Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1
Published by Carl Hanser Verlag GmbH & Co. KG on July 25th 2016
Genres: YA Contemporary, YA Romance
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|Here is my motown Spotify list inspired by Lara Jean…
Catfairy’s First Thoughts
Presently at this moment, I am writing this review and swaying to my Lara Jean Motown playlist on Spotify and eating an oatmeal raisin cookie. (I know…I know…Lara Jean…could make much more creative cookies…such as those cowgirl cookies and don’t forget those snickerdoodles!)
If I could sum up my feelings for this book in one word, I would simply use a word that isn’t listed in the Cambridge English Dictionary and that word would be…adorbs!
To all the boys I’ve loved before made me want to be the fourth Song sister and I just loved all the things about the main character of Lara Jean! I want to live in the world of Lara Jean and raid her adorable vintage outfits and use her heart hole puncher! After all, how can you not love a girl who has a heart hole puncher?
“Because after I write my letter, I’m no longer consumed by my all-consuming love. I can eat my cereal and not wonder if he likes bananas over his Cherrios too: I can sing along to love songs and not be singing them to him. If love is like a possession, maybe my letters are like my exorcisms. My letters set me free. Or at least they’re supposed to.”-Lara Jean
To all the boys I’ve loved before is the first contemporary romance book of a trilogy who introduces the dainty character of Lara Jean. Lara Jean lives with her father and two other sisters named Margot and Kitty. The sisters call themselves the Song girls because their mother’s maiden name is Song and the sisters have a strong connection to their mother. Their mother died at an early age and they also share more of their mother’s physical features which is Korean and their father is Caucasion.
“We are the three Song girls. There use to be four. My mom, Eve Song. Evie to my dad, Mommy to us, Eve to everyone else. Song is, was, my mom’s last name. Our last name is Covey-Covey like lovey, not like cove. But the reason we are the Song girls and not the Covey girls is my mom used to say that she was a Song girl for life, and Margot said then we should be too. We all have Song for our middle name, and we look more Song than Covey anyway, more Korean than white.”
The Song girls are an absolute trip! Margot is the responsible and smart sister who plays mom to the whole family. Kitty is the baby sister in the family who is always causing trouble and is way too smart and spunky for her own good! They have so much fun together and have so many cute traditions that they share like the CHRISTMAS COOKIE BONANZA!
When Lara Jean falls in love with a boy she writes them a love letter professing her adoration and that’s how she gets these boys out of her system. After she finishes writing the love letter she methodically hides them in a charming teal vintage hatbox that her mother bought her. Until one day the letters are gone and all the five boys “she has loved before” receive her love letters and this is the one moment where all the boys of her past come out of the woodwork and Lara has to make a choice to either hide in her world of love letters or face the truth of her emotions, and finally live her life.
Meet Lara Jean played by Tiffany Hwang
Lara Jean is your proverbial dreamy eyed teenager who is in love with love but is terrified of it at the same time. Although she has a dramatic and individualistic style down to her vintage clothes and her innate attention to detail.
The character of Lara Jean is someone who fantasizes about love and sees it through rose colored glasses more than the real reality of it. She would rather love the boys from afar and obsess over them but never fully commit to them.
Lara Jean truly walks to the beat of her own drum and that’s what makes her full of awesomeness!
“I think I see the difference now, between loving someone from afar and loving someone up close. When you see them up close, you see the real them, but they also get to see the real you. And Peter does. He seems me, and I see him.” -Lara Jean
Meet Peter Kavinsky played by Harry Styles
“That’s when I see him. Peter Kavinsky, walking down the hallway. Like magic. Beautiful, dark-haired Peter. He deserves background music, he looks so good.” -Lara Jean
Peter Kavinsky’s is one of the five boys that Lara Jean professed her undying love to.
Peter is that quintessential guy in school that one loves to hate and hates to love at the same time. He is a popular jock who everyone is friends with and who everyone wants to be friends with. Peter has such a self-assurance about himself that it can make anyone feel that all is good and right with the world.
“I think you’re cute. In a quirky way.” –Peter Kavinsky
If I was in high school Peter would be one of my fictional high school boyfriends! He is just the most appealing, irresistible, and infuriating character that I have ever read about! Peter is someone you want to kiss and slap across the face at the same time! The back and forth banter between Lara Jean and Peter is just priceless and he brings out the feisty side of Lara Jean. Peter brings Lara Jean out of her shell and makes her realize that love is not a sugar-coated fantasy and in order to love someone you need to first be honest with yourself.
Meet Josh played by Skyler Astin
Josh is part of the love letter debacle as well and also part of a love triangle between Lara Jean, Peter, and Josh.
Josh dated Lara Jean’s sister Margot and when they suddenly broke up Josh receives Lara Jean’s love letter. Lara Jean is horrified by the fact that he received this love letter because she would never admit her feelings to Josh since he dated her sister. In order to avoid conflict, she pretends to date Peter Kavinsky. This also benefits Peter because he is currently breaking up with Lara Jean’s ex-friend mean girl Genevieve for the millionth time and wants to get her jealous. And so the plot thickens…
Josh is your typical do-gooder guy that is always there for you when you need it. Josh is like the Dawson Leery in your life that is always there to lend a shoulder to cry on and yada, yada, yada…Honestly, the character of Josh didn’t really get my attention. He seemed to be a very dry and humdrum character to me. I felt like I didn’t know enough about Josh for me to genuinely like him as a character. There just wasn’t enough depth to the character of Josh which leads me to definitely be Team Peter.
Now Lara Jean has a choice. Does she want the bad boy Peter (aka Pacey Witter) or the do-gooder Josh (aka Dawson Leery)?
Jenny Han’s Writing
Overall, it’s great to see that YA novels are representing more diversity than ever before. The author Jenny Han who is herself Korean perfectly exemplifies the Korean culture. She also beautifully describes the struggle that Lara Jean goes through with being half Korean and Half-Caucasian.
This book is written in the first person and it’s a very character-driven novel and it’s what makes this book come alive! To all the boys I’ve loved before would not have been the same book if it wasn’t for the unique characters that she had in this novel! It is easy to get lost in the world of the Song sisters! When I read this book, I felt like I was personally invited to the home of the Song sisters and I got to know them so well, that I grew attached to each of them.
Catfairy Final Thoughts
“When someone’s been gone a long time, at first you save up all the things you want to tell them. You try to keep track of everything in your head. But it’s like trying to hold on to a fistful of sand: all the little bits slip out of your hands, and then you’re just like clutching air and grit. That’s why you can’t save it all up like that.” -Lara Jean
Each of the Song sisters will have a peace of my heart and I am so happy that there are two other books in this series so I don’t have to say goodbye just yet!
Even though, I love all the Song sisters it is “obvi” that Lara Jean is my favorite of them all! I love how she is an individual and doesn’t change for anyone or anything! Most teenagers have the pressure to conform to what is cool and what is not cool. Lara Jean is her own person and she doesn’t care about that which is an inspiration for all teenage girls. Being yourself is the coolest thing you can be!
This book is the kind of book that makes you reminisce on what it is like to truly fall in love for the first time, how you romanticize it in your head, how scary it is, and how amazing it is all at once!
Charlie Chuchi says five meow stars!
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