Review: To all the boys I’ve loved before by Jenny Han

Jenny Han FTLara 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.

Initial Thoughts/Reactions by Sophie
A fellow new teen in our teen reading club suggested we read this. This was quite a few month ago. This suggestion was a breath of fresh air after so many dystopian and mystery books. I’m too unmotivated to recommend fantasy and historical stuff. I was not expecting anything dramatic. At first glance, I would consider this a “chick lit” book which I don’t read quite often. Mostly, I’m not interested in books about regular old reality or a dramatic flare of cheesy cliches. But..

I very much admired the calm rather normal atmosphere in the book. It was not cheesy for the most part. Lara Jean was very relatable yet a bit impressionable. The three sisters (Margot, Lara Jean, Kitty) had different personalities and don’t always get along which was good because it made the story better.

I was excited to see all the letters unfold into quite an awkward situation. Through Lara Jean’s life — at home and at school, the timing and the way the story unfolded was perfect.

I’ve never gotten a love letter before. But reading these notes like this, one after the other, it feels like I have… Like everyone else that came before him, they were all to prepare me for this. I think I see the difference now, between loving someone from afar and loving someone up close. When you see them up close, you see the real them, but they also get to see the real you…

Main/Secondary Character Thoughts
I understood the pressure and distances Margot felt away from her family. Off at college and everything at home is changing without you. Though I was frustrated at her for accusing Lara Jean of things and making the situation worse. I’m glad Margot witnessed her family becoming more independent and working as a family without her help. I know she felt comfortable being the pillar of family support so it was nice to see that the pressures Margot felt was gone.

Peter Kavinsky was a good portrayal of that boy you used to know as a great guy. Inside, he still is that great guy. It made sense that Peter still had feeling for Genevieve because she was his first. I liked how he was honest and very adaptive to a situation. He just understood things and still kept a unique personality. He was a bit annoying at first but I liked he wasn’t perfect.

Josh. Josh. Josh. At first, I thought I really knew him. You know, the nice guy next door. He comes over for food, hangs out to watch movies, and is nice overall. Lara Jean claims she had a crush on him first and when it was suddenly announced Margot and Josh were dating, Lara Jean backed off with or without feelings attached. His appearances frequently and increasingly made me annoyed. With Margot gone off to Scotland, Josh sways back and forth. He played with feelings and ultimately didn’t speak up.

A scene I liked/disliked
1.I liked the situation between Lara Jean and Genevieve. I could relate to the fact that your childhood friend became someone you no longer talked to in high school.

2.When Margot came back from Scotland and feelings and revelations poured out during a Christmas party, the drama and frustration were full force. Usually I’m turned off by so much drama but up to reading to this point, I was ready for the drama.

3.I was frustrated by the way Lara Jean’s father didn’t believe Lara Jean. Lara Jean poured out her frustration yet she was weak to Margot’s accusations. I wanted her to be stronger because I would’ve cried too out of frustration for not being believed and trusted by a parent. By then I became 100% committed in Lara Jean’s life turning out better. So, good job author!

Peter’s eyes widen. “McClaren? When did you like him?”
“Eighth grade”
‘I thought you liked me in eighth grade!”
“There may have been a little bit of overlap,” I admit. Stirring my straw, I say, “There was this one time, in gym…he and I had to pick up all the soccer balls, and it started to rain…” I sigh. “It was probably the most romantic thing that ever happened to me.”
“What is it with girls and rain?” Peter wonders.
“I don’t know…I guess maybe because everything feels more dramatic in the rain,” I say with a shrug.

Questions I have/Final Thoughts
The librarian who read the book with us also agreed with me about the revelation of the person who exposed all the letters. My fantasy self was coming up with wacky answers. It came to the point where I thought the Dad did it. I know, ridiculous right? But I didn’t see how Lara Jean couldn’t figure it out. Seriously, two other people live with you Lara Jean! I kept saying to myself, “It can’t be this easy. There has got to be a mysterious ghost/paranormal side to this or something.” Like Freaky Friday weird stuff but alas… no.

I’m glad there is a continuation of this book. Nothing was really rushed and I’m inclined to read the next book which I have right now on my desk (next to 3 other books I need to read).

Rating or Recommendation
For a light hearted teen book about family and crushes, 5 out of 5. It was fun yet not adrenaline exciting. It was light yet detailed. Something easy to read and enjoy on a nice laid back day. I’m undecided whether I would put this on my bookshelf permanently. It is not really my taste. I would definitely recommend this book for people I know who like this books though. In fact when I was reading this in class, people asked me about the book and some even said they loved it.

So, I wouldn’t put it on my shelf permanently, I would recommended to people I know. It would be in my mind for a lighthearted book for teens.

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3 responses to “Review: To all the boys I’ve loved before by Jenny Han

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