Book Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved BeforeTitle: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Author: Jenny Han

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: April 15, 2014

Hardback: 355 pages

Stand alone or series: Beginning of a series

How did I get this book: Borrowed from the library

Check out the Goodreads synopsis

What I thought:

When I read a contemporary novel, I expect certain things: cute romance, loyal friends, sweet dialogue and a character that has a fair amount of growth throughout the novel. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any of these things with this book.

Lara Jean Song Covey (yes, that’s actually her name) has been in love with her neighbor Josh for a long time. However, there’s a little problem: Josh is dating her older sister Margot. Margot is about to leave for college in Scotland, so she breaks up with Josh instead of trying a long-distance relationship. Lara Jean is a romantic, and she’s written a letter to each of the boys she’s ever “loved” as a way to get over them when they disappointed her. Somehow these letters are actually mailed, and thus starts a sometimes painful, sometimes funny trip through Lara Jean’s love life.

My main problem with this book was Lara Jean, which is a problem as she’s our main character. I found her to be silly, childish, unbelievably naïve, and stereotypically girly (she knits, bakes, scrapbooks, love pinks, and can’t drive. Ugh). At one point, she actually says “Gosh” and “tippy-top.” She was just really immature, and by the end of the novel I felt little to no growth in her. There is supposed to be a sequel, so maybe we’ll see more there. Well, maybe readers will; I won’t because I doubt I’ll read it.

Two things I expect from a contemporary novel are friends and romance. Lara Jean has NO friends. And Lara Jean’s fake romance with one of the boys she wrote a letter to is…well, fake. Lara Jean spends most of the book pining after Josh and wishing he’d just see that they are meant to be. Then she begins to like Peter more and more but he’s still obsessed with his ex-girlfriend.

I wanted to like this book so badly, but I just didn’t.

The bottom line: I wanted a sweet, make-you-feel-gooey-inside romance that had a nice friendship in it. You know, a good contemporary novel. I got none of those things, and I was disappointed in this book. Nothing got resolved and there wasn’t really an ending to this book. It felt like I wasted my time reading it and I’m not really sure what the purpose was as Lara Jean didn’t grow.

Rating: 3 – Horrible; why am I reading this?

This is the first time I’ve given a 3 rating, and I’m really sad about it. I know I am just being honest about my opinion, but I don’t like hating on a book. Unfortunately, I really did have to push my way through this one.

Currently reading: One of Us by Tawni O’Dell