Thursday, June 26, 2014

To All the Boys I've Loved Before - Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before - Jenny Han
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers #1
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Source/Format: Bought || Hardcover

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. (from Goodreads)

I'm going to warn you now, dear readers: I might have a wee bit of an obsession (translation: very much obsessed) with To All the Boys I've Loved Before. The summary makes it sound like it's all about romance, I know. But, as Han as proven in her other books, she can write an amazing romance and still include the other parts of her character's life, like family and friendship.

I loved To All the Boys Before (as you can see based on how marked up my book is in the photo below). Let me share a few reasons why:

  • the Song sisters
I absolutely loved the Song girls. There's something truly special about the bond between sisters, and it's no different with Margot, Kitty and Lara Jean. In fact, these three reminded me so much of me and my sisters (and even had exactly the same age gaps as us!). Han captured the ups and downs of sisterhood perfectly here, from the arguments to the special moments of understanding that can be shared among them.

While I could personally identify with Lara Jean on some levels (like her penchant for keeping important things, her scrapbooking, her letter writing and her love of being at home), I definitely think I'm more like Margot in real life. It seems about right, since Margot is the oldest girl and the one who is responsible for all of them at the start of the novel.

  • their father
Oh, I had a big soft spot for Mr. Covey. He was as involved as he could possible be in their lives, in the best way he knew how considering he was the lone male in a sea of daughters. It was wonderful to see how much he cared about his girls! He supported their Korean culture, encouraged each of them and loved them with all his heart. The girls loved him back just as much, and it was really wonderful to see that solid family dynamic.

  • the romance
There's obviously a romance, as the title hints. And there's also obviously more than one prospect up in the air for Lara Jean, thanks to the five letters she's written to the five boys she's loved. What really happens with regards to this aspect of the story is a lot more interesting than I could have bargained for! Han's plot is slightly cliche, but it's beautifully written and perfectly plotted. I loved it so, so much and will summarize my feelings by saying this: I only ship ONE of the boys with Lara Jean (and I'm sure you will too, by the end of this novel).

These are the three standout elements of To All the Boys You've Loved Before, but there's a whole lot more involved. There's friendship! There's Margot going off to college! There are cookies (and yes, it's a vital piece of information). Seriously, the details in this novel are really great too!

And now, the matter of the sequel. I thought I was going to be irritated by the idea of a follow-up to what sounded like a great standalone novel. Turns out, I'm actually not! I think this can still work as a standalone, if that's what you'd want. But I loved the characters, and the story, and I'm dying to have more of them. So finding out there's more totally works for me!

All in all, To All the Boys I've Loved Before is one of my favorite reads of 2014. It's got wonderful characters, a story that feels like it could be happening to me (or one of my own friends), and a romance that had my heart pitter pattering. (Plus, it also had cookies, and who can say no to that?)

8 comments:

  1. I loved the family element of this book as well! Family is such an integral part to all of our lives that it's kinda crazy how there isn't a stronger focus on it in books. But when there is a book that does it well, like this one, it's awesome! I don't have any siblings so for me, it was really fun to see Margot and Kitty and Lara Jean interact with each other. I don't think I'm the one to make an informed decision but I think Jenny Han did a really good job in portraying an authentic sibling relationship! And Dr. Covey was the best too!

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  2. I love everything about this book. Every. Single. Thing.

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  3. Ugh I'm dying to read this book, why haven't I picked it up yet?! It looks like Jenny Han is totally a people-person-- she sure knows how to write great familial relationships! And oooh lala, five boys?! Thank goodness it's not a love pentagon or anything. ;) YEES. Cookies?! I'M ALL IN. Although the plot is cliche, it looks like you still really enjoyed it because Han puts her own spin on things. I need to pick up this book ASAP! Thanks for the lovely review, Alexa!

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  4. I'm obsessed with this book too! The ship, man. THE SHIP.

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  5. I just purchased this one a few days ago, so I'm thrilled to hear that you enjoyed it so much. Thanks for the review! I'm really looking forward to this one.

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  6. I loved this book too!! Jenny Han is amazing for making this so much more than just about boys!! I mean I loved the boy aspect of it, but the FAMILY part was so much more important to me. And yes I shipped only one boy for Lara Jean by the end :)

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  7. I absolutely adored the family focus in this story - while the romance was sweet, it was the familial bonds that made the story shine for me!

    Great review!

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  8. I love the cover of this one. Also, the book in general looks SO great. I'm definitely going to have to check it out, especially after your lovely review.

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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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