Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Book Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before, by Jenny Han {now a Netflix Original movie!}

When I write, I hold nothing back. I write like he'll never read it. Because he never will. Every secret thought, every careful observation, everything I've saved up inside me, I put it all in the letter. When I'm done, I seal it, I address it, and then I put it in my teal hatbox.

They're not love letters in the strictest sense of the word. My letters are for when I don't want to be in love anymore. They're for good-bye. Because after I write my letter, I'm no longer consumed by my all-consuming love. I can eat my cereal and not wonder if he likes bananas over his Cheerios too; I can sing along to love songs and not be singing them to him. If love is like a possession, maybe my letters are like my exorcisms. My letters set me free. Or at least they're supposed to.

I've definitely heard of Jenny Han, as she's a popular YA writer, but this was actually the first book I've read by her. I watched the Netflix Original movie before I read the book, and although it was cute, I'm not obsessed with it like Twitter seems to be ... I actually enjoyed the book better, although the ending isn't wrapped up with a neat bow like the movie was. (there are three books in the series)

Official synopsis:
Book Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before, by Jenny Han
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. 

If you're a longtime reader of this blog, you know that I'm a huge fan of YA books, and this one was no exception. I wouldn't classify Lara Jean as shy, but she's very responsible—when her older sister, Margot, leaves for college in Scotland, she's now the head of the family, or at least in charge of taking care of her younger sister, Kitty, and she takes that seriously. Her dad helps deliver babies so is often gone, and Margot used to take care of the family, especially after their mom passed away, so it's now Lara Jean's responsibility.

At the same time, the love letters—which are almost more like breakup letters—that she's secretly written to each of the five boys she's loved, or at least liked, somehow get delivered to each of those boys, and as you'd imagine, chaos then ensues for Lara Jean.

I'll be honest and say I'd like to rewatch the Netflix show now—I usually multitask (read: play on my phone) when I watch movies so perhaps it's worth a second watch. I was surprised to see that the book didn't wrap up the ending neatly—you have to read P.S. I Still Love You, the second book in the series, to see how a conflict between Lara Jean and Peter is resolved—whereas in the movie, everything is resolved at the end.

Overall, I related a lot to Lara Jean and really liked all of the characters in this book, as well.

4 stars out of 5.
{click here to purchase}

Purchase links:
To All The Boys I've Loved Before (book #1)
P.S. I Still Love You (book #2)
Always and Forever, Lara Jean (book #3)


*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

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