REVIEW: TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE BY JENNY HAN

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)

Title: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 355
My Rating: 2 stars

 

TWO_CATS

 

I really thought I was going to like this book. A cute contemporary with some high school nostalgia, added in with getting to see what kind of trouble Lara Jean’s letters get her into and how she gets out of it. But it didn’t go down like that at all. THIS BOOK LITERALY HAS NO ENDING. There were 10 pages left and I started to get worried. And then the book ended. I just don’t get the point- like why even write this book? You could probably do something pretty interesting with the overall concept, but it’s like the author DIDN’T EVEN TRY.

The plot: So half the story is these characters baking something or making cookies or preparing dinner, and don’t get me wrong- I love me some baked goods- but I’ve literally read cookbooks that had more pizzazz than this story. Think of all the drama that could theoretically come out of this plot!! You could do great things with secret love letters getting out in a high school setting!! But that’s not what we get. It’s soooo disappointingly anticlimactic. AND INSANELY PREDICTABLE! “Maybe we’ll get a curveball” I say to myself, “Maybe this won’t keep playing out exactly as I think it will/playing out even more boringly than it probably would in real life” I try telling myself as I’m attempting to cheerlead myself through this fiasco instead of dumping it into my DNF pile. (So, go me? I finished it, so that counts for something, right?) Things happen, and then more equally predictable things happen, and then the book ends before it all even plays out fully.

Lara Jean is, in truth, annoying. She’s supposed to be sixteen, but the story reads like she’s still in middle school. It took me almost three chapters to actually figure out how old these characters were supposed to be. Lara Jean was portrayed as being really sheltered and innocent, and it was done in such an extreme way that I just couldn’t find myself relating to her at all. These characters were so flat and one-dimensional they could slip through a crack in the floor boards if they turned the wrong way.

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Lara Jean: –Cries over almost anything –Tells Peter “You’re basically her property” when talking to him about a girl that just dumped him -Terrified of driving (for no good reason) –Literally never stands up for herself
Chris: -Lara Jean’s friend that she has absolutely nothing in common with –Self-proclaimed “slut”  –Not even really a good friend to Lara Jean? Like pretty much uses her and that’s it.
Josh: -Lovesick, I guess? –Is he even really into anything other than hanging out around the Song family? Like does this kid even have a life outside the times we see him talking to Lara Jean?
Peter: -Typical jock –I think we’re supposed to perceive some sort of turn around with him from the beginning of the story to the end, but the whole time he’s being sneaky and doing shady shit.

“But I’ve already explained to Josh that it’s not going to work out with us because Genevieve has you whipped, so it’s all good. You can stop pretending now.”
Peter glares at me. “I’m not whipped.”
“But aren’t you, though? I mean, you guys have been together since the seventh grade. You’re basically her property.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Peter scoffs.”

?????????

 

I want to be fair because I hate being negative, so I am going to say that I did enjoy reading some of it, and there were definitely parts that made me laugh or smile to myself, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that the story moved really slowly (AKA not at all, AKA how did that even last). Overall, I think the content was aimed at a younger reading group, and that this might have been a better book to read in high school rather than a decade after /finishing/ high school. I’m all about reading young adult books, but the ones I usually really don’t feel as immature as this one did. Aside from totally changing some of the major plot points, I think I would have liked chapters with different perspectives, rather than seeing everything through Lara Jean’s eyes. There were a bunch of characters, but we only ever get to see Lara Jean’s interpretation of everything as it happens.

Oh, book. I had so much faith in your potential. Sadly this has turned me off the series as a whole and I highly doubt I’ll be checking out the movie adaptation anytime soon.

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2 thoughts on “REVIEW: TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE BY JENNY HAN

Add yours

  1. It’s really interesting that you didn’t end up enjoying this one, I’ve only seen positive reviews! But it’s always great to see different perspectives. I haven’t read the book but I did watch the movie (and I normally don’t really like high school romance films) but I thought it was really entertaining and surprisingly well done.

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