Advance Reader Copy, 352 pages
Comes out April 15th 2014!!
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all
I first heard about this book when I was at a Jenny Han signing and she talked about this book. The whole concept of writing letters to your crushes and discovering one day that all of your letters have been mailed out to the people you’ve addressed them to seemed like the kind of story that I would want to see being played out. Mostly because even though I love the idea of writing letters by hand I would never ever write letters to my former crushes as I’m more of a take my secrets to my grave kind of girl.
I love Han’s writing having previously read her Summer series, her prose though simple is as always elegant and very beautiful in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. There are so many things that I loved about this book. First and foremost I love how the protagonist is Asian as seen on the cover; Lara Jean is half Asian and half White. I’m always a fan of more diversity in young adult contemporary fiction and it was nice to have a protagonist that I could somewhat relate to in terms of cultural background. Another thing I loved what the portrayal of family in this book. Lara Jean is the middle child having two other sisters and the three are very close though their relationship isn’t always perfect. Like any other siblings they fight, and get annoyed at each other and even do and say things to each other that they later regret. Still it’s obvious that they all love each other very much. I also like the positive portrayal of a single parent family in this book; though their father is sometimes clueless he is a good parent who always means well and is very supportive of all his girls. The book also does a good job of illustrating how hard it is on families when one of the kids is living far from home for school, I could sort of relate as I have siblings who are away at universities that are out of town. The difficulties that Margot (Lara Jean’s older sister) encounters being so far from home and the people she loves is definitely something that my siblings have felt.
Besides the familial relationships in this book there are so many other relationships that are quite well written. For instance despite being very different people, I liked how Lara Jean and Chris were there for each other when one needed the other even though they don’t always hang out on regular basis. As well I am in love with relationship between a certain guy and Lara Jean. While he was initially kind of a jerk, I adored watching him and Lara Jean slowly fall for each other for real. The ending of this advance copy left things between them unresolved but I’m still hoping they’d be able to resolve their misunderstandings in the extended ending of the final version of this book or even in the sequel. Hopefully that’s not just wishful thinking as I liked the fact that Han had taken the less obvious route with the romance in this book. From the way the book initially started off I thought it was headed in one direction but instead it went a whole other, unexpected and in my opinion much better and less stereotypical direction.
And while the identity of who sent out Lara Jean’s letter was pretty much who you’d expect it to be, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is definitely shaping up to be one of my favourite YA reads released in 2014 in addition to Cress by Marissa Meyer. I highly recommend this book if you are a fan of any of Jenny Han’s other books or even if you love a good YA contemporary novel, this is a must read book!
If you like this book, you’ll love: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.