TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE by JENNY HAN
A REVIEW by ALEXA DUNCAN
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han is a sugary-sweet contemporary novel following our main character, Lara Jean Song-Covey as she navigates her way through high school. The twist here is that Lara Jean loves love. She loves it so much that whenever she develops a new crush on a boy, she writes a letter to them and puts it in a hatbox underneath her bed. Our plot really kicks off when Lara Jean’s hatbox goes missing, and all her letters have been sent out.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is possibly one of the most adorable books I’ve ever read. From its cover to its characters, this novel oozes sweetness to the point where it may give you cavities. Lara Jean is half-Korean, and she has two sisters, Kitty and Margot, both of whom are delightful. Lara Jean’s mother died when she was young, so all three girls have been raised by their equally delightful doctor of a father. There’s nothing terribly tragic in this book (or its sequels) and no one has a sad back story to make you miserable. Simply put, this book is cotton candy. It’s light and sweet and it goes down easy. Sometimes, that’s all you need.
The twist with Lara Jean’s hatbox makes for a fun quirk in the otherwise straight line that is YA contemporary romance. All of Lara Jean’s crushes receive her letters and she has to spend the book trying to convince them that she isn’t in love with them anymore. Which brings us to Peter, Lara’s main love interest. Peter is a very nice boy and he and Lara Jean make a cute couple. More importantly, though, are Lara Jean’s relationships with her family members. She is very close with both of her sisters and her father and the family dynamics are just as much a part of this book as the romance. It’s always refreshing to see in a YA novel and I would read at least five more books about Kitty alone.
All this being said, if you’re looking for a heavier contemporary, this is not the book for you. If you can’t stand slightly juvenile characters (which Lara Jean is throughout this first book), it’s not for you. Lara Jean can be cutesy and perfect to the point where it’s grating, but as the book went on, I grew to love her as much as I loved both her sisters. I’m a huge fan of this book and have been since I read it, and I’m not the only one, either. Netflix has adapted TATBILB into a movie, which will be released on August 17th of this year. If you’d like to read the book before you watch it, you can pick up a copy at the Argenta Library today!
Here’s the trailer, if you’re interested: