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.
Publishes in US: April 15th 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: ya contemp
Source: Simon Teen
Series? To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1
Buy it: Amazon IndieBound Book Depository
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I wanted to read this one since I saw it on YA Romantics, and loved the premise. I can only imagine the waves that letters helping her get over boys she'd loved were actually mailed. You can't take words back and I wonder what sort will be unleashed on unsuspecting boys.
I wasn't expecting the strong family dynamics in this one, and it really was well done and a positive surprise. Our main character Lara is really close with her older sister Margot and younger Kitty. They band together to help their single dad (mom died). They really work for each other's happiness, and have a bond that only loss, time and being family can form.
The first boy that Lara gets over is her older sister's boyfriend Josh. He was the next door neighbor and was around and friends with them even longer than he had a relationship with Margot, so I can def see where Lara would fall for him. Plus, he is a good guy, being nice and playing with Kitty, hanging out with their dad, and is thoughtful and fun. This is such a hard subject though because you know that it would only hurt the bond if Lara was ever to act on or admit her feelings, but we also know this will happen because of the summary, so I was anxious at how that would effect their friendship and relationship. I also couldn't pull for Lara to get him because I saw how much he cared for Margot. It still added another element to the story because I had to know if he ever felt anything back and how Lara continues to deal with it.
Lara Jean herself is such a fun narrator. She is quirky and thinks a lot like me, she doesn't quite fit into the old crowd of friends she had, but she isn't unpopular persay. She is smart but she is more of a homebody than the average high schooler, also like me. She isn't perfect and that is what makes her even greater. She makes questionable decisions, says things that hurts her sister, and she has bad days. But she rebounds, she figures out a way to get through, and even when she makes a stack of lies, something I know I have done before, she doesn't weasel out of any responsibility of consequences. It was fun to watch her grow and deal with the changes in her life, and watch her to learn a person not just from a fantasy in her mind but up close and personal.
The romance was different, and while I have read a setup that shares similarities it was pretty new to me, and interesting to see how it played out and how their decisions effected themselves, the other person and those around them. I ended up liking guy in question more than I thought that I could and he surprised me on more than one occassion (Lara too) at how deep he could actually be and what was hidden behind his good looks. I especially loved how he ended up being at the house with Lara and Kitty a lot and how he treated Kitty like a real person and joked with her, making her feel included and special.
I liked that their dad tried so hard to be a good parent. He probably missed his wife so much he couldn't think some days, but he kept the girls, and they stuck together. He made the awkward talks with them, and tried to take back some of the responsibilities that the girls took on to help him, he tried to let them be kids. Even though he worked hard, he wasn't an absent parent, and when he was home, he did things with the family instead of holing up or going out.
I enjoyed it and flew through the story. I will def be picking up the next book and can't wait to see more from the life of the Song girls, especially Lara Jean.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Did you write love letters?