Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before 1) by Jenny Han
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on April 15th 2014
Genre(s): Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 355
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
GOODREADS | AMAZON
★★★★★
Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her.

They aren't love letters that anyone else wrote for her, these are ones she's written. One for every boy she's ever loved—five in all. 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.
If love is like a possession, maybe my letter are like my exorcisms.
I absolutely ADORE this book.

I have to admit: during the beginning of the book, I found that the story was kind of bland. Bland in the sense that I wasn't really all that interested about where the plot headed and how it was getting there. My initial impression of Lara Jean was not the greatest, but I'm glad I continued the story so I had the chance to fall in love with this book!
My letters are for when I don't want to be in love anymore. They're for good-bye. Because after I write in my letter, I'm not longer consumed by my all-consuming love...My letters set me free. Or at least they're supposed to.

The majority of the beginning was character building and relationship establishing. While at first I wrote this off as boring, I came to appreciate it when the real drama of the story occurred. As Lara Jean is confronted by boys she thought she'd left behind, she has to decide what to make of the feelings that arise when she sees them again. Lara Jean is a character you can't help but see yourself in, even if you can't relate to her situation at all, and all you want to do is root for her. I love seeing her growth from the beginning to the end of this first book.

The character dynamic is just fantastic. Lara Jean is super close to her two sisters. Margot, the eldest, is sort of like a mother figure to her because their mother has passed. Kitty (real name Katherine), the youngest of the three, is at the ripe age of eight years old; old enough to understand things, but not old enough to really understand everything. I just love each of these personalities, and their relationships are portrayed as realistic sibling relationships.

And not to sound insensitive or offensive in any way, but I liked how what became of their mother was not dramatized. No life long battle of cancer. No huge car crash. No mysterious murder. It speaks to me because it tells me that little things happen sometimes, and it doesn't have to cause a huge commotion for it to be significant.

Now, Lara Jean and boy-who-I-will-not-reveal:

Legitimately what I assume I must've looked like while I was reading this book.
I don't want to spoil anybody so I'll avoid talking too much about the romance. All I can say is that, I was not expecting A LOT of what was going on, which made it that much more realistic.

The writing in this book is pretty good; funny some times, moving at the right times, and amazing all the time!
When someone's been gone a long time, at first you save up all the things you want to tell them. You try to keep track of everything in your head. But it's like trying to hold on to a fistful of sand: all the little bits slip out of your hands, and then you're just clutching air and grit. That's why you can't save it all up like that.

Because by the time you finally see each other, you're catching up only on the big things, because it's too much bother to tell about the little things. But the little things are what make up life.
Overall this was a super cute book with great themes, characters, and writing. I definitely recommend it! The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger though, so have that second book near before you start this!
Life doesn't have to be so planned. Just roll with it and let it happen.

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