My reading tips this week is the adorable, sweet and quirky feel-good YA romance To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I flew through the pages of this cute chic-lit love story, not able to put it down until I’ve read it all. Lara Jean is now one of my favorite characters ever, and I absolutely love the Song family dynamics. This book is just as much about family bonding as it is about teenage crushes.
In short, this is a story about Lara Jean Song Covey, the middle girl of three in a half-Korean family, where the mother died about ten years ago. To deal with heartbreak and to get over her crushes, she writes love letters to all the boys she’s loved, then hides the letters in her hatbox. Until the box goes missing, and suddenly the boys, including her sister’s ex boyfriend Josh and the school hottie Peter Kavinsky, which sets in motion a chain of event that will change Lara Jean’s life.
Lara Jean is such an outstanding main character, I can’t think of any other character like her. I love her quirkiness, her innocence, how she loves to stay at home and how she deals with heartbreak and the love and devotion she feels for her family. She feels like a real person in so many ways. It is so refreshing with a quiet, shy person who is allowed not to be boring! Lara Jean is the opposite of boring, she’s funny and witty and curious and comes up with so many snarky comments you laugh straight out at times. Especially in the bickering conversations with Peter.
I can relate to so many things about Lara Jean. Like what it’s like to be shy, to prefer staying at home and baking (or in my case, reading books) over going to parties, to feel both older and so much more childish than your same age friends. And of course, her hate for driving. I’m still a lousy driver, totally get her aversion to driving!
I also totally adored the whole Song Covey family. Lara Jean’s dad is amazing, I love the relationship he has with each of his daughters and how he makes sure their mother is still included as a vital part of the family even though she’s been gone for so long. One of my absolute favorites though is Kitty, the feisty little sister. She’s hilarious and adorable, and a total brat at times. I love her frankness and smartness and how she is just completely in her own skin all the time. I did not bond as much with Margot, the oldest sister, but she added a good mix to the family dynamics. So while this novel is also a romance, I felt that it focused on family more, which I truly appreciated. It is very rare in YA that the family gets this much focus, often the family is more or less left out. But here it was at the core of the story.
I like both Peter and Josh, but I think I enjoyed Peter’s character just a little bit more. (At least in the movie, where Lana Condor and Noah Centineo have such a sparkling chemistry. In the book Peter is sometimes a bit too douche-y for my liking.)
All in all, this book is super sweet, with more emotions than expected. The dialogue is great. It really feels realistic and like the characters in this series talk like real teenagers would. There is also great character growth. When the letters come out, Lara Jean had to go through a lot and really changed and grew from the experience.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for an adorable and quirky coming-of-age story with a cute romance and heartwarming family ties. I can’t wait to continue the series and hang out more with Lara Jean!
Find out more about the book and the author here: Jenny Han