My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Book Review: To all The Boys I've Loved Before

Synopsis (From GoodReads):

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. 


A girl in high school who has never had a boyfriend instead has a series of impossible crushes.  Did author Jenny Han somehow peek inside my life?  It's been along time since those days, but this book brought me back to that wonderful, confusing time in my life.   Lara Jean is facing lots of changes in her life as her sister leaves for Scotland to attend college.  Margot always took care of all the details since their mom passed away six years ago.  Lara Jean will have to shoulder the responsibility of making sure her younger sister, Kitty, is taken care of, as well as running the household for her busy dad, a doctor.  This is also junior year in high school so she has a demanding work load.

As I read To All The Boys Iv'e Loved Before, I really felt connected to the main character.  It was much safer for me to have crushes on boys than really become involved with them.  Lara Jean is forced to confront several of her crushes when her letters to them (never meant to see the light of day) are somehow mailed.  One of her crushes is on her sisters ex-boyfriend, Josh, who lives next door.  In order to save face, she convinces another of her ex-crushes, Peter, to pretend they are dating.  But this charade may be more realistic than Lara Jean intended.

I loved the depiction of Lara Jean's home life.  Too often in YA books, the parents are regulated to background noise or are absent altogether.  This is not the case in this book.  Lara Jean's father and sisters are important parts of the story and explain much of her actions later in the book.  I also appreciated the ways in which the family tried to keep connected with their Korean heritage through food and family.

The romance in the book took a long time to simmer before boiling over, which was refreshingly realistic.  This book deals with the intense pressure teens are under to pair off and hook up before they are ready.  All teens, boys and girls, have sexual feelings, and I liked that Lara Jean started to understand that she was interested in getting closer to the boy (I won't spoil it by saying who) and how she would have mixed feelings about this.  We live in a culture that congratulates boys for scoring, while labeling girls who have sex as sluts.  These issues are a central point of the book.  I felt this was dealt with in a smart, realistic manner.

Now, I am trying to make time to read the sequel, P.S. I Still Love You.  These are entertaining, fun characters who I look forward to reading about again.

Source: Public Library
Format:  E-book
Recommendation: Read it for a fun, smart YA romance.
Will I read more from this author:  Yes!

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  1. I still haven't read this book yet, but I love the covers to these books. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much!

  2. The main character reminded me of myself in middle school and high school. I always had crushes!

  3. Loved this one! I still need to read the sequel, have you read it yet?

    1. Hi Eileen, No I haven't read the next one. I am on the wait list at my library, so I hope to get in in a few weeks.

  4. This one didn't do anything for me. I think I just didn't like the main character. But that's OK. There are lots of books in the sea (well, hopefully not....)

  5. I think I really liked this book because I was one of those girls who eagerly had crushes on boys, but wasn't really ready for a boyfriend. I could identify with Lara Jean so much.

  6. Great review! This book also brought back memories for me, Lara Jean reminds me of who I was in high school. I need to pick up the sequel soon, it's amazing I haven't yet considering I've had it on my shelf for since summer.

    1. Thank you, Alice. I also loved how Lara Jean just liked to chill at home with her family. Lots of teens do this, but most media pushes the narrative that there is something uncool about you if you do that. I have a full schedule for November, but I will try to read the sequel in December.


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