What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once? Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.
Paperback, 355 pages
Published March 20th 2015 by Penerbit Spring
Four stars: A fun coming of age romance with terrific characters, excellent family dynamics, but watch out for the cliffhanger ending.
Lara Jean Song has a hat box with her love letters to every boy she’s ever loved. She wrote each and every letter as a way to pour out her feelings and move on, and it was a way for her to say everything she wanted to say in real life but couldn’t. As Lara Jean prepares for big changes in her life, starting with her oldest sister leaving for college and the beginning of junior year, disaster strikes. Somehow her letters are secretly mailed out, leaving Lara Jean to face the boys she once loved and explain herself. Can she save face?
What I Liked:
- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was a breath of fresh air in the contemporary YA category. I loved the story, the characters and the unexpected romance. This is the YA contemp romance you need to read.
- The family dynamics are amazing in this book. In fact, much of the focus of the story is on Lara Jean and her family. Lara and her two sisters are exceptionally close after their mother died when they were young. The three sisters have looked after one another and helped each other through the trials of growing up. There are big changes for the family as Margo, the oldest sister prepares to leave for college. I liked that this book explored the family bonds, and that it showed so many different facets of the family.
- The romance..... I want to say so much about the romance but I can’t as I don’t want to ruin it. I will say that it is unexpected, it is slow moving, sweet and satisfying and it is a friend’s to lovers romance. So many things to love about the romance.
- Lara Jean is a wonderful main character. I liked getting to know her and seeing her insecurities. I especially enjoyed seeing how she handled talking to the boys once her letters went out. She takes a horrible situation and makes it alright. She is a wonderful friend, sister and daughter. It was a joy to see her grow and evolve.
- I liked that this was also a story about growing up. Lara Jean takes many big steps toward her future. I loved that the author kept it real as she exposed Lara’s fears, insecurities and her victories.
And The Not So Much:
- That ending.... Who puts a cliffhanger ending at the end of a YA contemp romance? It was unexpected and frustrating to say the least. Just when things are taking a pivotal turn, the books ends. One of the most irritating cliffhangers I have experienced in awhile.
- I was bothered by the whole letter thing. I knew who mailed the letters out, it was easy to piece it together, I struggled with the fact that Lara Jean didn’t dig more and figure it out as well. I also thought that it was a low blow from the person who mailed the letters.
- I was not a fan of the mean girl in the book, especially when she spreads untrue gossip and rumors. I hope she gets hers in the next book.
- The audiobook version was okay. I wasn't a huge fan of the narrator because I didn't like her male voices.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was a fun, sweet coming of age book with a delightful romance, excellent family dynamics and memorable characters. I couldn’t put this one down. My big hesitation with this one is the cliffhanger ending. Why put a cliffhanger at the end of a contemporary romance? Luckily, the next books in the series are available so I don’t have to wait. If you haven’t read this author and series, add it to your list.
I borrowed a copy of this book from the library. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.
Check out the rest of the series: