With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I was struck with an urge to read a love story. I wasn’t setting off after a novel with complex characters and an intricate plot; I just wanted some cute, quirky romance. Being a reader of generally YA, I knew that this would not be hard to find. So, I went to Target and picked up To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. For the next few days, I followed the story of Lara Jean Covey and the craziness that ensued when private letters she wrote to all the boys she’s ever loved were mailed. Her love life spiraled out of control before she even knew what was happening, and I have to say that this book was the perfect romance fix. I think that this book is not suitable for anyone under the age of 14. It discusses some mature elements of relationships, but never gets even close to graphic or descriptive. This book also provides representation for a Korean-American main character.
As I said before, this book was everything I was looking for. It was cute and made my heart melt in some spots. This book wasn’t perfect, though. I can’t guarantee that I would’ve loved it as much if I hadn’t been in the mood for a good ol’ love story. I noticed a lot of flaws, and I even considered not finishing it a few times. I’m glad I stuck it through though, because it was an overall enjoyable read.
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Now, let’s dive in and discuss this book:
The plot of this novel was fun and quirky. I can’t say it was too realistic, though. Even though her family has gone through some tragedies, they still remained the cookie-cutter family. They even had a charming boy-next-door. If you’ve read this novel, I’m sure you understand what I mean. A lot of the plot is driven by the letters that were sent out, exposing her secrets. The responses she got were not ones I would imagine could happen in real life, though. I had to suspend my disbelief while reading this book and just enjoy the ride. I have to say, being able to be completely enraptured by this book was one of the best parts of the read. I was so eager to find out what would happen next to Lara Jean.
The characters were also very unrealistic. They were all three-dimensional, but still generic. We had Lara Jean who was “not like other girls” because she’s quirky and likes vintage thing, baking, knitting, and being with her family. She was wholesome. Her sisters were equally as wholesome but with their own personalities. One thing that was realistic was the sister relationship between Margot, Lara Jean, and Kitty. I really enjoyed their dynamic. The other characters were pretty well developed besides the “mean girl” who was underwhelming in terms of personality. She was the classic stereotype of a mean-girl-bully-cheerleader. The two love interests were the same way except with their own tropes.
The writing was very unique and different from anything I’ve ever read. Being stuck in Lara Jean’s mind wasn’t so bad. Well, it wasn’t bad once you accepted the fact that she still said Daddy and had an odd irrational fear of driving. There was a love triangle in this story which I thought I would dislike, but honestly I didn’t. It ended VERY suddenly (classic contemporary). I started the second one straight away, because I just couldn’t get enough!
Overall, this book was good despite being riddled with tropes. It felt like watching a rom-com and was very easy to fly through. It was entertaining and light-hearted, and I would definitely recommend this to my friends!