To get over her crushes, Lara Jean would write love letters to them, seal them and hide them in a hat box rather than ever admitting it to anyone. This worked out fine for Lara Jean all these years until one day she makes the horrifying discovery that the letters somehow got sent out to the boys in question, and now they’re confronting her about the letters – everyone from her first crush to her sister’s ex. To try and get out of this embarrassing mess, she creates a scenario to save face only to have things not work out quite like how she was hoping they would.
This was a fun and entertaining quick read! I had heard a lot of great things about this novel by Jenny Han and had yet to get around to it, for fear of it not being my style. I (wrongfully) expected it to be a bit cheesy, a bit of fluff and just another one of those young adult books that everyone falls in love with – but it’s so much more than that.
Lara Jean and her family have a great dynamic with each other. The way that Han has developed Lara Jean and the other two Song sisters into different familial roles after the loss of one parent felt organic to me. I loved that they were biracial, and also addressing what it was like for their interracial parents dating, bringing a bit more diversity into the YA world. Each of the girls had such significant personality traits that it made for a feeling of closeness with them, like you were right there in the midst of all the family day-to-day life. There is also so much nostalgic teenage angst in this book, about unspoken crushes and high school relationship drama. To me, Han captured very well the messiness of friendships and relationships at that time in our lives. Whether you read the book at this age, or you’re well past this age, it will still hold the chance of stirring up some of those potentially familiar feelings.
I liked that this story wasn’t a cliché kind of young adult contemporary. I find I tend to figure out where the story is going halfway through, but I enjoyed that this kept me wondering. Of course, I was rooting for one outcome but had no idea if, and how, Han would pull it off in this book. Speeding through To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, I can’t wait to get started on the sequel: P.S. I Love You. In a way, I’m glad I only picked up this first book now, so I don’t have to wait as long as all the other fans for the next book to come out. Loved this, and am so curious to see where Lara Jean’s adventures go next.