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.
(Summary from GoodReads)
When I read Jenny Han’s summer trilogy, I knew that I didn’t mind Han’s writing too much, but that I simply hated the plot of that trilogy. I grabbed To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before when it was super cheap on Kindle and read it on my phone over the course of a few months. Lara Jean’s story is utterly adorable, even if it’s not going to top my favorites list anytime soon.
I immediately got a strong sense of who Lara Jean is. Han nails the dynamic between three sisters. From the very first page the reader could easily get a sense of the pecking order in Lara Jean, Margot, and Kitty’s relationship, and you could see how they each interacted with their father. It was nice to see their Korean heritage incorporated into the novel. While elements of their storyline bordered on predictable, it didn’t matter because the sisterhood was so well written. I will say that aside from the interests Han told us Lara Jean had (like scrapbooking) and her love interests, sometimes it felt like Lara Jean didn’t have a major personality outside of her family. However, her relationship with her sisters gradually started to grow, which was great.
I think that over the course of the sequel, Lara Jean will come into her own, and I hope that for her that means more than finding romance. That said, while the romantic plotline was cute, I didn’t feel super invested in either of the love interests. I know that my opinion of the love interests doesn’t change whether or not this book is objectively enjoyable for a teen audience, but it would have helped me enjoy the story more.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a cute contemporary romance, it just wasn’t a standout for me. However, a lot of bloggers have enjoyed this one more than me, and I think teens will enjoy the storyline and the love interests. Definitely pick this one up if you want a quick and charming contemporary novel about romance and family.
Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.