To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
by Jenny Han
Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. One for every boy she’s ever loved. When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say 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…
I could tell this was young adult fiction when I first opened my swap delivery. Bright colours, a cute cover and relatively large font, I went into this expecting something aimed at a younger audience but wasn’t put off. I’ve read YA stuff before and enjoyed it, but sadly this wasn’t for me.
It wasn’t the YA aspect that I didn’t enjoy, it was the characters. I especially didn’t like leading lady Lara Jean. Half Korean, Lara Jean is the middle child in a family of the three Song girls, all of whom fail to act their true age. She’s 16 but at times she acts 10, she is very childish in the first chapters and sadly doesn’t mature as the book goes on. I actually thought she was supposed to be younger until she started driving and I had to look back to check! Lara Jean cries at the tiniest of things, she wear jumpers with bunnies on the front and she has a crush on her sister’s boyfriend – drama!
The story is a romance but it’s not very romantic. Naive Lara Jean has written letters to all of the boys she has loved as a way for her to get over them. But in reality this is silly, she didn’t actually love them, she slightly fancied them/looked at them once and got dramatic. She has no intention of sending these letters but for some reason puts them in addressed envelopes, then somehow these letters get sent out to their intended recipients, hardly surprising! Lara Jean also doesn’t seem to care who sent them, which seemed bizarre, right? All of this leads to Lara Jean being in a fake relationship with Peter K and let’s not even go into that!
After this, the letters are not all that important, there’s no juicy gossip or revealing secrets so the title doesn’t actually seem to fit the rest of the story, especially as some of the letters never crop up again.
The friendship aspect of this school girl story could have been a redeeming factor but this didn’t help the plot either. Lara Jean doesn’t really have any friends apart from her sisters and her best friend is unrealistic, slutty and mean. They do not have a real friendship and don’t really seem to like each other. I much preferred the story of Lara Jean and her sister Kitty which, beyond sibling arguments, had some warm and cozy times including girly chats, pizza nights and trying to convince their Dad to buy Kitty a puppy.
I didn’t hate this book, it had some cute moments, things I could relate to and things that made me smile. But I just couldn’t connect with these unlikable characters.
The final thing that got to me was that there is no ending to this book, it just stopped. I have since found out that this story is part of a series, but really there should be some kind of ending for those who are going to stop here.
Overall rating: A disappointing YA read better suited for very very young adults. The main character is childish and immature which makes her unlikable in this romance story. Some cute moments but not enough to bring ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” more than 2 stars.