“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.”
-Synopsis from Goodreads
I read this book twice. Once almost a year ago exactly, and the second time a few weeks ago. I have to say I really liked it better the second time, because I made more of an effort to just enjoy it for what it is, and not pick it apart and analyze it closely, as I do with most books.
However, some of my initial thoughts on my first read still ring true: I still don’t feel that I saw as much character growth from Lara Jean as I would have liked to by the end of the book. I still get the sense that she is a character who things just happen to, as opposed to one who acts. There is nothing wrong with that, other than the fact that it didn’t make me sympathize with her as much as I would have liked to; and I really did want to because Lara Jean is not a character I have anything in common with at all, now or when I was that age. (Example: she consistently refers to her parents as Mommy and Daddy both in thought and in coversation, which I just could not even begin to understand. Is this a thing people do?)
Let’s be honest, it’s entirely possible that the movie was so good that it may have influenced my experience of reading the book. For example, in both the book and the movie I could not understand why Lara Jean shunned Josh the way that she did. I think she should have pursued some kind of relationship with him rather than throwing herself into someone’s business (Peter) who she had to have known on some level was going to be infinitely more complicated than what she had with Josh. It just didn’t add up to me. As much as I want to say this was a case of me reading a teen book and not accepting that “teens will be teens” and I won’t always agree with their decisions, it didn’t feel like that was it. Anyone else get this vibe?
Still, I gave this four stars on Goodreads because it was a light and fluffy distraction of a novel which I needed at the time of reading it, the family interactions (except for the mommy and daddy thing) were sweet, and it had an intriguing plot that made me want to read the entire book.
Stay tuned for my review of the second book in the To All the Boys series, P.S. I Love You next week.