To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han | Book Review + Discussion

Title: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Publication: April 15th 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Format: International Paperback Edition, 355 pages
Source: Personal Purchase from National Bookstore

Plot in a Nutshell:

Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control in this heartfelt novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series.

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

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.

– Synopsis from Goodreads

Thoughts in General:

If you look at the book, you will surely get the impression that it is going to be incredibly light, fluffy and girly. If that is your your assumption about this book then you won’t be disappointed. I was really hesitant in picking it up for the reason I said above. The cover (although it is a stunning and incredible cover) felt a little out of my comfort zone (says the guy who reads Chick Lit). However, since Jenny Han will be having a book signing event in Manila and a lot of Booktubers and bloggers are thoroughly raving about this book, I decided to give it a shot. I am so thankful that I did it.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han made me feel happy, giddy and warm inside (the essentials of making me satisfied with a fluffy contemporary). Although there were totally glacial paces in the story, I felt like that it was still interesting. The characters were good and I like how the book isn’t just about a typical love story. It touched the themes of siblings (particularly sisters) family and even death (no it’s not that kind of book). Over-all I enjoyed the writing style of Jenny Han because of how she made me feel, like Lara Jean was a  real person. 

Thoughts in Details (CONTAINS SPOILERS + DISCUSSION):
Characters

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before was written in the First Person POV of our main character Lara Jean Song Covey (that’s a mouthful). 
I enjoyed reading about our heroine because she does remind me of my own introvert self. She is the type of character that people will either love or hate. Peter Kavinsky perfectly summarized her entirety by saying that she is “quirky.” The way she thinks and speak was surprisingly charming. Her innocence made me smile and annoyed at certain times. I related with her preference of staying at home and bonding with her family rather than going out to parties and experiencing new things (which reminded me of Cath from Fangirl BTW). Then, when she realized that she is too cooped up within her comfort zone, I heard that message loud and clear. Her character development wasn’t spectacular, but you get to see how she has grown into her own person and how she became more resilient and experienced than her previous self. 
Then we have Peter Kavinsky who was the polar opposite of Lara Jean. I found him really down-to-earth and real compared to Lara. He was your normal young adult popular jock, who went to parties and being a regular dude. That’s why there chemistry together is so tangible. There were moments that he became sweet to Lara Jean which was really nice to see. Although it frustrated me, how attached he was with Genevieve and sometimes I felt like, Lara Jean was just digging herself into a hole that she could never get out of as she further explore their “relationship.” I also was pissed when he didn’t text or call Lara Jean after that skiing debacle. Nonetheless I am really happy with him becoming the leading man. 
Lara Jean’s family is probably the treasure of this book. The dynamic between her, Margot, and Kitty was done in an authentic way.

Margot was portrayed as the typical responsible and, sometimes, overbearing big sister. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Margot because she seemed to be too perfect, prissy and such a total goody-goody. And the way she broke up with Josh was just way too harsh. However, I began to see that she is a good character when Christmas came and she just got back home from Scotland. I witnessed the fact that Lara Jean and Margot’s relationship wasn’t as perfect as I first assumed. She suddenly became more human to me by the end of that confrontation and I understood where she personally came from.    
Kitty was probably my favorite character in the entire novel. She was so sweet, witty, cool, and the things she says were laugh out loud funny. I knew that she was the one responsible for the “plot progression” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Mr. Covey (a.k.a Daddy) was such a good dad. He was so nice, supportive and totally loving. His efforts in connecting his daughters to their Korean heritage was a nice touch (even though it did not end up to what they expected). I also liked how he gave Lara Jean the “talk” and how he was sort of cool with what was between her and Peter. I found that scene awkward yet funny. 
I could only imagine what it would have been like if his wife was still alive but from what I could gather they would be such a picture perfect family.
Josh was an okay character for me. He did made the book interesting but, truth be told, I kind of felt like he was just there. He was bland and really not that interesting, but I know that the book will still be lost without him (I know this doesn’t make any sense and I apologize). Chris, Lara Jean’s wild BFF, reminded me so much of my own best friend and our own dynamic. I like how she doesn’t give a damn about anybody’s opinion but her own and how it complimented Lara Jean’s simple attitude. 
Story
The thing that really stood out to me while I read this book, was the fact that it felt like a Jane Austen novel. The misunderstanding and drama it had felt like it was modern novel written by the classical writer. The focus on sisterhood and parental lost was really touching and it groomed the plot of the novel. 
Then we have the “relationship” of Lara Jean and Peter which was so adorable and at the same time very aggravating. I wanted to shake the two of them to make them realize that they were falling for each other. Also, I found Lara Jean’s affections for Josh wasn’t authentic because it blatantly felt like infatuation and not love.
There were moments in the book that I felt that it slowed down the pacing of it (scenes of them having dinner or something) but I still found the book enjoyable and satisfying. I also found that the “love letters being sent out” plot line (which has been so heavily hyped up) suddenly took a back seat and it didn’t blow up into the proportions I was thinking of. The ending didn’t really made a forceful impact on me, considering that it is a cliff-hanger but I am still going to wait patiently for the next installment in Lara Jean’s story. 
Rating:
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before deserves a…
Actual (Star) Rating: 4.5 stars
It is not mind-blowing literature, but it is a really great fluffy read that will make you happy.
Have you read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before? What did you guys think of it? 
Happy Reading,
     
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