Book Review & Discussion: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

I actually read this bookhttp_www.readsleeprepeat.orgwp-contentuploads201310to-all-the-boys for the first time in high school, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as my friends or find it extremely memorable. 🌸 I decided to give it a reread because of the Netflix movie (which looks so freaking cute!) and because my best friend says the series improves so much, especially with the last book.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has really grown on me, and its romance and fun-loving family dynamics are as refreshing as the narrator herself, Lara Jean. There are parts where the characters act somewhat immature, but it all fit into the chick-flick, fluffy contemporary plot nicely. My main critique of this book would be the writing—there were too many times where it felt choppy and incomplete.

Spoiler-free 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.

I give this book somewhere between a 3.5 to 4/5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ It definitely has room for improvement, but it’s a much better read this second time around. I also already finished the next book in the series and can say with confidence that everything is improving. I would highly recommend giving it a try! 👌

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

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Writing

Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with Jenny Han’s writing. On one hand, it’s extremely simple and direct, making it captivating from the start. The first few lines drew me in immediately—it was innocent, wishful, and appealed to my inner romantic.

“I like to save things. Not important things like whales or people or the environment. Silly things. Porcelain bells…cookie cutters…ribbons…love letters.”

On the other hand, the writing sometimes felt incomplete. The short chapters would be filled with short sentences, and while I’m not saying it’s the end of the world, they ended up feeling more like fillers. I was left with wanting more from the author. I wanted her to further explain Lara Jean’s feelings, Peter’s actions, Genevieve’s attitude, etc.

Characters

Lara Jean. She’s innocent and has her head in the clouds. She’s loving and loyal. 💞 Sure, there are times where she acts immature, but I can empathize with her actions and feelings because they’re feelings we all have probably experienced. Maybe it’s just me but I find her to be a very relatable character. She’s very girly and has strong family values. Her fashion sense and overall aesthetic are what I aspire to achieve. Plus, she hates driving and loves baking. 🍰 #SAMEunnamedJosh. The boy next door. 🧢 Also, Margot’s (ex)boyfriend. There’s a line in the book that says Margot fell in love with Josh because everyone else in the family was in love with him. I think it’s such a perfect description of Josh’s relationship with the Song-Covey family. He has such a great understanding of everyone in the family such as how he plays games with Kitty, goes fishing with their dad, and unintentionally dressed up as Harry Potter for Halloween, matching Lara Jean’s costume. ⚡

Peter. Where can I get myself a Peter Kavinsky?? I definitely think movie Peter is better than book Peter (at least in the first book). He’s definitely a great guy, but he becomes a lot more mature as the series grows. (I’m also writing my thoughts on his character way after I’ve read the books, so now I’m having some trouble discerning movie Peter with book Peter 😅).  TATB-NoahCentineo-LanaCondor-selfie_002.jpgOther Characters: Kitty. The baby of the Song-Covey family but is also pretty mature. I wish I could be more frustrated and angry at her for mailing out Lara Jean’s letters, but I can’t because it wasn’t meant to be malicious and she’s still just a kid. Margot. I can’t hate Margot because she truly hasn’t done anything wrong and because she’s a good person. Genevie. Lara Jean’s ex-best friend and Peter’s ex-girlfriend. I really don’t like her, and she’s even worse in the next book. 🙄

Chris. This paragraph is just for a little Chris appreciation. At first, her character introduction rubbed me the wrong way because she just seemed so extreme that I didn’t understand how her friendship with Lara Jean could’ve worked out, but they’re honestly such great friends who balance each other out well.

Plot

Have you ever read one of those Candy Apple books in middle school? 🍎 To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is like one of those…but better. Everything is more fleshed out and the plotline appeals so much to my teenage girl heart. The family relationships in this book make my heart so happy. 😭 #SongSistersForLyfe Honestly, it makes me wish that I had sisters. I love how their dad does so much for the girls too such as making Korean food so they have ties to their culture. to-all-the-boys-ive-loved-before-2018I really love the whole drama of Peter and Lara Jean pretending to date so that Josh doesn’t think Lara Jean likes him anymore. It’s definitely over-the-top and probably not the most realistic, but it’s such an enjoyable plotline. Watching everything unfolds truly felt like a movie!

Romance

If you hate the love triangles trope, you’ll probably dislike this book, but lucky for me, I am such a sucker for a good love triangle. 😍 I loved seeing both guys get jealous of one another over our dear Lara Jean. Mwhaha! I know some people will hate on Lara Jean for liking Josh because he’s dating her sister, but she didn’t actively try to steal him away from Margot. She wrote his letter as a way to release all her feelings and help herself stop liking him! I loved watching Lara Jean and Peter slowly fall for each other!! My heart was singing for joy. 💖Screen-Shot-2017-08-03-at-10.39.51-AM (1)

Movie Thoughts 

The movie was so freaking good!!! It was so soft, and I loved it so much. 😍😭 I definitely think the movie made me a bigger fan of the books, and I am now always listening to the song Like Me Better by Lauv which is in the trailer and movie. 🎵 I was pretty sad that some of my favorite scenes (e.g. Halloween party) were cut and that there was barely any explanation of the Song sisters’ Korean heritage, but overall, I still think this movie was wonderful and deserves a sequel!

In Conclusion

This series definitely improves throughout the books! Like I said earlier, my main critique is Jenny Han’s writing, but it also improves throughout the series. 🌟The romance gets fluffier, and the plotline gets more interesting. Lara Jean also matures more as a character, so I highly recommend continuing the series! Plus, John Ambrose McClaren in the next book is one of my favorite characters. 💖

Want to Buy This Book?

If you purchase the paperback or hardback version from Book Depository, I make a small commission which helps keeps my blog running. 🛍️ They have free shipping worldwide, so talk about a win-win solution!


Have you read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before? Are you as excited as me for the movie? Let me know in the comments! 💕

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29 thoughts on “Book Review & Discussion: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

  1. I need to watch this movie PRONTO!! I loved the 1st book, but for some reason never ventured on in the series. I definitely hope to do that soon. I love your perspective of the characters, plot, love interests, and writing. It’s a cool way to breakdown a review!!

    Kitty was my fave even though she’s the bratty little sister. She’s too funny and strong not to love. I usually don’t go for love triangles, but this one had my heart. It just completely worked because there was HISTORY behind it. Great review– and now I want to watch the movie even more than I already did!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes!! Read the next books 😉 The story is starting to get even better. Thank you so much for complimenting my review format!! I think I have so many thoughts and am an organization-lover, so this is the best way for me to jot down my thought 😅 I’m always worried that it makes my reviews tooo long…

      I honestly love Kitty so much—she’s so adorable! I’m honestly a sucker for love triangles, and I definitely think the history behind it makes it even better. Pleaseeee watch the movie 😍 I love this book even more because of it!

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    1. Yay!! I’m so excited that it’s getting you to read the book 😍😭 The entire trilogy is phenomenal, so I’m really hoping there’s a sequel movie. They definitely are pretty dissimilar because I think movie PK is more mature and understanding if that makes sense?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really need to reread the trilogy, it’s been so long that I forgot all the details. I also like the whole fake date idea and yes the movie was so cute and fluffy but obviously we need more Peter K. and LJ scenes and John!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. THE BOOKS GET FLUFFIER, YOU SAY!? 👀👀👀 I only read the first book and didn’t bother continuing since I really couldn’t stand Lara Jean’s narration, buttttt the movie made me so happy and huggy and MAYBE I will continue the books someday? Would you recommend the sequels to me if I wasn’t the biggest fan of book 1?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They do get fluffier 😏 😏 😏 I honestly wasn’t a big fan of the narration either, but I think it does improve over time! Second book was probably my favorite. Although fair warning, the beginning is a little frustrating because it’s basically the end of the movie with the whole hot tub instagram scandal and annoying Gen. 😒 I would recommend reading book 2, and if you don’t like it, then don’t read book 3. John is super precious in book 2, so it’s much fluffier ❤️

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  4. I’ve had this on my TBR for so long bit i never seem to pick it up, I’d better get to it because i want to watch the movie lol.

    Great review

    Vicci x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely review Tiffany! I get where you come from about not really feeling Jenny Han’s narration, I personally love it, but I can understand that. I’m glad you liked the next books a bit better! I really loved the series as a whole, it was such a sweet and fun series to read and PETER ❤ And the movieeeeeeeee was so good and so cute and ahhhhhhhhhh I loved it ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fabulous post! Loved this book and just watch the movie yesterday and loved it as well! And I completely agree movie Peter > book Peter!💕

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Saw my blog partner also commented on this she really needs to read this book! I know what you’re saying I just sat down to update things and I usually watch TV then and I almost turn that movie on! But I’m watching HGTV instead LOL

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  7. Though we have a different opinion about Jenny Han’s writing, I love your review Tiffany! ❤ I understand where you're coming from and well said on those points.:) Her books are so fluffy to read. What I love the most about TATBILB is the strong family bond and the sisterhood.Kitty is my favorite song sister because she's so ADORABLY FUNNY! ❤ I'm still Team PK (even if he got on my nerves on the second book). He's honestly thoughtful and sweet. The romance between him and LJ made me swoon 😀 ❤

    Despite of the changes, I personally love the movie adaptation (too bad they didn't include the bake sale scene). I watched it thrice already because it's so CUTE! It makes me want to reread the series and fall in love all over again.

    "Genevie. Lara Jean’s ex-best friend and Peter’s ex-girlfriend. I really don’t like her, and she’s even worse in the next book. 🙄" —- I COULDN'T AGREE MORE! Smh on her.

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    1. Kitty is also my favorite Song sister!!! She’s so cute and honestly makes me wish that I had a little sister too ❤ I leaned a bit more to Team John during the second book, but Team PK will always prevail 🙂

      I've been watching the movie so many times, and it's making me also want to reread the books.

      Thank you so much Beatrice for reading my review 🙂 I love all the conversations that we have, and it makes my day a lil brighter ^_^

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great review, Tiffany! Contemporary romance isn’t a YA genre I ever really reach for, but I’ve enjoyed seeing the community get excited about another book adaptation with diverse characters at its center. I’m glad this was a more enjoyable read for you the second time through 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great review! I am team Kavinsky too! I am the opposite when it comes to book vs movie. The movie was cute, but missed alot of important scenes from the book..like the road trip to the estate sale with the fresh donuts..or the whole fruitcake cookie bit. I liked the book a lot more. Not sure of I’ll get through the entire series though..the second book seems kinda blah in the first couple of chapters. 🙈🤷‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can definitely understand! I really wish some of those scenes could’ve been included, but I guess they just couldn’t because of time constraints 😭 The first book is definitely meh in the beginning, but pleaseeee keep reading for John!

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  10. Ditto, movie Peter is much for my liking than book Peter (and yes, book one). Both book and movie made me wish I had sisters too!

    Awesome breakdown review for both book and movie! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

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