Book Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

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Lately, I got so addicted to write a book review based on young adult novel that I read before. I read ton of books recently but I barely write the review because I simply like to put my personal comment in Twitter or Instagram. But now, I don’t know why I kinda physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance called book review.

Okay, let’s just started the review then. Today, I would like to share my reading story behind the best-selling young adult book called “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”. I read that book last year and became so hooked with Jenny Han writing style. Until now, I already finished the sequel, “PS I Still Love You” (book review coming up next, people!) and “That Summer Series” that I read based on recommendation from Fika Amalia.

“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. Once she stopped liking someone, she would write everything (literally everything) about him since they never read it anyway.

“When I write, I hold nothing back. I write like he’ll never read it. Because he never will. Every secret thought, every careful observation, everything I’ve saved up inside me, I put it all in the letter. When I’m done, I seal it, I address it, and then I put it in my teal hatbox.”
― Jenny Han, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Lara Jean is a half Korean teenager who lived with her father, Margot (her older sister), and Kitty (her little sister). Since their mother passed away several years ago, it was Margot who manage to take care their family beside her father. It was so nice to read a very sweet portrait family that remind me with my own family. Silly jokes, useless argument with siblings, or simply fighting over food. Along with Josh, the boy next door whose as close as a family, Lara Jean rock her teenage life with loving and caring family.

Lara Jean loved Josh for the first time when she knows him, back in the summer before ninth grade. They have grown up alongside each other for the past five year. Her family, even her dad all adore Josh. But it was before she found out that Josh love Margot and started dating her older sister. Lara Jean swallowed her feeling, write him a letter that she never sent, and try to forget him. It was hard at first, because Josh spent most of his time in her house while Lara Jean need to erase all the feelings that she had before.

“Do you know what it’s like to like someone so much you can’t stand it and know that they’ll never feel the same way?”
― Jenny Han, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Things turn to be good, Lara Jean had completely moved on from Josh and fall in love for a couple times with other boys, until one day, Margot decided to leave her home town and moved to Scotland. Margot choose to continue her study for college, far away from her neighborhood because she think she needs to be strong in order to be the best role model to Lara Jean and Kitty. Margot then break up with Josh and left him in the gutter.

Lara Jean can’t do anything but watching Josh from a far. She scared that if she moves near Josh, her feeling can easily appear. She knows that deep down, she still loves Josh since he was her first love. But Lara Jean doesn’t want to hurt Margot and she knows that Josh still loves her older sister.

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.

Can you imagine how mortifying and terrifying is that? Someone has sent her love letter to all her (ex) crushes! The story moves so nicely with that morning when Peter Kavinsky (or also known as Peter K) coming up and holding Lara Jean’s letter. He confronts her about the love letter and Lara Jean try to explain it to him. But also, it was a shock for Lara Jean when she realizes that Josh got her letter too. To save her face in front of Josh, she pretend to dating someone. It was Peter K, one of her crush back in middle school. Surprisingly, Peter K is totally okay with this drama.

I don’t want to spoil the whole story for you but over all, this book is portray Lara Jean’s struggle with her relationship between her older sister and with the boys she loved before. I read this in one day because this book is kind of light reading that you don’t need to think so hard to drown in this story. I was so sucked into this young adult novel because it was such a fun, fast paced read, and took me by surprise how Jenny Han end this story.

And this is my favorite moment in this book (the one from many, of course!) : when Peter K and Lara Jean having a fight in her Christmas Party and Josh coming between them to defend Lara Jean.

“You’re such a scumbag, Kavinsky.”
I spin around. There is Josh, in the doorway, glaring at Peter.
“It’s your fault people are saying that crap about Lara Jean.” Josh shakes his head in disgust. “She’d never do that.”
“Keep your voice down,” I whisper, my eyes darting around. This is not happening right now. At recital party, with everyone I’ve ever known my whole entire life in the next room.
Peter’s jaw twitches. “This is a private conversation, Josh, between me and my girlfriend. Why don’t you go play World of Warcraft or something. Or maybe there’s a Lord of the Rings marathon on TV.”
“Fuck you, Kavinsky,” Josh says. I gasp. To me Josh says, “Lara Jean, this is exactly what I’ve been trying to protect you from. He’s not good enough for you. He’s only bringing you down.”
Beside me Peter stiffens. “Get over it! She doesn’t like you anymore. It’s over. Move on.”
― Jenny Han, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

The next thing I know, I was reading the last page in this book and wondering: why this book must end like that when I don’t know what finally happen to Lara Jean and Peter K? Are they started dating for sure? Or not? How about Josh?

And then, I realize that this book is already finished with open ending. At once, I thought this book was a stand alone until I was find out that Jenny Han released the sequel from this book titled “PS I STILL LOVE YOU”.

Of course, I’m looking forward to know more about Lara Jean, Peter K, and Josh! Book review coming up next!

“It was over before I even had a chance.”
― Jenny Han, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Picture sources from google images


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