025. To All The Boys I've Loved Before

14 September 2015


To gain closure from the relationships that no longer are, Lara Jean has written love letters to all the boys she's ever loved meant for her eyes only. But when her unsent letters are mailed out, Lara Jean finds herself in a rather peculiar situation.

Jenny Han's captivating novel, 'To All The Boys I've Loved Before', is a charming novel that will sweep you off your feet. It'll leave you feeling 
wonderful, warm and so nostalgic. This story is a beautiful read for a late summer afternoon, when you're looking for an adventure with an adorakable dash of the feels. It's a great pick-me-up if you're feeling a little blue, and wonderful treasure to the soul. I'm still smiling even just thinking about it! It's a coming of age story about family, high school and learning to love. An absolute pleasure to indulge. 

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Highlights
When I first came across this novel, I honestly thought it would solely be based on the romantic relationships Lara Jean had with boys who'd broken her heart. But instead this book explored different forms of attraction through love, infatuation and developed crushes. It was beautiful to see these elements of attraction actually being discussed in a novel - to see a teenager character finally question the true meaning of love. These days we fling the word 'love' around like anything. But in reality how many of the relationships we truly see experience love? It definitely isn't guaranteed in every relationship, which makes it so special and rare. Seeing Lara trying to understand that as she comes to terms with her feelings was a pleasure.

One of my favourite things I loved about this book was the family relationships. The bonds between the Song sisters was so dynamic and beautiful. It's wonderful to see a story driven by female characters, who all carry their own flair. Kitty has fierce confidence and her keen eye for fashion. 
Margo is the caring older sister, carrying about a wisdom beyond her age. Lara Jean is the naive middle child, whose yet to find her place in the world. Through all the boy drama she experiences, Lara Jean begins to come into her own. The book encourages the idea of risk taking within reason, which is important to do especially as a young adult. Standing the sidelines won't get you to where you need to be. Sometimes you need to stir the wheel and take charge.

My favourite element of this book is that it combines the East with the West. I loved the fact that it embraced and celebrated the Korean culture alongside an American upbringing. It's rare to see both cultures come together in stories, but here's to hoping this is the beginning of ethnic diversity within novels. I really would have loved to see more Korean references to culture, pop-culture even the legendary K-dramas. That would have been awesome! 

Shortcomings
While Lara Jean as
 a protagonist was so loveable - completely naive and so full of childlike excitement  - I felt like there could have been more depth to her character. At times, her innocence began to feel overbearing, and pretty much dominated her character. It defined her and turned Lara Jean into a stereotypical cliché - the young female inexperienced in life and love, turning to her prince charming to fulfil that void.

I would have also loved to see Lara Jean have a solid loyal support system behind her through her social circle - someone other than Chris who was a flimsy bestie. As the main lead, she deserved a life of her own before the romances step onto the scene. Afterall, girls are their own individuals before they fall in love, aren't they?


Conclusions

To All The Boys I've Loved Before is a charming feel good read. Even though the book carries some flaws, it's entertaining novel that will leave you smiling. Definitely the perfect read for a rainy day when you feel the blues. I can't wait to get stuck into its squeal, PS I Still Love You. 

What did you think of To 'All The Boys I've Loved Before'?

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