Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

 

Rating: ★★★

Losing a parent at a young age is not easy for anybody. That’s why Lara Jean takes extra care of the hatbox her mom left behind after she passed away. Lara Jean stores all of her prized possessions within that hatbox, including letters to former crushes. Until one day, those letters mysteriously get sent out to their intended recipients and Lara Jean has to deal with the (embarrassing) consequences.

16-year-old Lara Jean lives at home with her single dad and two sisters, Margot, who is considered ‘the rock’ of the family because she creates a cohesive and harmonious atmosphere for her family, and Kitty, the youngest of the trio. With Margot going off to college, it throws the family for a loop since Margot is like a mother to her two sisters.

I would have literally died if that had happened to me in high school. You already get tongue-tied while talking to your crush so imagine what it would be like if he or she reads a letter detailing your true feelings for them! THE HORROR.

The book was a fairly easy read. I haven’t read a YA contemporary romance since I was a teenager myself, but I was surprised to find myself enjoying bits of the book. I found myself relating a lot to Margot because I am the oldest of all of my cousins on both sides of the family, so people expect me to be the responsible, all-knowing one, which can lead to a lot of stress at times. Also, Han refers to a lot of Asian products of which I am familiar with. However, there were parts where I couldn’t bring myself to give it a full 5 star rating. For instance, Lara Jean’s character is the stereotypical innocent, good girl that we see a lot of in YA books. Her personality became cloyingly naive as we venture further into the novel. I think if Han lowered Lara Jean’s age to about 14, it would have been more believable.

Another downside to the book is Lara Jean’s encounters with Josh, one of her love interests. Josh is a little bit older than Lara Jean, they’ve been neighbors for who-knows-how-long, and he is Margot’s boyfriend. Let’s just let that sink in.  I think that whole bit was disturbing. There was a part in the book where it was mentioned that both Lara Jean and Kitty had crushes on Josh… which probably has to do with the fact that he is over at their house all the time so they start to view him as a romantic interest.

This book does have a sequel, which I don’t think it was absolutely necessary for a sequel to be written, and I’ve heard very mixed reviews about the sequel, but if I come across it in the library, I will probably go ahead and read it.

SPOILER — READ AT OWN RISK

Kissing your sister’s boyfriend is high on the Do Not Ever Do list. I see so many reviews saying this book is ultra cute (is that a hip term anymore? was it even hip?), but I found that the Josh/Lara Jean deal was troubling. I mean, I don’t think I would ever forgive my boyfriend and my sister for kissing (and God forbid, anything MORE than kissing).

SPOILER OVER

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