To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Summary:Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the kind of book you’ll finish reading and wonder what the point was. There is no strong moral or message, no dramatic character growth, nothing. It’s a love story, but nothing more than that.
16-year-old Laura Jean has a secret: hidden in her room are five letters, one for each boy she has ever loved.
They’re not love letters in the strictest sense of the word. My letters are for when I don’t want to be in love anymore. They’re for goodbye. Because after I write my letter, I’m no longer consumed by my all-consuming love.
Buried in these letters are things Laura Jean wishes she could say, but never had the guts too. And one day she comes to school only to discover her biggest nightmare has happened: someone has found her letters, and has mailed every last one of them.
The main flaw in the story overall is just simply how juvenile it is. Laura Jean’s narration and internal thoughts read like they are from the perspective of a 11-year-old rather than a 16-year-old. There are so many instances when she comes off as completely naive and self-centered, and I found her extremely hard to enjoy.
For being such a huge component of the story, the romance was incredibly weak and poorly written. Laura Jean has been crushing on her sister’s ex-boyfriend Josh for years, and when her letter to him gets sent she knows she’s in trouble. Her game plan? To start dating Peter – one of her former crushes – so Josh thinks she’s over him in hopes that this will somehow magically make him start to like him. I found it repulsive that Laura Jean kept lusting after Josh, even though he has been dated her sister for years.
In the end, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before just felt like 350 pages worth of middle school drama more than anything else. I’d recommend this for fans of The Selection looking for something to read in the contemporary genre.