Monday, September 15, 2014

Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Title: To All the Boys I've Loved Before (TATBILB #1)
Author: Jenny Han
Published: April 15th 2014
Read: July 27th to July 29th, 2014
Add It: Goodreads
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.

“Life doesn't have to be so planned. Just roll with it and let it happen.”

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
Stars: ★★★★★

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.

Meet the author

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


  1. I've not read anything by this author before, but I do like the sound of the romance. I like slow burn romances! Great review Siiri!

  2. OTPs FTW. Don't we love our OTPS. And I am super sorry about the love triangle in the sequel, hon. It really really sucks and it's one of the reasons I have been so vary of this one. You know what they say about love triangles. SKIP 'EM IF YOU CAN!!!! Lol anyway, I am so glad to hear you liked this one (EVEN with the way things could be in the sequel). It sounds like a fantastic read and I am loving the sound of family dynamics (even if the whole sisterly quarrels could be uncomfortable). Maybe I'll wait to see how the love triangle resolves though... that might help me decide who I want to ship!

    Gorgeous review, hon!!!

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

    (I am sorry this comment wasn't longer!! I AM TIRED TODAY)

  3. AHHHHH I'm so happy you liked this one Siiri! While i didn't LOVE this one I couldn't put it down either. It was adorable and cute and Lara Jeans and Margot's relationship is so realistic it HURTS!
    That being said I didn't even know the synopsis for the sequel was out but after googling it I can't say i'm all too happy. I guess i was expecting a love triangle but STILL! LOL

  4. I know Jasprit really loves this series so nice to hear you enjoyed it too, Siiri. Sorry about the love triangle in the next book. Those can be tricky because even if things end up the way you want it can ruin your feelings for the characters and spoil the romance in the end. Wonderful review! :)

  5. Hah, Akitas are really awesome dogs. I don't have one, not really, but I know people who have them and consider them as family and they're just fantastic and hyper and very affectionate. I'd get one if I didn't already have a labrador! :D I'm not sure of getting this one, tbh. I'm just afraid of not connecting with the heroine as many of my friends just hated her, and I tend to be more brutal when it comes to that sort haha (there's a reason I just couldn't deal with Anna and the French Kiss...). But I'm happy you loved it and I hope the love triangle in the sequel doesn't annoy you too much XD

    Faye at The Social Potato

  6. Yay for family dynamics, I'm definitely a cheerleader for that in more YA books. I've read some mixed reviews for this one, so I'm really glad to hear that you enjoyed it a lot. :D You've basically sold me at 'slow-burning romance' even though there's a love-triangle (boo). Will be keeping an eye out for this one :D

  7. The slow burn relationship was pretty great aspect of reading this one

  8. Oh I love slow burn romances and to All the Boys I've Loved before is definitely on my tbr. I haven't read anything by Jenny Han and the Summer trilogy was a no for me because of the triangle too :D Thanks for sharing your thoughts Siiri!

    Janhvi @ The Readdicts

  9. Glass and I both love summer trilogy and we discussed something the other day and we figured that if we read it again we'd not enjoy it as much as the first time. We were much younger back then. But this one seems like something I need to read. Even though I usually don't like stories where main character have that young voice I think that with Jenny's writing that's something else :) Also I love that there is mix of cultures there especially as I haven't read much books with Korean people in them. I'm so so happy you loved this one and I cannot wait to read it now. Great review, Siiri :)

  10. I had no idea this book even had a sequel Siiri! And it has a love triangle? NOOOOOOOOOO! Why are so many authors doing this?! I don't get it. There's enough drama and angst between two people trying to make things work, I don't know why we need a third. Okay, rant over. I don't blame you for waiting to find out who she ends up with before making a decision on the sequel, I would do the same thing!

  11. I'm so glad you read this, Siiri. You know how I pushed it away because of the mixed reviews, but knowing that you and Jasprit both loved it gives me a lot of hope!! :)
    And slow burn romance FTW! :D
    Lovely review! I shall be reading this soonish! :)

  12. YES WHY IS THE SEQUEL GOING TO BE A TRIANGLE WHAT IS THIS??? It's so ridiculous and it's between that random guy we barely even saw in the first book . . . why?

    (The hot tub scene btw. HEHE FEELS! And the guy wasn't the only clueless one . . . I felt like Laura Jean was SO naive sometimes lol.)

  13. Yay! I'm glad to see you enjoyed this too. I felt the same way. I'm a little nervous about the sequel as well. I don't hate love triangles like so many others, but they are kind of hit or miss for me. I'll also wait and see what others think first. ;) Great review!

  14. The romance sounds wonderful, I love a slow burn :)

  15. I'm happy to learn that the MC fit the story; I can do young, but clichés... not so much. I also like that the author tackled such a wide variety of topics in the story, however the upcoming love triangle in the next installment is definitely cause for concern. Slow burn romance is my fav, but when you throw in a third wheel it can detract from the meaningfulness of the original relationship, then you have to pick a team, and things just start to go downhill from there. At least you'll always have book 1. :)

  16. Hmm I'm not familiar with this author but this story sounds heart-warming! I'm a very visual person. I love when details are given such that I can pretty much paint a picture of what's going on. I like the premise that she has to confront all these guys that she wrote too. Almost like she's letting the past go for a better future. SLOW-BURNS!! You know how I love those! But what's this about a love-triangle in the sequel? I sort of have a feeling on how this book ends if there is a triangle in the next book. Is there a cliffhanger? Cause I don't know how many more of those I can take haha. Akitas are awesome, I think I heard somewhere that they're one of the most loyal breeds. And speaking of which, have you watched a movie called Hachiko (I think that was the name) based on a true story about an Akita?! It's wonderful and made be feel so bad. I recommend it. Anyway, lovely review Siiri! Adding it to my tbr :)
    PS. The girl on the cover looks like Alison (TW) to me. Heh.

  17. Because I'm absolutely brain dead sometimes, I saw the "TATBILB" and though, "Gee, which character is settled with that awful name?" AND THEN MY BRAIN CAUGHT UP AND I YES. I read the rest of the review in quiet shame. Hehe. I do want to try this, but I'm not always the world's hugest fan of fluffy contemporaries. But still! It sounds good! You like it! (That's excellent recommendation imo.) And it just sounds all round interesting. *adds to tbr*

  18. I did like the main character a lot and the atmosphere around her and the book. She is such a nice and calm girl that it's impossible not to connect with and, yes, I adored the family topic. Although, I did not acutally like it as much as you did but it was still good. Fantastic review, Siiri! :D

  19. I got Han's Summer series bc a friend loved them so much, but haven't read any of her work. I love that this one worked out so well for you, and hope things pan out like you want in the sequel. Lovely review!

  20. Great review Siiri, this was my first Jenny Han novel as well. The love triangle was annoying to me and romance was cliche, but I did enjoy Lara Jean as the innocent character, as well as the emphasis on family. The food was also enjoyable for me too. I agree, the relationship between Margo and Lara Jean was definitely an emotional one, even more so than her own romance. If only there were more sisterly relationships explored in YA. Lovely review hun!

  21. I DNF this one, I just couldn't handle the 'daddy and mommy' that made her sound like she was 12 years old. I've read some really great reviews thought, glad you liked it!

  22. I'm so thrilled you liked it Siiri!! This book sounds great. I'm glad the story doesn't just revolved around the romance and broadens to other important aspects like family :) Ooh but a slow-burning romance? I want to read this :D Oh no, a love triangle in the second book? That's the bane of my bookish existence. I hope it's as great as this book and as great as your fabulous review <3

  23. I have an eBook copy of this! And because of what I've read, I am buying a paperback of this. It would be the first book from this author. Lovely review! xx And BTW, yes, I agree with you, the Summer trilogy isn't tempting at all.

    Yani @ Paper Boulevard