Title: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Age group: 12 years and up | Young Adult Contemporary
In this lighthearted love story, Lara Jean keeps her love letters conveniently hidden in a hatbox. These are no ordinary love letters. They’re love letters that she wrote herself to boys she crushed on except they were meant for her eyes only. That is, until a few of those letters are accidentally mailed.
Let me begin by saying that I loved this book.
It’s not easy to please every single young adult reader out there. It’s difficult, but in this particular book, author Jenny Han introduces credible and fully realized characters. Characters that make you want to cheer them on and see them succeed.
Lara Jean is a middle child, going through high school. Her older sister is away attending college for the first time, and she has a younger sister who acts like any other younger sister. The high stakes in this plot could easily happen to anyone in the real world, which is why I believe it connects very well with young adult readers.
Since a few of her love letters were mailed out, readers become easily addicted to what happens to Lara Jean and her hilarious attempt to explain to her former crushes what she meant by those letters. Two of Lara Jean’s crushes, Peter and Josh, however, take her crush seriously. That’s when the plot becomes even more addictive and Lara Jean becomes entangled in a love triangle. I kept reading because I wanted to find out how Lara Jean would get out of her mess and if she did get lucky to end up with one of her crushes.
Part of the main plot is carefully woven in between family issues that also need to be resolved, mostly between Lara Jean and her older sister, Margot. I found Lara Jean’s family dynamic intriguing. Her mother passed away when she was young, so Lara Jean and her two sisters are being raised by their father. Lara Jean is also half-Korean, which some readers will congratulate this for diversity in young adult literature, while others will feel irritated because of the food references sprinkled throughout in the book. I felt it was smartly written into the story, especially giving a little backstory to a few of the characters.
Then there are social issues which are lightly touched upon in the plot that I felt were well written. Sex is discussed, but not so graphically, and there are a few cuss words. I’ve heard worse in real-life high school, so what’s in this is book is innocent. Finally, towards the end of the book, there are issues of bullying, which I’m sure will be dealt further in the sequel since the ending did leave readers hanging.
I read the book in one day. It left me wanting to know more, especially because of the ending. Besides, who doesn’t love a good love triangle mess? I do!
Out of a total of 5 stars, I give To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before:
This novel is required reading if you want to follow up with the sequel, P.S. I Still Love You, which will be released May 26, 2015.