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

January 29, 2015

Edition: Scholastic Press Paperback
Release Date: 7th of August 2014
Pages: 368
Series: To All The Boys I've Loved Before #1
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Source: Bought
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a Young Adult contemporary starring protagonist, Lara Jean Song. Lara despite having never been in a relationship before, is a hopeless romantic who believes she’s only ever been in love with 5 boys in her life. One of these boys including her older sister Margot’s boyfriend and their next door neighbour, Josh. To make sense of her feelings and find closure Lara Jean addresses letters to each male, and leaves them unsent in the hatbox her mother gave her before she died.

With the seal of each envelope she seals her feelings away as well. Until one day Lara goes to school and finds out her letters have been sent out to all of the boys and she must do anything she can to convince Josh she no longer has feeling for him, especially now that Margot’s moved to college.

TATBILB was the perfect holiday read, I sat on the grass under the sun fully immersed in the whole sent letters scandal. Now I don’t know about you, but if someone had sent out some very private letters of mine, I’d be mad and totally desperate to find out who was behind it. But no, Lara Jean quickly comes to terms with what happened and never really bothers to look into it, even though it was deadly obvious from the beginning. To me at least. Instead she decides it best to launch into a fake relationship with Peter, a recipient of one of 5 letters who wants to make his ex-girlfriend jealous. Win win right?

Well.. it wouldn’t be my first choice. See thats one of few things that annoyed me about To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was that for a character that is written as innocent and sensible, Lara Jean did some ill-fitted things. Which was just a bit disappointing because I did like Lara Jean as a protagonist, and I get that Jenny Han needs to be true to her vision for Lara but I didn't feel like Lara was 100% true to Lara. You get me?

What I did love though was the cultural diversity! Lara Jean is half korean and it was such a refreshing change because I think if we’re honest, almost every main character in YA is white. And I think it would be awesome if we continued to see this diversity in YA. Lara Jean is in love with cool vintage things and as mentioned by other characters in the book, she has a real sorta quirkiness about her. I liked that she was loyal to her family (except for when she fell for her sisters bf - but in defence she liked him first) and I liked reading about her taste for cute stationery (who doesn’t love it?), scrapbooking and baking.

All of those things might seem boring to you but I can easily imagine befriending Lara Jean if she was to enrol in my school. But she might have to get a few things under control first, like how she never throws in Moms and Dads, always saying Mommy and Daddy. I don’t know why but that bothered me!

Not to say I don't call my parents Mommy and Daddy occasionally but I tend to mix things up a bit. She’s 16 or 17 and the way she spoke and acted at times, made her appear younger. Lara Jean was naive and longed to find that ideal movie style image of love and I think that was why she so easily misjudged her crushes as people she loved. In my opinion.

Having many siblings, a majority female, I loved the bond shared between the 3 song girls. It reminded me of the relationship I share with my sisters, all who I’m really close with. The dynamic relationships between each sister were really interesting. I did feel a bit cheated at the end of the book because a major issue between the siblings (you can guess), was very anti-climatic.

There was a love triangle in TATBILB and sadly not the Infernal Devices type. I don't like love triangles to begin with so it didn't help that I wasn't at all invested, I was not really wanting Lara to be with either males. And to this moment, I’m totally conflicted about the ending. Hopefully things will become clearer in book two, I’m dying for it to come out.

Even though this review sounds negative, my feelings toward this book are anything but! I loved the concept of the letters because I think writing things down always helps no matter what form. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before wasn’t flawless but it was so so so enjoyable. I read it in less than a day because all of the emotions inside of me that wouldn’t allow me to stop reading. It's cute and fluffy but of course with the right amount of fluff. Definitely would recommend this!


  1. I'd really like to read this one. It looks like a lot of fun. It's good that you enjoyed it (even if you did have some minor problems with it). If I'd been Lara and people had sent out my letters I would be beyond embarrassed, most likely. *.*

    Great review!

  2. I've wanted to read this ever since I found out the protagonist has the same name as me (that sounds pretty shallow... oops), but I'm just generally not a huge contemporary fan so I'm not sure whether I should bother.

  3. I received this in the post a few days ago for review and am glad that you did - despite the problems - like it! The concept of the letters is what has really interested me about this novel, and I'm definitely in need of a light Contemporary read at the moment! May pick this up sooner than I planned!

    -Sophie :)

  4. I read the summer trilogy by Jenny Han and didn't like it. I wasn't unsure whether I should read or not this book. What do you say?

    Ps. I have a blog as well, if you want to stop by I'd appreciate it so much! It's both in Italian and in English :3 ->

  5. This does sound like the perfect vacation or beach read! I’m a hopeless romantic like Laura Jean, I love the idea of writing letters to the boys you love. This book sounds so sweet and I’m glad that even though it had problems you still enjoyed it. Thanks for the wonderful review.

  6. Yay, I'm so glad you loved it Sunny! Lara falling for her sister's boyfriend was a big turn off for me, but I'm glad it sorted itself out. I did love the diversity and the family bond in this one too! Can't wait for the sequel. Lovely review!

  7. I have to agree with you, Sunny! I would also give this book a four star rating. Like you said, I especially loved how Lara Jean was half Korean . . . as I am! It was nice to see such racial diversity in YA contemporary. I hardly see Asian main characters.

    So happy I stumbled across your blog today! I'm in love with the design. :)

    Julia Anne @ Peach Print


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