Monday, 23 March 2015

To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han - Review

Title: To All The Boys I've Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Genre: YA Contemporary
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books
Published in: 15th April 2014
Content warning: Mentions of family member's death
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
My Rating: 1/2
 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.

I am way behind on writing reviews so I'm just gonna go ahead and howl:


          Lara Jean is our half-Korean protagonist who has an interesting habit: Whenever she gets over her feelings for a boy, she writes letters addressed to each of them, pouring out all her pent-up infatuation and fixations on their beauty, before saying goodbye to liking them. She then keeps the letters and never mails them out. Until one day one of the boys that she wrote said letter to confronts her about it and she finds that all the letters she kept at home were gone, and somehow mailed to each respective addressee.

          This book was a light read. I breezed through it at crazy speed and ended up enjoying it somehow. The plot was not magnificent nor were there aspects of the story that blew my mind but I really liked it. I giggled at the romance and gushed at the adorable interaction between sisters. Let me tell you that I was pleasantly surprised about that because this book was cliched as heck. It contained those overused tropes that you would find in any young adult contemporary romance novels eg being in love with your sister's ex-boyfriend, establishment of fake contract and relationship to make someone jealous, love triangle etc. 

          Despite containing these ingredients to brew a huge pot of drama, To All the Boys I've Loved Before lured me in with its heart-warming family scenarios. Lara Jean loves her family fiercely. Hers is a single-parent family since the death of her mother when she was younger, and Lara Jean tries her best to fill the shoes of her elder sister Margot when she left for college in Scotland, who was the dependable one in the household. Eager to ease both her father's and her sister's worries, she steps up to the plate and takes over the roles that were supposed to be her mom's, that fell onto her sister and now passed onto her. The great thing about this family dynamic though, is that they are happy to share her responsibilities. Her dad and younger sister actually chip in on house chores in order to remove some of the burdens off her shoulders. There were funny moments where both father and younger sister were so ecstatic when Lara Jean had a guy (other than their family friend, Josh) regularly coming over to their house, they welcomed him with open arms and just accepted him as her boyfriend right off the bat, no judgments made. Ugh, just love family members who are so open and loving.

          The romance was okay. It was pretty cute most of the time, with Lara Jean being the awkward, hopeless romantic who was constantly like a deer in headlights whenever the love interest does something sweet, though I wished there were more depth and backstory to both of the love interests (like always), and also a thorough confirmation of the nature of their relationship. I wasn't convinced of their true feelings for Lara Jean. There was a lot of flirting and electric eye-contact but everything was a bunch of mixed messages in my opinion.

          I give To All The Boys I've Loved Before 3.5/5 stars, because the author managed to make the cliched storylines entertaining. Although I do not have any negative feelings toward it, the story was rather forgettable. This book definitely did not leave a lasting impression on me. With that being said, I will be casually anticipating the next book, and just glad that it did not completely end with that cliffhanger we got on the final page. To all who are picking up this book and contemplating its possible goodness, do not expect to find anything 100% original from the plot or to receive some epiphany about romance from this book and you are good to go. Just sit back and enjoy it like it is.

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