Young adult isn’t historically my thing, save for the “classics” like Twilight and The Hunger Games. But To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before on Netflix caught my attention. I watched and found it cute, funny, and the kind of predictable that made it a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Then, after spotting all three books in the series by Jenny Han, I saw it as a sign and bought all three. Now, I’d like to chat about To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before…
- Genre: Ya Romance
- Heat Level: ❤️
- Overall Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers
Lara Jean Song Covey is a high school junior with her head in the clouds. Her older sister Margot is off to Scotland for college while her younger sister Kitty is driving her crazy. Lara Jean is quiet and romantic, someone who cries at sad movies and pours her feelings into baking…and letters. Every time she had a crush on a boy and wanted to get over them, she’d write them a love letter and tuck each one in a hat box to never see the light of day. All is well until the letters are sent, and the boys come looking for answers.
Of all the letters that got sent, two are the most problematic. One went to her childhood friend Peter Kavinsky, who is dating her former BFF Gen, and her sister Margot’s ex boyfriend Josh Sanderson. When Josh asks Lara Jean about the letter, she panics and says she’s not into him anymore because she has a boyfriend…Peter. Before she can get her story strait, she and Peter enter into a literal contract to be in a fake relationship. She’ll date him to make Gen jealous and he’ll keep Josh off her back.
As time goes on and Lara Jean and Peter play #relationshipgoals to their peers, the line between reality and pretend becomes blurred. Holding hands in the hallway becomes comforting rather than a way to show off. His notes in class become less about making Gen jealous and more about getting to know Lara Jean. But the contract and real life looms overhead, leaving little room for anything more.
You guys, this book was cute. I know not every character was perfect, but neither are people. Peter was a total jerk at times, but was also more sensitive and thoughtful than you would think. Lara Jean could never verbalize what she wanted, but she was fiercely loyal to her family and had the sort of kindness we look for in others. The growth of their relationship was adorable, the kind of slow burn that was easy to feel as you read. It reminded me of old high school relationships and the bumpy roads they’d take.
Another interesting thing Jenny Han did with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was inserting the sorts of problems only faced by Asian Americans. For example, Lara Jean had a rule where she would only dress up as an Asian character on Halloween so no one would guess if she was a Manga character. It was small moments like those that were really poignant to me. Lara Jean wasn’t just a high school girl, she was a biracial high school girl with sets of problems not seen in other YA books with caucasian leads.
Overall, I loved the book and honestly devoured the others in rapid succession. It’s really fun for all ages and was a charming, light read. PS. If you’ve already watched the movie, don’t worry, you’ll still enjoy the book.