Book Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
Some of the best books I’ve read are ones I’ve chosen based on the cover. Now, I know what you’re thinking, isn’t picking a book based on it’s cover the worst way to choose a book? It is. But I do it anyway.
Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is one of the many books in my collection I was drawn to because of the cover. With pastel colors and script writing, I was easily sold.
However, I’m not here to tell you about the cover of the book, but instead what’s inside.
Originally, I had mixed up the first and second until the first came out on a paperback copy. I picked it up and it sat doomed on my shelf while I finished another book. Around Christmas, I finally had the chance to get into it, and have just now finished it.
I also recently saw they’re turning the novel into a movie, so I wanted to finish it before all the hype about the movie.
I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I’m not really interested in high school-set YA novels any more. These are the types of novels where the biggest issue is getting a date to the Spring formal. Alternately, if the oh-so-average lead male is going to ever get a chance with the girl next door. They’re typically predictable, because we all like happy endings. I loved these stories when I was in high school, but now they feel young for me.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is a high school-set novel focusing on the three Song-Covey girls: Margot, Laura Jean, and Katherine (Kitty). The girls take care of each other and their father after their mother passes away a number of years before the story.
The story begins with Margot getting ready to leave to go to college in Scotland. This is a huge change for the Song sisters, and Margot’s boyfriend, Josh Sanderson. Josh is the Coveys’ neighbor and grew up with the Song sisters.
After Margot leaves for college, Josh continues to play a significant role in the Song-Covey family, as he maintains a friendship with Laura Jean, Kitty and Dr. Covey.
Laura Jean begins to struggle with feelings she had for Josh back when they were in 7th grade. She had previously pushed her feelings after Josh and Margot started dating. After Margot leaves, Laura Jean has the opportunity to be close with Josh again.
In a twist of fate, Laura Jean’s special hat box, a gift from her mother, is accidentally taken to Goodwill. She stored a collection of letters in the box that she never wanted anyone to find. Laura Jean gets the box back, and discovers her letters are gone. The next day at school, a classmate approaches her with a letter in her own handwriting addressed to him.
The letters are mistakenly mailed, each letter to a boy she wrote to when she was younger.
Laura Jean tries to save face at school while she tries to clear the mess the letters caused. It leads her to building new relationships and repairing relationships with old friends.
Ultimately, Laura Jean learns more about herself through the boys she no longer kept touch with. Through Margot, Kitty, Peter Kavinsky and Josh Sanderson, Laura Jean finds value in the relationships she already has around her.
This novel is one of the better YA novels I’ve read in a long time. Laura Jean is a shy and quirky lead character, and her personality is relatable to readers. She carries traits of teenagers who don’t want to go out and party.
The way Jenny Han writes her characters is very realistic and in tune with the way teenagers form and maintain relationships. The interactions between Laura Jean, Peter, and Josh are all realistic.
The story is engaging and Laura Jean’s letter keep the reader on edge throughout the novel. There were moments where the reader wants to cheer for Laura Jean, and there are moments where the reader wants to say “Yikes!” and cover their eyes.
I’m excited to read P.S. I Still Love You, and Always and Forever, Laura Jean.
Stay tuned for next time, I’ll be back with another book review.