Thursday, April 17, 2014

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

by Jenny Han
4/5 stars
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2014
352 pages
YA Contemporary

Source: Received an ARC through Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.

The title of this book sounds super romantic-like it would be filled with romantic confessions to all the boys she's loved before. Happily though this book is about so much more with insight into the whole crazy growing up process and, to my special delight, a focus on the sister-sister relationship in a healthy family setting.

Lara Jean has written five love letters to the boys who have variously claimed her heart. These letters are extremely personal, never meant to be read by any of the boys. However in a cruel twist the letters are mailed out to the boys, throwing her life into turmoil.

Frighteningly one of those letters goes to Josh, the ex-boyfriend of her beloved older sister Margot who has left for college abroad, putting Lara Jean and younger sister Kitty to take care of each other and their widowed father. Another letter goes to the very popular Peter who agrees to masquerade in a fake relationship with Lara Jean to make his ex jealous.

Though my summary of this book leans heavily on the boys part of the title, I was so pleased that family/sisters ends up taking up so much page time. Plus Lara Jean even has a few friends and interactions with classmates. What I mean is that there is a lot to grab your attention if you're looking for more in your contemporary than just romance (which I almost always am; yes, sometimes you just need to read about two people falling in love but in general I want a lot more plot threads.)

The romantic parts are really sweet though. Lara Jean really has to wrestle with her feelings for Josh and Peter as well as even a few other boys. I was pretty sure what was going to happen but was committed to the ride. My one disappointment with this book was how the ending felt so unresolved. Turns out there is a good reason for that-this is the first in a duology and presumably the second book will wrap up everything and leave me feeling satisfied.

11 comments:

  1. I am glad to hear that you liked this! I know that other blogging friends really like Jenny Han but this is the first book of hers I am going to be reading for review. I like that there is more to the story than just romance. Stories about sisters usually appeal to me too. I had no idea that there would be a sequel/companion novel so that is good to know.

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  2. Great review. <3 I'm glad you enjoyed this book :D I think it sounds amazing. But I could never read it, with her liking more than one guy. Love triangles sucks :p at least for me :D But I am glad you liked it :D Thank you for sharing. <3

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  3. Yeah, sometimes I'm miffed when a book is set up like a romance and the romance isn't there, but this one had such a nice balance of elements and what romance there was worked.

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  4. We love this premise (esp. Kristan, who used to write letters all the time without any intention of sending them!) and yet we are also so glad to hear that the boys in the title are not actually the focus of the story. Thanks for sharing your review! Definitely cements our decision to read this one. (Our first Jenny Han book!)

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  5. I'm not really a contemporary reader yet I really want to try this one! I love that it has a strong focus on the sisterly relationship. Also, yay for plots beyond romance! I'm glad you enjoyed this one, and I'm totally looking forward to giving it a try.

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

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  6. I too loved the emphasis on family and their sisterly relationship.

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  7. I'm super-excited to read this. Glad you loved it, though I am not surprised since you're a big fan of sister stories :)
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

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  8. This is on my to be read list and before reading your review I think I thought it would be quite different, and whilst it does sound like a really interesting book still, and the family relationship sounds fantastic, I don't know if I would like it as much as I had anticipated I would. Still, I think I'll keep an eye on it and maybe get it from the library to see what I think, because it does sound like you really enjoyed it!

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  9. I was happy to see so much focus on family / sisterhood too! It made the story so much better.

    Fantastic review :)

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  10. Sounds really awesome! I do love these kind of books and need to read more of them. :)
    I really like it that there is more than romance in it. Yes, I as well need a bit more plot than falling in love. :)
    Great review. Oh and I really like the cover.

    Nina from J'adore Happy Endings

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