by Jenny Han
Released: April 14 2014
Series: To All the Boys I Loved Before #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
“It’s different than what I normally read but I like the simplicity of it. I like the realness of it. This book made me take a step back and take a look at my own life, at my own past and made me appreciate what I have.”
~ Under the Covers
I picked this book up on my younger sister’s recommendation. She told me, “Read it, it’s cute” and when I saw the cover, I just knew I had to give it a try. It’s quite rare to see an Asian lead in anything and even more rare to see it in Fiction so that’s also another reason why I wanted to read this book. The heroine of this story is half white and half Korean. Coming from a mixed background myself, I found this particularly pleasing to see.
Lara Jean is seventeen years old but she isn’t your typical teen. She likes old things, vintage things and she would rather spend time with her two sisters than go to parties with the popular people. As the middle child, she’s somewhat of a brat but she also has a good head on her shoulders. When her older sister Margo leaves for Scotland for college, Lara Jean is now in charge of taking care of their father and younger sister.
What’s especially cute about this book is that Lara Jean is a romantic and she likes to write these love letters to her crushes. Somehow they all get sent out to the boys despite the years that have passed since she’s written them. Now, all those emotions she had for those men come rushing back when a couple of them confront her about it. The premise seems simple but the book is much more complex. It’s so, so emotional.
Jenny Han’s writing style is very simplistic. As this is a Young Adult novel, I knew going in that there would be an easy innocence to the tone but this one does feel very simplified. It could be that it’s a Contemporary setting but I think it’s really just Han’s voice. She truly makes it seem like you’re in a teen’s mind with this book.
As I read this book I was thrown back into my own teenage years and while it felt scary at first, I found that I actually liked it. My teenage years are very different than Lara Jean’s. I feel like she’s still quite naïve about a lot of things, especially boys and sex. But I kind of liked that about her. I liked that while every other girl was interested in boys, she was interested in books and baking. Her innocence and her quirkiness is what makes her stand out and I think it’s also what the boys in this novel like about her.
As much as this book is about first loves and lost loves, it’s also about family too. Lara Jean is very devoted to her family and again, I found that so refreshing. It’s touching too. I teared up a few times at some of the heartfelt moments between her and her father. Since he’s a single father trying to raise three girls on his own, I know it’s hard for him. I loved how he tries to keep that sense of normalcy for his kids while also trying to keep their Korean influences alive despite the fact that their mother is already gone.
I fell in love with the two main guys in this story. They’re so different but at the same time, they do share some similarities. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll leave it there but I think you’ll be surprised by some of the actions of these guys. They ended up being really sweet.
I’m so glad I picked up this book. It’s different than what I normally read but I like the simplicity of it. I like the realness of it. This book made me take a step back and take a look at my own life, at my own past and made me appreciate what I have.
What did you think of our review?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!