Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Published: April 15, 2014
Hardcover, 368 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them... all at once?

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.

The vague description left this book to really shine on its own. We know Lara Jean writes letters, we know they are never meant to be seen by the boys they are addressed to, but when they are suddenly mailed out and the boys are coming to Lara Jean asking her about them, she's not sure how to face the  consequences. Going from invisible in the eyes of these guys to suddenly the spotlight of their minds is too much for her to handle. Especially since one of those guys is her sister's boyfriend.

Jenny Han has a great writing style. She mixes in plot, feelings, and a whole lot of style into every sentence. She captures the essence of a teen girl wonderfully. They care about boys and fashion and everything that happens in life is a huge deal. When Lara Jean's sister, Margot, moves to Scotland for school, Lara Jean doesn't know how she'll survive without her. Especially since Margot left behind Josh, the boy Lara Jean has had a crush on all her life. I don't want to give too much of the plot away, since I love how mysterious it all is and that the description tells you nothing about what happens after the letters are mailed out, but everything entwined together wonderfully and there was no telling how everything would turn out for Lara Jean. Each event leads to something else and we watch as Lara Jean struggles to keep herself together as she tries to pick up the pieces she's scattered around with the letters. I related to Lara Jean a little too much. I fell for boys very quickly in high school and they didn't even know my name. And when I did finally have a real boyfriend, everything was very different than how I thought it would be. Things are always better in your imagination than they are in real life, aren't they?

Love triangles suck, I'm sure we all agree, but the one in this was so unlike anything I've read that I'm not sure if it's even a love triangle. Josh is a sweet guy who Lara Jean has known forever and is finally up for grabs, but after he gets her letter, she can't even be near him, even though her heart desperately wants to. And Peter is the kind of guy you stay away from, but somehow Lara Jean ends up spending a lot of time with him and he becomes someone we never thought he would. The ending of this book left so many questions unanswered and I'm in dyre need of the next one, but every character leapt off the page and into my heart and I love how they were all written. Kitty, Lara Jean's little sister, is hilarious and vicious and I love her. Lara Jean's best friend, Chris, is a bit of a head case and is going through something in her life that she may regret but is living to the fullest. 

Lara Jean has her faults. She's naive, a little sheltered, and confused about boys and her feelings for both Josh and Peter, but wasn't every teen girl like this? I know I liked boys I shouldn't have and I certainly wasn't the smartest girl when it came to boys, so I think Lara Jean was the perfect teen for this book. Everything was so complicated and it played out like real life. I can't wait for more and I also can't wait to meet Jenny Han tonight!! 

“Margot would say she belongs to herself. Kitty would say she belongs to no one. And I guess I would say I belong to my sisters and my dad, but that won’t always be true. To belong to someone—I didn’t know it, but now that I think about, it seems like that’s all I’ve ever wanted. To really be somebody’s, and to have them be mine.”

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