Hey-o! I is back with a review that might gain me a lot of enemies and that is of the book To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I am the unpopular opinion when it comes to this book. I did not hate it, I actually enjoyed but it was a 3 stars read for me. I just have a few problems with it. This review is long enough without this intro so let’s just go on with the post.
Title: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance…
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.
Disclaimer: This was a reread.
I always go into books hoping, imploring, that it won’t be a copy of other books or that at least it won’t be completely predictable. This book, sadly, was both. If it wasn’t because they changed the synopsis since I first read it I would say that by reading the synopsis you could predict the whole the story. I guess that’s the reason for the change. When 90% of the stories on Wattpad are the same as your book, you know your book is one more of the same. I get it, I really do, this book is a romcom and romcom books tend to follow the same equation. Why? Because people love it. I mean look at the ratings of this book ON GOODREADS (!!!) versus the rating of other romcoms—or romance books in general—that are original or just different. I mean I don’t want to sound hateful because I don’t hate it, but that’s just what I believe are facts. Like I said I don’t hate it, it was still a fun read and I still enjoyed it, I just wish it wasn’t so based on your typical tropes and instead was more original.
BUT I must give credit where credit is due and there were some things that were more on the original side and those are: 1) the fact that she was biracial and 2) the family dynamic. Even though things are finally changing romcoms are still predominantly white and spoiler alert not everyone on this planet is white and people of color also deserve love stories. Here we have a half Korean and half white main character and a father that even though he isn’t Korean is still supportive of her Asian side. He’s constantly trying to make sure they’re still in contact with their Korean side and for that I applaud him
Talking about her dad I loved the family dynamic. I believe that in YA books parents tend to be nonexistent. The parents that are existent are usually not involved in their kids’ life, are abusive, or are too busy to pay attention to their kids. But here we have a dad that cares and that tries to be part of his daughters’ life. He is part of the story, he is in the picture, and even though he was really busy he was always trying to be involved. He actually wanted and tried to be part of their life.
Since we are talking about Lara Jean and her sisters I must say I loved their relationship. It wasn’t perfect but no relationship ever is. Like every sister relationship, they had their fights and moments they annoyed each other but they loved each other, took care of each other, forgave each other, and were there for each and at the end that’s what really matters.
The characters of this story weren’t perfect but, who is? Which is why I can almost forgive them all. But there are some things that I cannot forgive and one of those things is how Lara Jean was treated by the love interests. I hate how she allowed this. Lara Jean, you deserve to be treated better. Don’t settle for less, boo. Both love interests acted like_insert curse word here_, they were extremely possessive of her and had the wrong reasons for wanting her. I won’t give too much information because I want to avoid spoilers at all cost but trust me they did.
As you can expect from a romance novel with a love triangle there’s a relationship that is developing and one that is trying to, and in my opinion, both of the ones presented on this story were very toxic, especially the main one. As I mentioned before the love interests were_insert curse word here_and extremely possessive, especially the main one. He gets jealous over every single thing yet he pulls some shitty moves on her. If she was the one doing those things he would flip. If I was her I would not believe his bs and I would not let him do it again and again just because he apologized and gave her an excuse. Yes, maybe the excuse is valid, assuming he wasn’t lying, but how was she supposed to know if he didn’t tell her? There was a lack of communication. Every problem in this trilogy would be avoided if there were good communication—I know because I made my friend tell me what happened on the sequels. That way instead of doing things behind the each others’ back, getting jealous without knowing the whole story, and starting fights over stupid things, they would have a healthy relationship where they would actually talk about the things that bother them. Communication should be one of the pillars of a relationship, why is that so hard to understand? Another thing that bothers me is that even though the main love interest was “falling in love” with Lara Jean he was still pulling some shitty moves on her which makes me question how “in love” he truly was. Honestly, I just think the whole thing was toxic af.
Another thing that bothered me was how the main love interest is supposed to be a bad boy but I really didn’t see it. What part of him made him a bad boy? He was just a guy that was constantly worried about how others saw him and tried to make people think he was a bad boy, a ladies man which made no sense at all ’cause nothing about him screams bad boy or ladies man. This just made him pull certain moves that I consider are part of what made the relationship toxic. He cared more about keeping this image than he did about Lara Jean. He didn’t even care about her image unless it affected him. Lara Jean is so naïve like, how can someone be so naïve?!
I personally wasn’t the biggest fan of the story but I can see the appeal. I can see why people would choose to ignore these things. It was a fun story and definitely one of those stories people die over. I don’t get why people love these kinds of stories but they do and, who I am to judge? So even though it seemed that all I did was trash talk the book, I still really enjoyed it. I would totally recommend to those hopeless romantics that like this type of stories. Overall, I enjoyed, it gave me a month-long reading slump, but I really enjoyed it and will definitely give the movie a try.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this review and don’t hate me too much for it. Happy holidays and