Tuesday, January 22, 2019

To All the Boys I've Loved Before - Jenny Han

Title: To All The Boys I've Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Format: Paperback
Rating: 2 Stars

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. 

The premise of this story sounds cute at first: Lara Jean writes a letter to each of the boys she's "loved" before - five in all.  Then the letters are accidentally mailed by someone, and Lara Jean freaks out.  This somehow leads to her and her old (former) friend Peter Kavinsky - a receiver of one of said letters - pretending to be a couple so he can make his ex jealous and she can make Josh (another letter receiver) think she never liked him. 

Now, let's get down to it.

What Did I Like About This Book: 

*Kitty - Lara Jean's 9 year old sister is sweet, sassy, and the best part of this book.  I think Kitty was the most well developed and well written characters in this book - and that's saying something, because none of the characters in this book were particularly well developed. 

*Lara Jean's dad is actually a prominent feature in this book.  There has been a trend of absentee parents in YA Books - so it's nice to see there are books coming out that actually have parents in the picture.

What I Didn't Like About This Book:

*Lara Jean is incredibly naive and immature, even for a teenage girl.  She is also the perfect reason why young people need to be taught age appropriate comprehensive sex ed.  Does she really think Margot and Josh never had sex or never even thought about it!?  They're teenagers, not monks.  Also, in my opinion, Lara Jean is way too old to be calling her dad "Daddy."  Just - no.  You're a teenager, not a 5 year old.  Stop. Saying. Daddy!

*The "romance" between Lara and Peter was contrived even for a fake romance.  When they got to the end and realized they actually like each other, it felt off and fake still even when it was real!  There was no chemistry between them - it all just felt overly forced. 

*The friendship between Chris and Lara was just - nothing!  Chris was hardly ever around - and when she was, there didn't feel like there was any real connection between her and Lara. They appear to have nothing in common, so it left me wondering why they were even friends to begin with. 

*As I said above - there is no real development in the characters. They all felt a bit flat, and there was no growth for any of them.  Who they were at the beginning of the book was just who they were at the end - no change, no learning, no development. 

*The story was not as well fleshed out or well developed as it could have been.  There wasn't a ton of depth to it, even for a YA contemp. 

I will probably finish the series just out of curiosity, but I wouldn't really recommend this to others. 


  1. oof sorry this one didn't work for you! I personally loved the Asian-American representation and related to Lara Jean because I was a pretty naive and romance-crazy teenager myself, but I can understand why you might have found it frustrating.

    1. I do love that the main character is Asian-American! That was something I did love about the book. Other than that, though, it just didn't fit with me.

  2. FINALLY! Someone else who didn't like this book! I seriously thought I was the only one. I liked Lara Jean, though her decision making annoyed me, and I liked all the cute baking scenes and her family, but I really wish that was more a part of the plot like I was led to believe. I knew it was a romance, but the romance in this I just HATED. I don't like Peter at all and it did feel so forced and unbelievable and I really don't understand why everyone loves him so much and is giving this 5 stars cuz it is seriously overrated in my opinion. :/

  3. I'm sorry this book didn't work for you. I think this might be the first negative review of this book I've ever read. I haven't read it, mostly because I can't really say I'm such a huge fan of the premise, but I did see the movie, and it was okay. Not mind blowing, but okay. Hopefully your next read will be your cup of tea.

  4. Aw man, I'm sorry it didn't work out for you! I haven't read it, but even from your description, I can kinda connect to Lara Jean: I was that naive teenager who didn't really think about others my age having sex 😂 Who knows, maybe the series will get better as it goes on!

  5. Dang the book seems so different in feeling that the movie, I lived for the movie. I'm sorry it wasn't the book for you!