Title: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Publication Info: Published February 4, 2014 (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Genre: Contemporary YA Fiction
The Flavor: The Jessica Darling Series meets Emily of New Moon
The Short Version: Despite the very young voice of the protagonist, this book plays with surprisingly deep ideas about love and life. It’s a cute day read that will leave you wanting more.
The Description: Lara Jean is a bit of a romantic, and expresses her love for certain men by writing them love letters that she never sends. We’ve all done it. Naturally, someone finds and sends Lara Jean’s letters off to the boys, which kicks off a series of wacky plot points. In order to convince one of the boys she doesn’t still love him, she pretends to date another one of the boys, eventually re-falling for him.
I feel faint. I actually feel faint. Please let me faint right now, because if I faint I will no longer be here, in this moment. It will be like in movies when a girl passes out from the horror of it all and the fighting happens while she is asleep and she wakes up in a hospital bed with a bruise or two, but she’s missed all the bad stuff.”
The Dialogue: The dialogue was probably the least compelling part of this novel for me. There just wasn’t much of it, and a lot of it felt a little stilted. But Lara Jean is hilarious, so it all works out in the end.
The Setting: This is just your run of the mill contemporary YA setting. It mostly moves between Lara Jean’s house and her high school. I feel like it’s contemporary YA with rose-colored glasses. I don’t know, maybe it’s the main character, but everything feels just happy-go-lucky.
Extra Credit: For me, there was a lot about this book not to like. The main character has a crush on her sister’s ex; the main character is a bit of an idiot; the perspective is first-person-present. If I had known all of that before reading it, I likely wouldn’t have read it at all. But I would have missed out. I can’t put my finger on what makes this book special, but it’s just really cute and really enjoyable.
And with all it had going against it, Han must really be a compelling author to make me love it.
Parting thoughts: After finishing this book, I straight up complained about the ending. I mean, there was no closure. It totally left me hanging. Since I thought it was a standalone book, my reading experience was soured.
But I’ve recently discovered that a sequel will come out next year. I’M SO FREAKING EXCITED.
So, yes. The ending will leave you wanting more. But that’s okay, because you will eventually get it.