To All the Boys I Loved Before (To All the Boys I loved Before #1)
by Jenny Han
Publisher - Scholastic
Release Date - August 7th 2014
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository
Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. 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...
Lara Jean Song, the middle sister to Margo and Kitty Song, also known as the Song girls, likes to write goodbye letters to all the boys she has ever loved. When Margo left to move and study in Scotland, it is now Lara Jean's responsibility to be the big sister to Kitty and fill Margo place in the family. Out of nowhere, Peter Kavinsky, vain, annoying, cheerful ladies man comes up to Lara Jean to say he's received a letter from her...Lara Jean is mortified, how did her letters get sent in the first place? Her next door neighbour, Josh is one of those boys she's loved even before her sister, but she never said anything, so to soften the blow of receiving his letter, Lara Jean starts a fake relationship with Peter K...but maybe it turns out not so fake in feelings...
This novel often reminded me of Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson, with it's letters and notes. It adds a certain texture to the book and the story that I just love. It's more authentic and more revealing of the character behind her words. I write letters to my friends overseas bit I've never written a love letter properly, although I really want too. But I find writing a letter your words are more raw and real. It much more heartfelt and emotional. It's just as true as saying them in person but they can be kept forever. As we spread each of the otters that Lara Jean wrote you could see how she grew from each of her loves and how they were only goodbye letters nothing more. She didn't consider the reality of what love could be like. Lara Jean was immune to love and the what ifs of whether one of those boys actually asked her out.
“My letters are for when I don't want to be in love anymore. They're for good-bye. Because after I write in my letter, I'm not longer consumed by my all-consuming love...My letters set me free. Or at least they're supposed to.”Lara Jean was quite young for her age. She appeared to be immature at times and even her younger sister Kitty was more grown up than her. For me she did have some Mummy/Daddy issues that I didn't quite connect with, I'm not a fan of the use of phrasing for parents in novels. Lara Jean doesn't stray far from the box she is living in. I'm not saying that's a bad thing living in comfort and routine but when those letters are sent out, her first reaction is fear...but maybe it's a good thing, to let other people know she's around like Peter K. Peter K and Lara Jean pretty much hate each other, they used to be friends back in the day, then Peter went out with Genevieve, who certainly likes to stir up trouble. When they broke, Lara Jean and Peter started the fake romance to get Josh of her back. Whilst that's all being well, when he starts to do endearing things towards her, something more than fake feelings is happening here. With Peter, Lara Jeans she'll broke more, whilst it could be conflicting at times, she was brave enough to overcome it. What I find that I quite like with most contemporary stories is that the author creates some sort of flaw in her character and explores that thought the story, Lara Jean grows as a character, her personality and as a person.
“Love is scary: it changes; it can go away. That's the part of the risk. I don't want to be scared anymore.”
To All The Boys I Loved Before had a great selection secondary characters that make up for the book to give it center stage. I loved seeing and revealing of all the letters throughout the book, one boy was even gay but turned out to be a good friend. One boy in particular I wanted to know more about which was John, I thought there would've been something there. Jenny Han is a fabulous writer and I'm glad that I don't have to wait very long at all for P.S I Still Love You, I haven't read the synopsis but I am rooting for someone that's for sure.
Rating - 5