I am going to be a bit gushy here. I won't be able to help myself. I just.. cannot even... my heart. Love, love, love. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han is the book equivalent of a macaroon. Pastel colored, sweet, beautiful, and oh, so addicting. If you are looking for heavy angst ridden YA just move along because you are not going to find it here. Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song Covey (Why is her name wrong in the blurb? It bugs me.) has written love letters to every boy she has ever had a crush on and saved them in a hatbox. Now, somehow, they have all been sent.
Sisters and the relationships between them play a huge part in this book. It was heartwarming. They genuinely loved one another and liked one another (entirely different things), valued one another's differences. I love how they were all such unique individuals but also able to act as a single "Song Girls" unit. Does their dynamic remind anyone else of modern Little Women? Margot is obviously a Meg and Kitty is clearly an Amy. In my head, Lara Jean was a cross between Jo and Beth. She has Jo's impulsiveness and personality and Beth's love of home and thoughtfulness.
I love Lara Jean. I hard core relate to Lara Jean. I am in acute physical pain that Lara Jean is not a real person that I can make friends with. I have never read such relatable introversion in my life. "Hmm, on the one hand, I could go out with my wild friend; but on the other, I just ordered a new sheet mask and could bake cookies." Or cheesecake in my case, as that is what is in the oven at this moment. She is so grounded. I love her lack of rebellion. She knows who she is. She doesn't reject her peers and makes friends, but she goes after the things that interest her even if no one else appreciates them.
Peter Kavinsky is a surprisingly excellent love interest. At first, I was sure that I would hate him. There is a Dudebro arrogance to him that I usually find offputting. I think that it is because Lara Jean sees through it and is forever pricking at his ego that that it was adorable rather than douchey.
Diversity in YA is incredibly important. There are so many people who are still looking for characters that truly reflect them. There is still a huge need for more. While I loved books like The Hate U Give and Allegedly, I also think that there is a huge need for more diversity like this. The story of an ordinary girl doing ordinary things who just happens to be half Korean. Race, ethnicity, culture, sexuality, gender don't have to be a problem or something to overcome. Diverse readers deserve to see characters like themselves going about their lives. More of all of this please publishing. I for one am buying it.
If you have any interest in YA romance, this is a must read.
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?
Sixteen-year-old 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.