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Review “To all the boys I’ve loved before”

Title: To all the boys I’ve loved before |Author: Jenny Han |Publisher: Simon & Schuster |Series: To all the boys I’ve loved before #1 |Genre: YA | 355 pages

I have never watched the Netflix movies before and I have no ideas what actually compelled me to read this book now. I just had this feeling at the end of last year and I read it fairly quickly, I think.

SYNOPSIS

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. But 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. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

REVIEW

To all the boys I’ve loved before was an interesting read. I certainly see the appeal behind it. I even enjoyed reading it. Which sounds rather callous in a way but it’s the way I feel.

From the first page on I felt a connection to the Song sisters, most of all Lara Jean. (I think it had something to do with the mentioning of cookie cutters in the form of feet, which reminded me of some pleasant memories I made with my mum twenty years ago.) I felt for Lara Jean, who was in the shadow of her “perfect” older sister who seemed to have everything down and basically left Lara Jean in charge of all the things in their home. Not to say, that the father of the trio was anyhow inadequat to take care of things but as a single dad he had a lot of work to do to keep money coming in and I get that the sisters felt like they had to help out.
Furthermore I really liked Lara Jean with her interest in “old-timey” things, like knitting and reading and scrapbooking, and I really, really, really related to her fear of driving, because that’s something I have troubles with as well.
So, long story short, I liked Lara Jean and I liked following her on her path and accompanying through all her troubles. Sometimes she was acting in a way that made me raise my eyebrows but in the end – Lara Jean is a teenager and while the romance in this book is obviously a big and important part of it, it’s also the story about Lara Jean having to grow up and to find her own way while everything was changing around her.

The other Song sister I could relate to was Margot, because I too am the oldest of three sisters – we are not counting my older brother here right now, okay – and her taking on a lot of responsibility. She felt responsible for so much and it was a burden, but she also felt left out after she came back and discovered that everything had gone well, even withouth her there. I could clearly feel her need to be free and also the disappointment that she might not be needed anymore. I liked Margot in a way and in relation to Lara Jean. I also didn’t like her. It was a very interesting outlook for me, because I felt like I saw myself in both sisters and related to both of them and since they had a conflict with each other, I also felt like I had a conflict with myself? It was intersting and I loved to watch the dynamic between those two.

Kitty as the third Song sister annoyed me a lot. Sure, she was a just a nine-year-old kid but I still felt that she was a right brat and that she needed more boundries, that should have been enforced by her father and not been the responsibility of her sisters. Some times she was rather sweet, I have to admit. Like I said, just a kid.

The main plot of this story were of course the romantic entanglements and the letters Lara Jean never meant to send but got out somehow anyway. I think it was a nice idea. I liked how it brought everything into motion and made Lara Jean get out of her shell but also made her try to stay true to herself. There was a lot of lying but also self-discovery in this plot and I quite enjoyed the dynamic of it all. After all, love and relationships are hard work. So is staying true to oneself.

I was not really happy with the male characters in this book thought. I just didn’t really understand what Peter had going for him. I think he was not really fleshed out and I think there should have been more focus on that relationship, even though it was a fake one. I just wanted to see them together more for it all to make sense in the end. Because otherwise I would have understood why Lara Jean liked Josh so much. I felt like they had more familiarity, which they did of course since they live next door to each other, but he somehow seemed like a nice guy as a person. (I felt like that love-triangle was mostly bad for him, since it kinda messed up the dynamic of everything.)

I have not read the second book and I don’t know if I want to. I enjoyed this book because auf Lara Jean and not because of the lovestory, so I don’t really feel compelled to continue but I’m also a little bit curious, so I might continue this series after some time.


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