Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Buy This Book: Book Depository / Amazon
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.
This review is really hard for me to write because I don't want to give away anything. I feel like the synopsis doesn't really tell you much about this wonderful book and I don't want to be the person who ruins even one thing for you. So I obviously will keep my review a little vague and won't be able to go into a ton of detail. Not knowing very much other than the fact her letters get posted was the best way to go into this book, everything was a pleasant surprise.
I had read and loved Jenny Han's Summer series, and seriously recommend that to all, but I admit to being a little nervous about To All The Boys. I was nervous that I wouldn't enjoy it as much or I would be let down or disappointed by it. Well, it's safe to say that it exceeded all my expectations and I was wrong to doubt Han even a little bit. She gave me an exceptional reading experience and a book I was practically unable to put down until it was finished. And even then all she did was leave me craving more.
I had some problems initially and struggled to get into the book. It was the writing style I think, I'm not even sure how to describe it other than to say it felt a little choppy. It didn't flow and that made it a little harder to read and get lost in. But, after a few chapters it started to really work for me and I didn't notice it as much, it just felt like the writing style complemented Lara Jean and her personality perfectly. The one issue I had with the book suddenly turned into something else I really loved about it.
Lara Jean was a character I came to really love and admire. She knew exactly who she was and she wasn't afraid to admit it or be herself. Who doesn't love that in a character? She wasn't one for going out all the time or hooking up with guys. She'd rather be indoors, baking and hanging out with her family. I did find Lara Jean to be a little childlike at times, she is quite young for her age but I found that endearing about her. I did hate the way Lara Jean and her sisters still referred to their parents as Mummy and Daddy; seriously, she's seventeen and by that age it just comes across as a little creepy and not cute. Overall though, I adored Lara Jean and I completely loved her name too.
This wasn't just a cute romantic read, which was what I had first assumed it would be. This had such a brilliant focus on family and I loved getting to know Lara Jean and her relationship to her two sisters and her father. It's nice to find a YA book where family plays such a central role to the story, where it's really important and not just in the background. Her little sister Kitty was adorable, loveable and had her exceptionally annoying moments that, if you have sisters, you will recognise and laugh at. It was the moments with her family, which were utterly realistic, that really solidified my love for this book.
The romance in this was completely spot on for me, Jenny Han just does it so wonderfully that you find yourself falling right along with Lara Jean. It's not a romance that just appears out of nowhere, or suddenly occurs within the first 100 pages. This is definitely a slow building romance and I think that was what I liked most of all. I didn't find the story predictable either, although one thing I did figure out right from the very beginning and it surprised me that Lara Jean took till the end of the book to realise it, but other than that this was filled with so many pleasant surprises in terms of the story.
I don't know if you have been able to tell yet, but I fell head-over-heels in love with this book. The ending just left me wanting to cry in frustration because I need more. I had thought this was a standalone, but once I reached the end it was plain to see it wasn't. After adoring this book so much, I can't actually wait to get my hands on the next one, seriously I need it now. How can I be expected to wait for a sequel? Part of me wishes this was a standalone, it doesn't need anything else other than the ending that was missing from this one. If it had provided me with that then I would have been one hundred per cent satisfied that storyline alone. Part of me worries that a sequel will ruin it for me, that it will add in unnecessary drama and ruin the amazing, wonderful, brilliant, awesomeness that was To All The Boys I've Loved Before. But, who am I to doubt the talented Jenny Han when she provided me with such a glorious reading experience. Bring on book two!
I struggled at the very beginning with the writing style, but quickly came to love it. By the end it was hard to see what had even bothered me about it to begin with. I was swept up in this story and the romance was utterly adorable to me. I would have been completely satisfied with one book if this had a conclusion to it, but I am beyond excited for book two. I need more Lara Jean and I need more of her love interest, as I said I won't spoil anything. I hope you all read and love this book as much as I did, but be prepared for the cliffhanger ending and the urgent need to get your hands on the sequel. I'm practically forcing myself to not pick up this book and start it all over again!