specific of details. I love how, despite the fact that Lara Jean is far from perfect, her character emanated love and good intentions, even as she was having teenage and sisterly mess-ups left and right. She was adorably, unapologetically emotional and "fancy"--I think this book made that my new favorite word. It sometimes seems like there is a concept that strong female characters are tomboys, like being "like a boy" makes you better somehow. And while a strong female character certainly can be a tomboy, the point is that she is like herself, whatever that means. Though at times Lara Jean tries to hide her feelings, she spills over the edges and can't help but be herself. And when she realizes she has let fear stop her, she faces it. She and her dilemma were delightfully, painfully refreshing. I had an ever-ready giggle, along with my heart, at the back of my throat the entire time I read.

A quick, fun read that stung in just the right way to wake me up and make me care deeply, this was my first Jenny Han book, and I think I'm ready for another. Good thing there is a sequel!

How would you react if all your secret love letters from the past were mailed?


To All the Boys I've Loved Before:


  1. Thanks, Laura! To be honest, this is a book I would never pick up off the shelf, but your review made me rethink. . . thanks for a new perspective!

  2. Great post, Laura! I don't typically read much contemporary, but this sounds like it would definitely be worth checking out! I don't think I ever wrote any love letters to my middle school / high school crushes, but I definitely would've been mortified if they had found out. Instead of making my love life more interesting as it did for Lara Jean, I think it would've just made for a lot of awkwardness and embarrassment for everyone involved :) I did write an angry note to one of my crushes one time, thank goodness he never saw it!

  3. Thanks for reading, Erin and Laurie! Laurie, I'm with you. I never wrote any love letters, but if I had and if they had been sent, it would have just made for some serious awkwardness. :)


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