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.
Song For This Book: Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You – Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
I picked up this book because I was reading a wonderful but dense WW2 novel, and I wanted something a little lighter to read before going to bed. Since I’d heard nothing but wonderful things about this little book, I figured it was a good a time as any to give it a shot.
It turned out to be exactly what I expected. It was fun, sweet, and was a great feel-good read. The characters are fun, the storyline is easy and lighthearted, and it deals with the subject of first love and crushes in a really nice way. There’s not a lot to the book – it’s pretty short and fairly simplistic – but it’s enjoyable and definitely a great summer read.
I did find that I wanted more out of this book. For the relatively short length, there was a fair bit packed in there, but I felt like this was an opportunity missed for a great romantic plot. Not to say it was bad, just that it could have been more.
The Good Points of To All The Boys I Loved Before:
Lara Jean’s relationship with her sisters was so beautifully written. They are three distinct characters and they interact with each other in their own way that makes perfect sense to someone who has a sister. It’s really nice to see family playing such a huge role in a young adult novel.
I really enjoyed the development of Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship. It didn’t feel forced, rather it came across as a very natural progression.
I love the idea behind the book. Writing letters that never get sent to help you get over a boy is a rather brilliant idea. It is a nice change of pace, and makes for an interesting start to the book.
It was nice to see a biracial character (or characters, in this case) portrayed so well in a young adult book. It was important to the characters, so it naturally came up throughout the book, but the author didn’t make a huge deal out of the things that these three sisters did differently than any other characters, nor was it a big deal in the relationship.
The Downsides of To All The Boys I Loved Before:
Considering the whole book is based around these letters that Lara Jean wrote, they aren’t overly important to the story. They get the ball rolling, and from there on out are basically forgotten.
This whole book is incredibly predictable. From how the letters get sent out to how all of the relationships progress, there’s nothing that will catch you off guard. What you see is what you get, and while it was enjoyable, it would have been nice to get some surprises.
Lara Jean is not the most well-developed character. She’s sweet and innocent and a bit of a fangirl, and that’s about it. The only really interesting thing about her is that she hates driving, and let’s be honest, that’s not a real short-coming. I would have liked to see her bad habits, her downsides, anything that would have made her look more like a real character.
All in all, I did enjoy this book. It was cute and a fun read. I do think that I would have enjoyed it far more if I had read it when I was around Lara Jean’s age, but it was enjoyable enough as an adult as well.
Have you read To All The Boys You Loved Before? What did you think?