The Best Moments In Reading Are When You Come Across Something- A Thought, A Feeling, A Way At Looking At Things- Which You Had Thought Special And Particular To You. And Now, Here It Is, Set Down By Someone Else, A Person You Have Never Met, Someone Who Is Even Long Dead. And It Is As If A Hand Has Come Out, And Taken Yours.

Alan Bennett

The History Boys

Sunday, March 13, 2016

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)Title: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before 
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Genre: YA/Fiction/Romance
Length: 358 pages
Source: Amazon

Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. One for every boy she's ever loved. When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say 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.

Lara Jean is a sixteen year old half Korean, half American teen living with alone with her American father and two sisters since her mother’s death. Lara Jean likes collecting things, one of the things being long love letters she wrote to each of her crushes or loves. She keeps them in a teal box which her mother gave her for no one to ever see, until one day they all get mailed by accident. 

Okay, first of all let me tell you something about this book’s ratings. I was completely shocked to see adults saying this book was rubbish just because 1. Lara Jean has a crush on her sister’s ex-boyfriend (which seems ridiculous because is she not allowed to have a crush on him? If she likes him should she just not talk about it because it may seem strange to some readers?) I really doubt that’s something she can control, and through most of her book her relationship with him is written as a brother and sister relationship which she realizes and accepts like a complete adult. 2. People say her best friend Chris was an outrageous, loud slut. Yes, they actually said that about a teen fictional character. I will acknowledge that Chris can be a bit over the top sometimes but so is this comment. And, does no one care that Lara Jean is being bullied in school by a her “boyfriend’s” sadistic ex? Is the only thing they care about her best friend (who that makes her feel better and completely understands her) likes being the centre of attention when there are boys around? 4.The book had no ending. Am I the only one who realizes there’s a sequel?! Plus I thought the ending was kind of cliché romantic but still sweet.

Okay and now to the review. You know how sometimes you have badass main female characters, and then you have the shy, introspective, often girly main characters? You know, the one that often wears pastel color, whose hobbies include riding her vintage bike to the flea market full of vintage finds, and whose bedroom looks like something out of a teen Tumblr post? Well you just defined Lara Jean in one sentence. Sure, she has different qualities such as kind, polite and considered to be “quirky” whatever that means, but sometimes it’s a little painful to watch her perfection, and her forever talking about how average and up-pretty she is. She isn’t trying to sound whiny, but it just comes out that way. Also, when will we have a main character in YA with faults? While, that aspect of her personality was very frustrating (at least to me) at times, Lara Jean is a great main character. She’s optimistic, even though I agree sometimes a little bit childish about handling things, but she’s herself. What do I mean by childish? Often, she is troubled by what others think about her, and sometimes she puts herself down for no reason, and it kind of seems like she’s fishing for compliments.

One of the things I really liked about the story, was how her siblings played a huge part in the plot and story. Her entire family really. They aren’t just labelled as good siblings or bad siblings only to put away and later be brought up in dialogues convenient for the author, (most of the time in family fights) they’re there. A huge part of our lives are spent with siblings and you can’t just change them with a best friend instead in a book. Her relationship with her dad and sisters just seemed really real.

I thought the writing style would bore me, but over time I got used to it and really started liking it! It’s this mix of childhood memories, hopes, and dreams that will leave you all warm and fuzzy inside. While it wasn’t “funny”, it had plenty of sweet moments which just made you smile. I can’t wait to read the second book, (which is taunting me from right next to me on my bedside table) so I have to go! But the book has good characters, a memorable plot, and even though most of the story consists of Lara Jean’s thoughts it still manages to be exciting without a lot of plot twists, simply because you care about the main character and possibly see your younger (or older) self in her.
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