Love is scary: it changes; it can go away. That’s part of the risk. I don’t want to be scared anymore. Lara Jean ~ To all the boy I’ve Loved Before
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance Page Count: 355
Author: Jenny Han
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes. Instead, she wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. One day, Lara Jean finds out that her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her past crushes to confront her about them: 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.
I had just finished watching a movie on Netflix with my family when a trailer for a new movie popped up called: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. I have five brothers and a dad and they all made fun of the trailer when they saw it — because well, their typical boys. ( Love? What? Eww… ) I laughed with them, but secretly I was thinking about how I marked the book the movie was based on as my ‘to read’ list just a week ago on Goodreads.
My mom came up to me later that same week and asked me if I and my sister wanted to read this great book she’d read before so we could watch the movie together. I asked her what it was called and she said: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. That was it. This book kept popping up, I was going to read it!
I started the book and instantly fell in love with it. The first thing I noticed was the writing was excellent, smooth and charismatic. The dialogue and gestures were the best part. They were so believable! I delve into another world that was absorbing and charming, but also casual.
Lara Jean (main protagonist) has the typical school life — and I know that’s probably overdone and might sound boring, but her life and the character were super relatable. (which was really nice) Things happened all the time that I honestly didn’t expect. I was constantly wondering what would happen next, constantly finding myself interested in the relationships between the characters and smiling to myself or laughing out loud many times at something funny or embarrassing that happened to Lara Jean or that she said.
The plot is about a sixteen year-old girl that has to deal with the problem that the letters she once wrote to all her past crushes have been sent. Most of it is just characters interacting and confronting each other, but it honestly didn’t have me bored for a minute.
The characters were so real, funny and interesting. Josh — Lara Jean’s past crush and sister’s ex-boyfriend — was perfect — but yet, he wasn’t that annoying, typical perfect you come across in most YA’s. He was the kind of perfect that I could see being a person and same went for Peter, the popular boy that wasn’t as bad as everyone thought. The writer pulled their characters off so well to the point where I could see them being real people. (what am I saying, of course they’re real, this is a book. Wink, wink)
I only had two issues with this book: One, homosexuals are borderline encouraged, and two, Lara Jean is terrified of her own feelings and lies causing problems for herself. Don’t get me wrong! I thought Lara Jean was an awesome protagonist. She was funny, relatable and someone I really felt like I could root for, but she was unbelievably terrified of her own feelings. So much so, that it caused her to do stupid stuff. She didn’t whine, like most main characters, but I found that scared-of-own-feelings aspect of her to be a little frustrating.
My sister and I did a race to see who would finish this book first. I started off a couple of chapters ahead of her for awhile, but she eventually caught up and I have to admit she beat me. It was fun reading it with her and my mom and talking about it with them. I realized in reading this book that I’d forgotten what it was like to read a good YA novel. I really enjoyed reading it with my sister and mom and I’m excited to read the second book. I haven’t yet watched the movie with them, but I plan to soon and I can’t wait to compare the book with it!
(1 for ‘hardly any’ and 10 for ‘seriously?’)
This book is technically a, “romance” but there wasn’t a whole lot of kissing or touching. There was more: mentioning sex, mentioning STD’s, mentioning a bra swipe, a striptease, or joking about something like a tattoo on someone’s rear. All these things were mentioned but never described in detail. Just talked about subtlety and casually.
There were a few kisses throughout the book, but they were always quick. There was only one near the end that was passionate.
(1 for ‘hardly any’ and 10 for ‘constant cussing’.)
Language was another story. God’s name is taken in vain in only one way but it’s often: oh my ___. There were other words like: beoch, (I honestly have to say that every time this one was used it was kind of funny) hell, a*s, sh*t, di*khole, dou*he, and the f word a few times.
(1 for ‘hardly any’ and 10 for ‘graphic violence’.)
Unless you consider guys pushing each other around a little violence, there was none.
Drinking, drugs or smoking: 3-10
(1 for ‘hardly any’ and 10 for ‘constant use’.)
One of the main characters drank a lot on school and smuggled drinks during school trips.
A Homosexual is mentioned and prevalent in the story.