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.
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I read this book because of the hype around it with the movie (that I will probably never see because I suck at watching movies). I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I usually don’t read contemporary YA romance novels. Now, I’m still kinda confused about what to think!
So I came to the story thinking that this was going to be more about Lara and her relationships, but it was more about Lara and her relationship with her sisters Margot and Kitty. Margot is older than Lara and is about to go to college in Scotland, and Kitty is 9. Lara is a junior in high school, around 15-16 years old.
Margot has held the family together since their mother died, as their father could not easily work and raise three children on his own. She was in charge of scheduling almost everything, cooking, and driving her sisters around. She even had the perfect boyfriend, the “boy next door” Josh, until she moved away to college. Now she is enjoying her freshman year of college while hoping that Lena will be able to take her place as the oldest sister.
Lara is completely different from her sister though. She hates driving, she can’t seem to keep track of everything that the family has to do, and she doesn’t have a perfect boyfriend. When all the secret love letters she wrote to boys she had a crush on in 8th grade get sent out, she thinks that her life is over. Then, when her secret crush Josh asks if she is going out with anyone, she latches onto the first boy she sees. He happens to be her former 8th-grade crush, and now the two of them are stuck in a secret relationship.
The book focuses on Lara and Josh a lot, but even though Lara has a crush on him, she won’t act on it out of respect for her sister. Which I get, but I mean, her sister did break up with him, so she COULD have gone out with him if she wanted to. It might have caused a fight between her and her sister, but she wouldn’t have been helping him cheat on her sister. They were broken up. I won’t go more into this, as this probably has more to do with the future books in the series rather than this one.
I just want to say that even though this book was okay, nothing really stood out to me. The big shock was when Lara’s letters were sent out, but I already knew who sent them out from the very beginning. The biggest issue should have been the family trying to transition after the older sister left for college, but then the romance storyline was thrown in randomly. The book tried to do a lot, but I feel as if it didn’t end up doing anything particularly well?
I could not get behind Lara’s relationship with Peter. Fake or not, it was clear that they were going to get closer as the story went on, but it was so awkward and stilted that I just wanted them to fake break up and get over it. Then there was Josh in there, I don’t even know what’s going on with him.
Overall, this book disappointed me, but not that much. I am going to eventually read the next book in the trilogy, where I can hopefully come to some more final conclusions on these characters. But I definitely don’t plan on watching the Netflix movie. If the book is like this, I can’t imagine how they would have managed to turn it into a film. Unless they focus more no the family than the romance, which a teen girl movie would NEVER do, I wouldn’t enjoy it.
Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 books