I’ve been getting massive doses of adrenaline for contemporary young adult romance lately and it’s not even Valentine season! I thought about highlighting this book overloading with so much saccharine stuff, “To All the Boys I Loved Before”, as a fan girl celebrating the sequel’s release which is TODAY. Raise your hand if you’re as giddy as me!!
GOODREADS 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.
Actually, this book had just gained its rightful place in my “read” bookshelf about a few weeks ago. I know, I know. I joined the bandwagon too late but I have all the valid excuses, you see. I know Jenny Han like how I know Shonda Rhimes who leave her audiences up and waiting for one cruel week for what’s going to happen after a bloody series ending. I learned there’s a sequel, PS I Still Love You, to this book long before I laid my hands on it. I don’t want to end this and spend long excruciating waiting period itching to find out what happened to the story next from where it left off. Every reader’s problem, eh?
Let’s start with the characters, shall we? Jenny Han transported us to a dinner table of an Asian American family; we caught a refreshing snippet of the culture of a mixed race. This sort of reminded me of Park’s family from Eleanor and Park. Losing their mom at such an unripe period, the Song girls grew closer to each other than ever, something every reader got green over. Their dad was the coolest and that’s still an understatement. Despite the absence of their Korean mom, he never falters to remind the girls of their Korean heritage. We now open the door of the house outwards and take a stroll across the neighborhood the Song girls inhabit. Next door lives their long-time best friend, Josh. The ever amiable, Josh. He’s the kind of guy you would proudly introduce to your family. He’s the friend you wouldn’t be embarrassed about talking your worst diarrhea case. Liking him is as easy as breathing. Walk a little further and we’re knocking on the Kavinsky household, Peter Kavinsky‘s crib. He’s your typical Spring fling king, the guy who always gets to first pick in a football team. You’re probably living under a rock if you don’t know him.
If truth be told, Jenny Han is so good with boys she might win an aptitude award for Best Boy Crush Every Girl Would Swoon For. Yep, I’m a victim! The only imperfection there is that her guys emanate too much perfection. It then becomes too real to believe like a picture of Utopia everyone’s searching for. What about girls? Her teenies seem to always burst with so much obnoxiousness. Remember Belly Conklin? Yeah, that teeny whiny girl from Jenny Han’s Summer series. Lara Jean probably got inflicted by her virus. She acted as though her love dilemma is as important as international terrorism! But this is actually an honest portrayal of contemporary teenagers and I appreciate it (though a couple of times I was like “ugh, common!”) . Let’s face it. We’ve all been through that phase of being an exasperation to the old club.
Let’s get to the plot. I wouldn’t delve so much on the details to spare you the parts where you get to say “Holy Moly!” after an action-packed roller coaster ride. I like Jenny Han for unfailingly giving an engrossed feeling to us all throughout the reading party. She’s so careful with the words she used that they lie perfectly well between being tedious and overdone. This is a book where you could easily plunge into the storyline. You wouldn’t notice it’s already past 3am and you’re still holding the book like your whole life depended on it. It’s definitely not easy reading this without the sequel next to you. Once you get to the end, you would seriously rack bookstores in the middle of the night to give you that precious copy of PS I Love You which I’m going to do after hitting PUBLISH on this draft post.
To wrap it up, I’m giving four stars to this book: