June 19, 2014

To All the Boys I've Loved Before - Jenny Han

Title: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Author: Jenny Han
Pages: 368
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

From goodreads.comWhat if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them all at once?

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.

As soon as I heard the concept of this book I was intrigued.  A girl writes letters to the boys she's loved when she doesn't want to love them anymore.  It's how she closes her chapters with them.  She seals them, addresses them (big mistake!), and puts them in a hatbox in her closet so she can move on.  Well, the letters get mailed and chaos ensues.  Lara Jean has to start doing damage control because one of those letters was for her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh.  So she does what anyone would do - gets a fake boyfriend and lies through her teeth that she doesn't have feelings for Josh anymore.

This is where the book starts to lose me a little.  Everyone keeps telling Lara Jean that Peter (the fake boyfriend) is bad news for some reason?  He plays sports?  Is incredibly good looking?  Hangs with the popular crowd?  I don't really know what everyone's problem was with him because he was never anything but good to Lara Jean and her little sister, Kitty.  He never tried to take advantage of their fake dating situation and no one ever gave a specific reason for not liking him (except for Josh who was totes jealous).  The other thing that felt off to me was that Lara Jean felt very young to me.  She was supposed to be a junior in high school, but always felt more to me like a freshman.  It might just be that she spent so much time with her sisters and Josh that she didn't know very many other people or wasn't comfortable being social with them, but it comes off as her being younger.

Even with these snags, To All the Boys I've Loved Before is a solid contemporary read from Han and would appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen, Elizabeth Eulberg, and Jennifer E. Smith.

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