Friday, 12 September 2014
Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: August 7th, 2014
Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. One for every boy she's ever loved. When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say 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.
Jenny Han is one of my all-time favourite contemporary authors, with the Summer series being up there with the best books ever. I know I'll like anything she ever writes, whether it be a book or a carefully crafted shopping list, and To All the Boys I've Loved Before has further cemented my love for her. There's no-one writing contemporary YA who can make me love their characters so much, who can make me want to be friends with them so much it makes me sad they don't exist. Jenny Han is one of those writers and, if you haven't yet read one of her books, I urge you to. Now.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before is a sweet, consuming story about sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song. She lives with her dad and sisters, Margot and Kitty, each of whom has a sparkling, lifelike personality that jumps off the page. Lara Jean has been in love before, and to get over the boys she's written them each a love letter. Her innermost feelings and thoughts are within those letters, and it would be an unmitigated disaster if the boys ever even knew they existed, especially Margot's boyfriend Josh. When the letters are anonymously mailed, Lara Jean is faced with every boy she's ever loved, and the sudden realisation that what's written on paper can become real life.
This book is addictive right from the start, with Lara Jean easily carrying the story through to the end. Margot and Kitty are fantastic supporting characters, with Kitty being my personal favourite. The things she comes out with made me laugh out loud, and she's so much older than her ten years. The bond the Song girls have is one I'm sure all sisters aspire to; one of unwavering love and the knowledge that they will always be there for each other. I couldn't stop reading about these girls and their lives, and they all grew up right before my eyes. It's amazing what difference a year can make, and that's shown in stark reality here. The boys are perfectly rendered too, flaws and all. Josh and Peter don't quite rival Conrad and Jeremiah from the Summer series, but they're not too far off!
To All the Boys I've Loved Before is an absolute gem, a joy to read from start to finish. Jenny Han writes with a dreamlike prose that always makes it seem like you're reading about real people, wishing you could speak to them and discuss the goings on in your life. There's a sequel due next year, titled P.S. I Still Love You, which in itself makes 2015 an exciting prospect and I can't wait to be reunited with Lara Jean and her sisters.