Author: Jenny Han
Published: April 15th 2014
Read: July 27th to July 29th, 2014
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Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
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.
I’ve never read a Jenny Han book before, and honestly? The Summer trilogy isn’t really that tempting considering that it features a heavy back-and-forth love triangle that seems just a tad bit too much for me. This one, however? Everyone raved about it and after my lovely Jasprit kindly gifted me this gorgeous hardcover, I just couldn’t wait any longer and knew I had to pick it up this summer. I wasn't completely sure it was for me, but boy was I ever surprised how perfect this book ended up being.
Lara Jean’s narrative may come off as very young to some people, but you know what? She was written in such a great, quirky and adorable way that she didn’t come off as cliché, hence I didn’t find myself rolling eyes either. I was rooting for her to experience new situations and relationships; wanted her to discover herself and explore the world with a new mindset. By the end of the novel, she had done just that and I couldn’t have been happier about her character growth.
TATBILB gives us a glimpse of Asian-American culture, has different food references in it, unique personalities and Korean references. I adored the writing a lot actually. Since I’m not a very visual reader, I don’t usually enjoy stories that are rich in all sorts of details, but they worked well in this story and the writing in general was smooth, well-paced and really enjoyable. Han created a great scenery for every scene and no paragraph felt unnecessary to me.
I loved the slow-burn romance that took place in this novel. I adored the guy Lara Jean ends up falling for, but at the same time I wanted to strangle him for being so clueless at times. Guys, I say! *shrugs* Still, their slowest of burns gave me feels I wasn’t ready for and the little notes broke me in too many ways to count. What I liked more than anything about this novel were the family dynamics and I totally got teary eyed over Margot and Lara Jean fighting at the very end. Being able to relate to sisterly quarrels always makes reading about them emotional. All the characters in this book had ups and downs; strengths and weaknesses. It’s what makes them human and so very perfect because imperfections are gorgeous.
I have mixed feelings about the sequel though because on one hand I need it more than anything, but.. it has a love triangle. A heavy one based on the synopsis. How could I ever pass that up? *headdesk* I’ll read it when people who get the arcs confirm that it’ll end the way I want it to end. BECAUSE NOTHING WILL COME IN THE WAY OF MY OTP OKAY??! Also, I just need to mention Akitas. Why? Because AKITAS!!!! (Our extended family has them and they’re just the cutest ever!)
The novel takes place a little over 6 month and was enjoyable to follow. It covers different topics such as family, friendship, romance, self-discovery, bravery, honesty, missed opportunities and new chances. It’s a wonderful story which I will definitely re-visit quite a few times in the upcoming years. I got so many feels and if the sequel ends in a satisfying way, I’ll read it with utmost pleasure :)
Overall rating: 5.0 out of 5.0
edit (12/20/14): i have previously given this as 4 stars (4.4 out of 5.0 rating), but it's not a 4 star read for me; it's like with under the never sky, where i previously rated it 4 stars, but have later come to realize that it's actually a 5 star read and i have obsessed over this book since i read it in july, so yeah. THIS IS A 5 STAR READ AND IF YOU HAVEN'T READ IT YET, YOU NEED TO REEVALUATE YOUR LIFE CHOICES, MY DEAR.