I have to admit that I am kind of mad at myself for not picking up To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before until just recently. Jenny Han is my new idol.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a story about friendship, family, growing up, and first love. It tells the story of Lara Jean. Whenever she falls in love with a boy, she writes them a letter. Instead of actually giving them to the boys, she puts them in a teal hatbox given to her by her mother. One day, her letters, five in all, are sent out to the boys and Lara Jean has to confront the boys and the feelings of her past.
The Song girls are the ultimate siblings. After reading this book, I wish I had a sister. Years ago, they lost their mother so the eldest, Margo, kind of assumes that role. She’s incredibly responsible and hardworking. She has been keeping the family running and at the beginning, Margo leaves for college at St. Andrews in Scotland. So now the responsibly falls to Lara Jean.
I loved her character. She’s very sweet and innocent and curious. She loves baking and has a unique fashion style. Her narration just makes me laugh all the time and I love how she’s such a romantic.
The youngest Song girls is Kitty and she is so much fun to read. I think she’s around nine in this book and she’s so curious and intelligent. She loves watching TV and she loves snickerdoodles. She’s also very sneaky, but she genuinely cares about her sisters and she is so adorable.
Being an Asian-American myself, I found it so satisfying to have a main character whose mother was half Korean. Despite the fact that her mother is no longer alive, Lara Jean’s dad tries so hard to make sure the Song girls are still in touch with their heritage. He tries to cook Korean food and he makes sure they are still connected with their mother’s side of the family. I think it’s so great that he does that.
I love that Jenny Han created a character that is the girl-next-door, that is Asian, and that goes through the same things everyone else does. This book isn’t about stereotypes or racism or being different because of one’s background. Lara Jean is just a normal teenager and that culture is just a part of who she is. Don’t get me wrong, i think those are important topics and issues and there are a couple of moments in the book recognizing them, but sometimes all you want is a love story with characters that look like you and are “normal.”
The plot was also super fun. Lara Jean used to have this crush on her neighbor Josh, who happened to be Margo’s boyfriend until she left for college. When her letters get sent out, Josh gets one and so does Peter Kavinsky, who has just broken up with his longtime girlfriend, Genevieve. To save face, Peter and Lara Jean pretend to be dating each other.
I think their relationship was so cute. I love Peter Kavinsky. I love how he picks up Lara Jean for school, since she hates driving and her car was in the shop. I love how Peter is around Kitty, Lara Jean’s little sister. I love how honest and comfortable they are with each other. And I love how Peter writes Lara Jean little notes everyday. To me, it’s the little things that make a relationship, so needless to say, I loved Peter. I need a Peter Kavinsky in my life.
I loved this book so much. I practically read it nonstop from start to finish and enjoyed every second of it. There are moments that made me laugh and moments that brought me to tears. It was a perfect summer read. I will be forever grateful to Jenny Han for telling this story. I would give it a 5/5 stars.