Book Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Hi everyone! Today’s post is a book review on the immensely popular To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

I’ve wanted to read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before for a little while. I bought it in summer, but didn’t have a chance to read it. After a stressful semester, a nice young adult novel was exactly what I needed to relax.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is the first book in the trilogy written by Jenny Han. The synopsis of the first novel on Han’s website reads as follows:

‘Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her, these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved.

When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul, and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only.

Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.’

There was lots I liked about this book. Firstly, I liked the characterisation of Peter. He is completely different from the stereotypical popular boy and is much more interesting. I also really liked Lara Jean. I was able to picture her really well and I loved her little quirks. I was definitely hoping that they would end up together!

As a whole, I liked the plot. It was a little bit different from the typical ‘girl meets boy’ love story. It sucked me in, and during the middle I struggled to put it down. But it did take me a while to get to this point. I found the start incredibly boring and unrealistic. For example, Lara Jean bakes her younger sister cookies and places them on the bedside table while she sleeps so she wakes up to the smell of freshly baked cookies. I also found Lara Jean always being with her sister and her boyfriend a little strange. Furthermore, Lara Jean’s younger sister Kitty is a completely unrealistic character. She’s supposed to be nine, but she acts much older.

Once Peter and Lara Jean begin dating, the plot begins to move faster, and I was hooked. It is driven by action and dialogue rather than the description that I usually favour. But Han does use some fantastic descriptions. I really like the simile ‘like we were two leftover heels of bread and together we made a dry sandwich’. Overall, I’d like to have seen more ‘showing’ rather than ‘telling’.

I also wouldn’t describe the book as a fluffy teenage romance. Although parts of the plot are lighthearted and had me laughing out loud (I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say ‘Saint’ Andrews in my life!), Margot’s evident homesickness and the pressures that are placed upon Lara Jean provide weight to the book. I would have liked to see the author delve deeper into these concepts, especially Margot’s homesickness.

I didn’t enjoy the ending of the novel. Unlike the film where everything is neatly tied up, the novel seemed to stop in the middle of the plot which means I have lots of unanswered questions. The status of Peter and Lara Jean’s relationship is a big one. Peter leaves very abruptly and it’s unclear if they are completely over. Although I do quite like when novels end on a cliffhanger, this just felt like it ha stopped in the middle. If there was a bigger scene between him and Lara Jean, the novel would have felt more finished.

If you enjoy reading young adult romances, this is definitely a great book to read. Although it has a slow start, it’s definitely worth a read if you enjoy the classic ‘girl meets boy’ storyline. It’s not the best book that has ever been written, but the plot is a unique twist on the classic love story. It’s also worth a read if you enjoyed the movie. There’s lots of additional scenes that have been omitted, and as we all know, the book is always better than the movie!

What did you think of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before? Let me know in the comments!

*image of the book cover is taken from Han’s website*

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