To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Love Letters with Heart

Monday, July 23, 2018


To All the Boys I’ve Love Before by Jenny Han


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ABOUT the BOOK
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 2014
Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, 1
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary YA, Secular
Source: Hardcover Buy
FIND the BOOK ELSEWHERE: Amazon | Goodreads
FIND the REVIEW ELSEWHERE:
Amazon | Blogger | Goodreads | Wordpress
Rating: ★★★★

THE STORY | Lara Jean Song carries and suppresses a serious crush on the handsome boy next door. Though she knows him quite well, Josh is a year older than Lara Jean, but it’s not their age that’s the barrier to a would-be romance. Rather, it’s the very important fact that Josh dates Lara Jean’s elder sister, Margot. But as Margot is heading off to college, she decides it’s best she and Josh break it off. Suddenly, for the boy who was once an integral part of the Song household, things are awkward.


Things become complicated when, suddenly, five letters Lara Jean once wrote are mailed to five individual recipients. These recipients are the five boys she’s had crushes on over the years… one of whom is Josh, and another is her first kiss, a boy named Peter.

THE REVIEW | If I think back on all of the book memes or book tags I’ve participated, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has been featured a lot here. Sadly, none of these features has been because I’ve actually read this novel. All it has done is sit on my shelf and look pretty. (Which it has done so very well.) The must-read-now turning point is when news broke Netflix would air the film adaptation in August. This news is all the incentive this bookworm needed.

A year (or better) ago, I did begin to read this novel, only to set it aside when review books had to take priority. Nonetheless, even in those first few pages, I “knew” this book was going to be this girl’s cup of tea. While reading it this year, the more pages and chapters that fly by, the more any lingering reservations fell away. The story is a kind of magic contemporary fiction doesn’t always capture. Primary reason for this is because of the old-fashioned charms of this plot. In short, I’ll spoil this review by saying, this book surpasses expectations.

There is so much to love about this novel that I’m at a loss as to where to begin. Let’s say, its heroine. Lara Jean Song Covey is without question one of the cutest YA heroines I’ve met. It’s not because she’s bold or outgoing or shy or bookish or any of the typical stereotypes characters are saddled with. No, it’s because she’s ordinary. This I don’t say as a dispositive or as an insult to Lara Jean, but rather as a good thing. She’s special because of who she is, and for the most part, this translates to little drama. Something I can appreciate.
“Love is scary: it changes; it can go away. That's the part of the risk. I don't want to be scared anymore.” - Jenny Han
The book does take the romances back and forth and leaves them “off and on” more than once, but overall this doesn’t harm the story. There is one point in the romantic entanglements that I wish hadn’t been smoothed out given that a few pages later, this fragile thread snaps, but overall, the book is near YA perfection. Important to the story is the bond between sisters, and this one is sweet. Some of the moments even elicit a kind of Little Women feel.

It’s in the details of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before that this one shines. Whether it’s the idiosyncrasies or the cuteness of Lara Jean’s “love letters,” it’s not difficult to understand this novel’s popularity. It’s a love letter sure to remain on my shelf. ♥

Content: this is secular YA fiction, and as such, the content allows profanity (including 3-5 uses of the f-word), and some minor conversation about having sex.

12 comments

  1. I love this book. I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I read it a couple years ago, but I fell in love with the story and the characters. I love seeing Lara Jean develop as the story continues in the following books. This book will always have a special place in my heart. Thanks for sharing your wonderful review.

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    1. I love this one too, Abby - and hope in the not too distant future to read the follow up books. They too look amazing. :)

      Really glad to know Lara Jean experiences growth in the series. That's always a sign of good writing.

      Thanks so much for your kind words. :)

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  2. I just finished reading this last week (and because of Netflix, too)! I adored Lara Jean and her ordinariness. I read the second book immediately, and just picked up the third. I'm glad I finally got around to this.
    Dani @ The Restricted Section

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    1. ME TOO!! Like you, I'm so glad I finally discovered this one, and in fact, cannot wait to read more about Lara Jean in the second and third novels. :)

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  3. Yay, I'm so happy you read this and loved it! I just finished my re-read myself and I'm so excited for the movie adaptation now! :)

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    1. How fun! I'm glad you enjoyed a re-read. Like you I cannot wait to see the adaptation, and hope it's as charming as the book. :)

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  4. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. I'm very fond of Lara Jean and love that we get her relationship with her sisters in this one too. Thinking of rereading this favorite before the movie. Great review!

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    1. Thanks, and me too, Alicia. Lara Jean is a fabulous character and of course, I love the bond she has with her family. :)

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  5. I don't read a lot of YA, but this book sounds so cute! And what a stunning cover.

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    1. Isn't it stunning? I love all those vintage vibes. :)

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  6. Yayy I am so glad you enjoyed it! I agree, it's that Lara Jean feels so relatable that makes this book such a win. Because she is rather ordinary, in that I think a lot of people can see themselves in her. I really loved the sisterly bonds too! Such a lovely series, excited for the Netflix adaptation too!

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    1. LOVE the sister bonds, too. It's one of the unique qualifiers of this novel. I love that Lara Jean is so relatable and her vintage aesthetic. Like you, I think this will be a lovely Netflix movie - and as well as it, I look forward to reading book two!! :)

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