Wednesday, July 16, 2014

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

Title: To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1)
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication date: April 15th 2013
Source: Purchased from National Book Store
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

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.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)


I am going to be honest and say that I am not a fan of Jenny Han. Yes, it's true; but before you Hanny Badgers start throwing tree barks at me, you'll be glad to know that I actually enjoyed TATBILB. Really, really enjoyed it. I was really surprised by the revelation but was impressed as well because after years of being a non-believer, Jenny Han has finally turned me into a believer. (Funnily enough, my mom super loves her Summer series, lol.)

When I first heard about TATBILB, I was immediately interested (I disregarded the fact that I had a history with Han's books). And after seeing the book cover, I knew that I needed it to be mine; because seriously, that is one gorgeous cover. I decided to read TATBILB as a pick me up after my dog passed away because I needed to feel better and I was glad that I chose it as my read.

The concept of Lara Jean's letters and what they symbolize was what really made the book interesting, plus they were the catalyst for the events the ended up transpiring. Her letters aren't complicated or written elegantly, they're very contemporary and what you'll expect from a grade/high-schooler. But I think that's what makes them so interesting, the fact that Lara Jean's letters are very real and doesn't disillusion you into thinking a high schooler normally writes super complicated and elaborate letter, they're just normal and quite cute. I love that Lara Jean's letters are a way for her to self-reflect and sort of act as a journal for her as well.

Lara Jean is a likable character but there's also nothing particularly distinct about her that makes her interesting. She's very normal. A bit too nice actually. Unfortunately, while she seems quite cool, her immaturity shines through Jenny Han's writing. Lara Jean's voice is very young even though she is a teenager, it gets kind of annoying. You'll understand if you've read the book or plan to, you'll just get that kind of vibe from her. I don't understand if it was Jenny Han's intention to portray her that way or it ended up like that but that's how Lara Jean came off as.

Of all the boys Lara Jean loved before, Peter Kavinsky is the one you'll get the know the most. Other than this other guy whose name starts with a "J". The whole Peter/Lara Jean romance starts with a plan to make two other people jealous and then BAM sparks start to fly. I love the easy banter between Lara Jean and Peter, they start off with a love/hate relationship because even though they used to run in the same social circle, they drifted apart as they grew older and found their place in the world. So yes, Peter is the popular good looking boy while Lara Jean is the shy kinda awkward girl. And that's what makes them so entertaining, the fact that they used to not like each other but then start to, begrudgingly, develop feelings for one other. Too cute!

I still don't know what to feel towards Lara Jean's relationship with her sisters, Margot and Kitty. Margot was nice enough but towards the end, she seemed vindictive towards Lara Jean when she got back from Scotland (I think). It was obvious that she was jealous because it seemed as if Lara Jean was taking her place. Well, girl, you shouldn't have left then. SMH. And Kitty? OMG. She's a super brat. Seriously. No other words to say other than that.

All in all, it was a pretty good book. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and I am definitely looking forward to reading the second book, especially with the way Jenny Han ended things. I need more Peter Kavinsky. Also, yes, Peter, I will bake those fruitcake cookies for you. *wink wink nudge nudge*



  1. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your dog, it's never easy losing a pet! Hope you're feeling a bit better now, though <3

    I love Jenny Han's books and I can't wait to read this, it looks really cute and that cover is gorgeous!

    Great review!

    Kyra @ Blog of a Bookaholic



  3. I'm not really good in making reviews. But I like this story..And I somehow agree at some of what you've said about this book. Oh is there a second book? I felt the story is somehow short of ending.. >_< I was shock that it was already the last part I was reading, I too need Peter Kavinsky, I can't get him out of my head.

    ~" A Probinsiyana's blog "~