{ Review } To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

3.5 stars

“If love is like a possession, maybe my letter are like my exorcisms.”

Read in February 2020


In To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we follow sixteen-years-old Lara Jean Song. Lara Jean is half-Korean and she lives in Virginia with her widowed father, her younger sister Kitty and her older sister, Margot, who is getting ready to leave to attend university in Scotland. Lara Jean has the strange habit of writing love letters whenever she feels in love with a boy, but instead of sending those said letters, she keeps them in a hatbox her mother gave her to reread them when she ever feels the need to. So far, there are five letters in total, and the most recent one is addressed to Josh Sanderson, her neighbour who happens to be her older sister boyfriend. And even though Margot broke up with him before studying abroad, Josh stays off-limits for Lara Jean as she would never do something that would hurt her sister. But one day, all her letters are mailed and she suddenly has to find a way to make Josh believe that she doesn’t have feelings for him anymore, and that’s why she pretends she already has a boyfriend, Peter Kavingski, one of the recipients of the letters.

I know I’m jumping on this train late since I’ve actually read that trilogy after watching not one but the two first movie adaptations on Netflix, and I have to say, Noah Centineo convinced me to give a chance to written Peter Kavingski. And I have to say, I thought the movies were better (*shame* 🔔 *shame* 🔔 *shame* 🔔), I found the characters a bit childish and even selfish in the books. Let’s start with Lara Jean, her personality trait remained quite the same, food lover, socially shy and romantic daydreamer, but even though she is supposed to be 16 years old, she really acted like a middle grader. I sometimes got annoyed at her gullibility, I just couldn’t identify with that, and when main characters are blind to what is right in front of their eyes – in that case, that they don’t see that the character is in love with them, even though it’s obvious – is one of my pet peeves. And how she got ticked off easily, creating drama that could have been resolved with communication really made me mad. It made me feel like the author was trying to caricature a 12 yo Hufflepuff.

“Do you know what it’s like to like someone so much you can’t stand it and know that they’ll never feel the same way?”

Okay, now can we move on to the reason I read this book? Aka Peter Kavingsky. We’ve already established that I have a legit crush on Noah Centineo, so now that is out of the way, let’s talk about Peter as a character. I was less a fan of Peter in the books, in my opinion, the movies really enhanced him. He was sweet, charming and funny most of the time and we could clearly see that he enjoyed more and more spending time with Lara Jean. He even had some possessive streaks that were actually kind of cute and one of my favourite part of his personality is how nice he was to Kitty, many real-life boyfriends wouldn’t bother to acknowledge le little sister, but he did in the most natural and honest way. However, I found him pretty self-absorbed in some parts of the books and the Genevieve dramas made me roll my eyes several times as we were coming closer to the end. I really liked the fake to real dating trope, and the contract made things even more enjoyable.

Outside of Peter, Kitty was my favourite characters in the movies adaptation, but her motivations were shady in the books and she was often mean to Lara Jean, like, for instance, the reasons for sending the letters. In the movies, it was because she wanted to help Lara Jean to live her life, whereas in the books it was because they had an argument and she wanted to get back to her sister. In one case it comes from the heart and in the other, it’s an act of petty revenge that is super humiliating on purpose. Overall I really liked the family/sisters representation, but I have to say I liked it more in the movie. I saw a lot of people getting disgusted that Lara Jean had feelings for her sister’s boyfriend, I’m pretty sure the author made clear that LJ’s feelings started before anything happened with her sister and after they started dating LJ insisted many times that there would be no way for her to ever go out with Josh. You don’t choose who you love, but you choose how to express that love and I really want to say that in my opinion, Lara Jean did her best in that situation.

That being said, I really loved the progressive development of Peter and Lara Jean’s relationship, it was gradual and really believable, it made my heart feels warm and fluffy. The last things I want to address are that this book lacked heartfelt friendships. Lara Jean had literally no friend, and Chris was one of the worst best friend ever. I didn’t like Lara Jean much but she really was surrounded by characters that didn’t care for her or even acknowledge her feelings, such as Josh and Margot that were awful to her. Last but not least, I loved reading through the eyes of a book enthusiast and food lover, I really enjoyed all the food descriptions and to be honest, it made me starve more than once. Needless to say, I jumped right to P.S. I Still Love You.

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Have you read or will you read this book?
What did you think about it?

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French Book Blogger and avid reader 📚 - YA, Adult, NA, Fantasy, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance -, LGBT & disability rep 🏳️‍🌈, Ravenclaw Potterhead △⃒⃘, English teacher 👩🏼‍🏫 living to travel 🌍, proud mom of Padfoot 🐕 and Juniper 🐈

6 thoughts on “{ Review } To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

  1. Great review! I love how these books have Laura Jeans baking recipes in the back!! and yes Noah centieno is the perf casting choice in the movies 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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