Yay! I finally read this book! It’s been sitting on my shelf for a few months now, but because I am who I am, I listened to via audiobook from my local library’s Ovedrive app. Anywho, while I did enjoy this book, I didn’t like it as much as I thought it would. I mean, I’m still learning to like contemporary and while there were various aspects I did like in this book, there were definitely some hills I struggled to climb.
Title: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1)
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release date: April 15, 2014
Genre: Young adult, contemporary, romance
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) “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.“
First off, this book gets major bonus points for the MC alone. This is the first time I’ve seen myself reflected in a main character. Lara Jean is biracial, half-white and half-Korean–like me! Other major pros for me were the family dynamics. While this story did focus on Lara Jean, her letters, and the consequences of those letters being mailed out, especially to two boys she sees nearly every day, I really liked how a lot of the story encompassed Lara Jean having to deal with her sisters, especially the oldest, Margot.
Lara Jean definitely has to step up in this first book, in terms of who she is as a person and as the middle sister. I liked that we saw her struggle, with herself and with others. I liked all of the characters in this book, but if I was quite honest, I’d really like a book about Margot. Is it too early for me to say that considering there are two more books in this series? Anyway, it’s true–I won’t deny it. 😛
Now one of the major struggles I had was with Peter Kavinsky. Quite frankly, I was really expecting someone who would sweep Lara off her feet. While none of the boys were that, Peter was definitely not one of those boys either. I almost felt the entire reason Lara and Peter did get together was very shallow. But then, I had to reexamine the circumstances and remember this is high school so it was understandable. I also liked how Lara Jean really made Peter do a double-take, not only for his feelings for his old girlfriend but also for Lara Jean herself. And yet…
There was just something I didn’t like about Peter. There were times he was cute and times he was utterly annoying and a bit of a jerk! I wanted him to stand up for Lara Jean in a lot of places, especially toward the end, and to be more understanding. In the same way, I struggle with how Josh felt. I won’t say too much because of spoilers, but I couldn’t reconcile him, Peter, and Lara Jean separately.
I look forward to seeing how the characters develop in the course of the next two books. I really hope Peter steps up his game, too. I’m not fully convinced of him as a love interest for Lara Jean.