To All The Boys I've Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Release: April 15th 2014
Genre: Contemporary, YA
#1 in the To All the Boys I've Loved Before duology
Sequel: P.S. I Still Love You (#2)
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.
No way! What?! Oh my god, what?! No way! Pretty much my reaction upon reading the last line. That is a major cliffhanger, y'all. And I ain't even mad.
Because I really, truly had a blast with this book. If you know me, you'll know that, usually, contemporaries just aren't my type of genre, like, at all. However, I do find the odd contemporary book here and there that I do end up loving, which is always a huge, pleasant surprise for me. And I think this is really up there with my all time favorite contemporaries now, which now makes my list of all time favorite contemporaries three books in total.
Normally, I hate not knowing the endgame of a book, like, the general direction the story is going to take. I like going into books as blind as possible and often will not even bother to read the blurb, however, the story itself needs to give me some clues as to where the plot's gonna go. Having said that, I could never see an ending to this novel. Did this bother me? Not one bit. I think this might have been the first time in the history of ever where I really couldn't predict the outcome at all and it didn't bother me one bit. And I'm pinning that on the spectacular characters.
Because there are protagonists that make dumb decisions that make you really upset, that make you want to throw the whole book out of the window and grip your hair in frustration, because it's so stupid. Lara Jean makes some dumb decisions in this book, but they're the kind that are so silly they're endearing, and I won't lie, rather than make me upset, they made me roll around in my blankets and giggle and cackle and grin like an idiot, because it was so ... cute, but also stupid, but in a really cute way. You know? It just made the book so much fun.
And I really, really loved all of the relationships and dynamics, but most of all the Song girls, especially Kitty and Lara Jean were the core duo of the book, I'd say. Or at least in my eyes they were. But the other family dynamics were so intriguing and interesting as well, maybe because they're so very and wholly different from my own family, but I just loved seeing the Covey family interact with each other. Of course, also the romantic and platonic relationships outside of family were great and well developed, too — Chris and Lara Jean's friendship was quite touching, and the strange, weird thing between her and Josh, too; it was all so charming and delightful. I enjoyed every bit of it.
Maybe the best thing about it was the main character, Lara Jean. I could relate to her in a lot of ways, and while she did have a very strong tendency to end up crying in most situations, I somehow wasn't bothered by that at all. Usually, I'm the first person to roll my eyes at "weak", coddled characters like that, but it fit to Lara Jean and made up a lot of her character, which was fine by me. Also, because most times, her crying fits were pretty warranted, I have to admit. She was quirky indeed and a very adorable heroine that stood out from the huge crowd of 0815 heroines. While I'll admit the writing seemed a little chopped and strange in the beginning, I pretty quickly got used to her unique voice of narration and liked it.
All in all, I can't stress enough just how much fun I had reading this book. Quality-wise, it's probably not the best or most original book you will ever read, but it's simply so highly entertaining and enjoyable, I had trouble putting it down, and only did so once in order to sleep. So, taking that napping break aside, I finished it in basically one sitting, because it's just compelling and addictive like that. I am so stoked for the sequel now, especially after that ending. My only regret is, why didn't I wait just a little while longer to read this, so I wouldn't have to wait a whole month for the sequel to come out?!