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

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before / Jenny Han

 

I don’t know why I decided to read this book. I mean, the title is familiar. You know, that Julio Iglesias song but switch the “boys” to “girls”. I normally don’t read these kinds of books. I mean, my scope of YA is mainly dystopian and this is the farthest thing away from that.

This book was my Book Beginnings Friday months ago. Well yeah, I finished this November last year but being the serial lazy bones that I am… XD Anyway, I was cleaning out my S Note the other day and found the notes that I made when I read this book. Yes, I do take notes from time to time.

The premise of the book is pretty interesting. Lara Jean, I assume is the girl in the cover art, wrote letters to, well… all the boys she’d loved before. After she writes her feelings down, she loses interest in the guy. But she never sent them; she kept them in a hat box hidden in her room. Ah, what passes for safe deposit boxes for teenage girls. As you would expect, these letters find their way to these boys. Then awkwardness ensues.

One by one, these boys approach her and try to talk to her about the letter, about her feelings. Things get interesting when some of them express interest in her also. But her heart belongs to one person… her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. If that isn’t awkward enough, he tells her that he likes Lara Jean too. Panicked, Lara Jean fakes a relationship with the guy that gets into her nerves, Peter. And what happens next… they start to fall for each other. Somewhat.

Even with the sweet premise, love connections, silly awkwardness, and your usual teen angst, the story is rather… flat. It doesn’t really go anywhere. I can’t blame Lara Jean for being a romantic but nowhere in the story did she grow up or owned up to anything. She was jealous of her sisters, Margot 언니 for being the perfect daughter, and Kitty 동생 for being the baby of the family. (You can’t have a slice of life YA without this trope, it seems.) She came across as very sheltered and bratty at times. The whole situation with Josh is just uncomfortable and weird. Peter did grow on me but no matter how the author tried to make me like Josh’s character, I just couldn’t. Peter’s pining over another girl too, so where does that leave Lara Jean? Their whole pseudo-love triangle had no direction and no progress. Poor Lara Jean… no one was really there to support her. Her dad was clueless, her sisters were useless, and the one female in her circle of “close friends”, they’re not on the same page.

[Notice I used Korean words in the previous paragraph. That’s because Lara Jean’s family is part-Korean. Her mom was Korean and they use the last name Song. I listed that as one of the things that spoke to me, together with her love of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. And oh, Margot was going to a university in Scotland. I was obsessing over Outlander when I came across this book so I guess that counts. Shallow reasons to connect with a book but that’s all I got for you.]

My favorite part of the book is the fact that her letters got mailed out. What a twist! But that’s the most exciting thing that happened in this book. Sure, it was a mortifying event in a teenager’s life but it didn’t feel that from Lara Jean. I might have to add her to my list of emotionless female leads, yeah?

Heck, there wasn’t even a definitive ending. I read later that the author felt the same way and now, there is a sequel coming out called P.S. I Still Love You. Oh-kay.  I don’t know. To me, this book felt unfinished. I didn’t take away anything from it. If it takes me to read the sequel just to reach a conclusion to this story, I might just do that. But next time I ask you guys what I’m getting myself into, give me a concise answer. 😉

Rating: 3/5. I just don’t know.

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3 thoughts on “Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

  1. Pingback: #T5W | I Can’t Like You | Shelf Pickings

  2. Pingback: #T5W | On Second Thought | Shelf Pickings

  3. Pingback: TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Not What I Thought | Shelf Pickings

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