Book Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

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“Love is scary: it changes; it can go away. That’s part of the risk.”

Over the years Lara Jean has crushed on and loved a few boys. She writes them letters, addresses them, and then never mails them. Until one day, Lara Jean realizes that her letters have been mailed to each of her past crushes.

This was a fast, easy read but very predictable. I knew from the beginning who most likely sent out the letters and I knew who Lara Jean would eventually end up with, or would want to end up with. Lara Jean was kind of a boring character, which feels kind of judgmental for me to say because I identified with her a lot and I think she’s a lot like me. There’s nothing wrong with being a good, family-oriented, follow-the-rules person but she makes for a rather boring narrator. The climax of the story was pretty anti-climactic because there’s no doubt that Lara Jean would ever do anything wrong or truly selfish. I like to see more depth in the characters I read.

What I did like was the relationship between the three sisters: Margot, Lara Jean, and Kitty. I didn’t grow up with sisters so I can’t speak to the accuracy of the portrayal but it did make me wish that I have sisters. I think Kitty is the most interesting out of all of them just because she has more sides to her than just being the little baby of the family.

The love interests were only so-so but I guess I was rooting for Peter all along. He just seems like a better match for Lara Jean because he brings out a different side to her and makes her try new things. I guess there’s going to be follow-up to this and I don’t really understand why this has to be a series. Han could have tied everything up in this book, the storyline isn’t that complicated and interesting. And I’m not emotionally attached to the characters to really care what happens to them in the next book. I think Han really should have just kept this to one book.

YA contemporary romance can be really enjoyable to read and engaging on an emotional and intellectual level (See: Sarah Dessen, Meg Cabot) but To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is not one of those for me.

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