To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han (To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1)
Simon & Schuster, 2014
There's a hat box under Lara Jean's bed, inside which live the deepest secrets of her heart: letters she's written to each of the boys she has loved. They're not typical love letters, though. They're letters she wrote to fall out of love with them, to spill all of her feelings out onto paper, seal them up, and move on from these crushes she's never admitted to anyone. Lara Jean's life is already undergoing big changes with her big sister heading off to college in Scotland, but things get even more complicated when someone not only discovers her letters, but mails them to the boys they're about. Now she's trying to take care of her dad and little sister along with faking a relationship with Peter - one of her past crushes - in a plan to make each of their current crushes jealous. Only is it really a fake relationship after all?
This was my first time reading a Jenny Han novel, and this world was a lovely, light story to read while on vacation this spring. Over a couple of days, I enjoyed reading about the hijinks and tight corners Lara Jean got herself into, and part of me really admired how she feels things widely and deeply. While the fake relationship plot is something that's certainly been around the block, I loved seeing how some of the various boys responded to getting their letters and how Lara Jean responded in their release. The idea of these almost reverse love letters was clever and cathartic, and fit Lara Jean's sentimental and whimsical personality perfectly.
I'll admit that there were times when I was a bit frustrated with the protagonist since many of the problems she encountered could have been resolved by simply talking to someone or by reigning in her very active imagination that has a flare for the dramatic and romantic. In spite of this, I was still rooting for her, wanting to see her grow up a bit more and see that even though reality isn't as pretty or easy to navigate as her fantasy world, amazing things can still happen even when life gets messy.
If you are a fan of contemporary romance or looking for a book to entertain you for a few hours, pick up To All the Boys I've Loved Before, and keep an eye out for the sequel, P.S. I Still Love You.
Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!
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