To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han is a super quick and easy romance novel following the life of Lara Jean Song. After her eldest sister leaves for college, Lara Jean is left to take on the responsibilities of the house and younger sister Kitty due to their hard-working dad and deceased mother. One day, the five love letters Lara Jean wrote over the past few years are mysteriously sent out to the boys. Mortified over her neighbour and sister's ex-boyfriend receiving his letter, Lara Jean must disguise her love for him by creating a false relationship with young love Peter.
Before I start this review, I must say that I went into this book with incredibly high expectations as my friend has read it and won't shut up about it. Perhaps this was a mistake as it was not as good as I had hoped. My main issue with this book was how simple the writing was. I was confused whether I was reading a young adult book or a children's book at times. As someone who is always wanting to read sophisticated and challenging books to strengthen my own vocabulary and writing, it took me a while to get used to the easy and straightforward writing of this book which was a step down from the books I usually read. Bearing that in mind however, it was nice to have a super quick, day-long read.
The premise of this story was one that I found intriguing. However I don't think it was approached as well as it could have been. I mean, I'd be totally mortified if letters that I had poured my heart out in were sent out. I didn't feel like protagonist Lara Jean showed us her suffering enough. Also, I thought the severity of the letters' content would be more dramatic, not petty things such as 'you eat the last slice of pizza'. I thought the potential each letter had to make this book so romantic and heart-warming were lost with the childish idiocies. I know some of the letters were written when Lara Jean was very young, so the silly things she had written were expected, I just felt that there was no balance whatsoever. I know I sound harsh, I just thought if it were different it would have been more effective.
Though I've mostly been negative, I don't mean to make this sound like a bad book that I didn't enjoy. I've already ordered the next book as I'm interested in where the story will go. I thought Lara Jean was a lovely and relatable protagonist as she was super quirky and awkward at times which often brought a smile to my face. The obvious love triangle involved was kind of cliche and predictable but sometimes a girl needs a cheesy, stupid but entertaining read right? I thought some of the decisions that Lara Jean makes were so stupid and frustrating at times, but couldn't help chuckle at the outcome. Because come on seriously Lara Jean, it obviously wasn't going to end well!
My favourite thing about this book was the relationship between Lara Jean and her two sisters. I don't have a sister, but I thought the meaningless bickering between Lara Jean and youngest sister Kitty were totally realistic and entertaining. As well as the irrevocably strong relationship between them and their oldest sister Margot.
Although this book didn't include a sophisticated writing style, or a complex story-line, it was enjoyable nonetheless. Especially about half way through. Admittedly I was thinking of giving up on the book toward the beginning; thinking perhaps it was a waste of time. But as I started to get to know the characters more I started to get engrossed in the book. The second book arrives tomorrow for me, and I've heard that it's better than the first. I'm interested to see if I will be gripped quicker by the book than I did by this one.
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