A cute light read which reads like a chick flick, To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before is ideal for a summer read for young adult readers.
The protagonist, Lara Jean, has a lovely hat box from her mother in which she puts love letters. Not love letters received or sent, but love letters which she has written but never delivered. When somehow the hat box vanishes and boys she has liked over the years start approaching her with questions it becomes apparent that someone has posted the letters!
The novel follows the drama surrounding this situation and the relationships that unfold throughout the resulting events.
– The tone of the book is light and fun. There are a few funny moments throughout, and it paints a nice picture of life as a teenage girl whose family is as important to her as her personal life. We get a lot of scenes which take place in the context of the family home. I think this makes a realistic backdrop for the events of the story, and provides a nice contrast for those excursions beyond the home.
– I love Lara Jean’s family. They are really cute characters, especially Kitty the younger sister, and there is a sense that all the characters (Dad included) have their own issues and stories happening behind the scenes. It could easily have some spin off novels or fan fiction happening (or be a good option for a ‘write this scene from another character’s perspective’ writing activity).
– The ending wasn’t entirely predictable in terms of relationships. I’ll say no more for fear of spoilers.
– I expected the letters to be more embarrassing or scandalous. Instead they were kind of… lame? I guess that’s pretty typical though. They were more like, ‘I’m writing this as a courtesy to let imaginary you know that you are no longer my crush’ letters than love letters.
– I also disliked that Lara Jean has ONE FRIEND who is a girl, and she’s totally unlike her and they have so little in common that there is no connection between them. It paints this tragic picture that she her only friends are her sisters and her older sister Margot’s ex (who is also involved in the complicated crush situation). I didn’t think that this was realistic.
Overall, I wouldn’t rate this very highly as a piece of literary work, but it’s a good fluffy read, and has been a hit with some of the year 10 girls in my classes last year. In fact, one of them still has my copy so the above photo is actually a library book stand in…
If you want a light read and you enjoy teenage drama and chick flick type books then this is a great book for you!
Side-note: I am trying to post on here more regularly and have already missed one of my self imposed deadlines! This is me trying to catch up. I have been trying to write at least one review a week and publish on Thursdays but last week I spent Thursday getting travel jabs and helping my sister to pack for her move to Wellington (sad-face). We only got back from dropping her down on Monday and with all the zipping up and down the country it’s been hard to squeeze in blog time! I am writing this from my parent’s house up in Warkworth and I keep getting distracted by cute kittens. CUTE KITTENS.