To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – 4/5
Every time Spring/Summer hits, I crave Contemporary reads – I want something light-hearted and fun. I want something that’s going to make me say “aww” and “oooh”. I want something to lightly tug at my heartstrings and bring small tears to my eyes. And this book did just the trick! 😀 I have heard such raving reviews of Jenny Han’s writing and I am definitely a fan! I am also always excited to come across another Asian-Pacific Islander author, and particularly one who writes to the API community. Love! 🙂
This book is all sorts of adorable and cutesy! The main character, Lara Jean, has written a letter to every single boy that she has ever liked. She writes them, seals them, addresses them, but does not send them. For her, it’s her way of letting the crush go, without ever having to face her feelings head on. BUT – SOMEHOW, her letters have gone missing! And one by one, each of the boys receives one of her letters and the result is mortifyingly embarrassing and endearingly adorable! 😀
First off, I love the idea of writing letters to the past boys Lara Jean has crushed on. From time to time, I had thought about doing something like this, solely because I am so much better in writing than I am through my words – haha! I am painfully and perpetually awkward, and so being able to write letters saves me a lot of extra embarrassment. That being said, I totally can relate to the main protagonist, Lara Jean, who is also awkward, yet super adorable. It’s also easy to not be able to see your own strengths and the unique things that make you you, and even more so, to wonder if others would even find that attractive. If this book does anything, I hope that this book shows young girls that they are beautiful just the way they are and they are beautifully unique individuals who have so much to offer to those around them.
Secondly, I completely appreciated that the main protagonist was part-Korean AND that part of her identity was celebrated throughout the book. The book talked about Korean food, family traditions, cultural values and the language. Lara Jean was half-Korean and half-White, and though her Korean mother passed away, her White father still celebrated those traditions and made every effort for Lara Jean and her sisters to know and celebrate their identities. You don’t tend to find a lot of diversity in YA Contemporary books, which is such a bummer since there is so much diversity around us to be celebrated and there are so many young readers who want to be able to identify with these characters.
Third, I loved the relationship between Lara Jean and her sisters, Margot and Kitty. Being the middle child, it is great to see her relationship with her older sister, Margot, and her younger sister, Kitty. As Margot left for Scotland to go to college, it was interesting to see her relationship with Kitty shift, as she was now the older sibling in the house. It was also quite wonderful to see just how much Margot cares for Lara Jean’s well-being and wanting her to be well-rounded and trying to open her eyes to the world around her. I also appreciate that the book does become more about the relationship between the sisters, and how in the end, family is the most important relationship there can be – very Frozen-esque. I am now going to let you all know that I am heading into a bit of a spoiler-section now, so if you haven’t read this book yet – do not continue reading this review! Go! Pick up the book! 😀
Lastly, I really enjoyed the ending – I really enjoyed that the book was not about Lara Jean ending up with somebody, rather – the book was about her finding herself and learning to be comfortable within her own skin. Lara Jean’s relationship with Peter always felt a bit tricky to me, but I really appreciated that the end of the book wasn’t necessarily Lara Jean ending back up with Peter or Josh. It is alluded to at the end of something rekindling with Peter, but I appreciate the cliff-hanger nature and that it’s not all about her being with a boy. The end of the book became more about what she learned about herself and her relationship with her sisters, which is stronger than any relationship with any boy can be. I loved that – again, I think a great role model for YA readers, rather than some of the YA books that are out there with more destructive romantic relationships.
I am so excited to read the next book! 😀 I think it’s going to be quite enjoyable – so, I am super stoked about it! This was definitely the book that I needed to get me out of my reading slump! 🙂