What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?
Sealing her love letters and then tucking them away into a teal hatbox under her bed has been Lara Jean’s way of telling herself, okay it’s over. UNTIL IT’S NOT. One horrific day, someone mailed all the secret letters, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her: her first kiss (Peter), the boy from summer camp (Kenny), even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh.
When I heard Jenny Han was writing contemporaries again (because Burn for Burn is seriously too weird to be in any genre), I was over the moon. Another book like The Summer I Turned Pretty? YES!!!! I was a living, walking, breathing “Pretty Please?” and “GIVE IT TO ME NOW” gif. And when that gorgeous cover was revealed…
Internally screaming: EGPIDJDAXNIUGPW!!!!!!
I started imagining the whole story. All I needed were the SUPER IMPORTANT details. Like “Will the boy be as cute as Conrad in Summer? Which one of Lara Jean’s past crushes will be “Conrad”? Peter? Kenny? Josh? He’d probably be a childhood friend, someone who is super sweet and understanding ♥ *swoons over imaginary-not-even-fictional-character*”
When I finally got hold of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, the first sentence read:
Josh is Margot’s boyfriend, but I guess you could say my whole family is a little in love with him.
YES!! JOSH!!! YES THAT’S HIM!!! And the more I read, the more convinced I was that Josh was “Conrad”. Next-door-neighbours, childhood friends, cares for Lara Jean’s family, have feelings for Lara Jean but r/s too complicated to confess… (ahh). I was sitting there with my book, just waiting for that moment when Josh x Lara Jean sparks off.
Aaaaaaand it never did. Instead, this stupid, arrogant, over-bearing Peter Kavinsky sashays into the picture and pulls Lara Jean into a crappy fake dating? WHAT THE HECK?!! Why, Jenny Han, why must you do this? I’ve read so many books and watched so many movies about it to know that they’ll always going to fall in love for real at the end. I wanted to like Peter, even for a split second, but he makes it so hard. Whenever I almost swing to his side, he pulls this douchebag move with his ex-girlfriend. UGH. NO.
The love story wasn’t what I had in my mind. It didn’t make me feel warm and tingly, nor did it make me giggle into my pillow over a certain shy, cute boy like Summer did. I enjoyed reading how the relationships developed, but I didn’t like them because I had a “better” version all mapped out in my brain before the book was even published. I’m going to chalk this up to the hype and preconceived notions (from reading Summer), that make me jump onto the “wrong ship”.
My letters are for when I don’t want to be in love anymore. They’re for good-bye. Because after I write in my letter, I’m not longer consumed by my all-consuming love…My letters set me free. Or at least they’re supposed to.
Lara Jean is someone whom I’d definitely love as a friend, not just for her baking skills (but oh boy some cookies please?). She’s sweet, she’s charmingly funny, and her family makes me feel welcome while chilling in their kitchen (cookies please!!!). Especially loved the scenes when her family was deciding what cookies to bake for Christmas Cookie Bonanza, or when they rolled up their sleeves to decorate Christmas tree, or when preparing breakfast together. Within the family itself is a diverse bunch of sisters and I really envy the Song sisters’ relationship. Their dad is awkward in a cute way and even though the Song sisters’ Korean mom has passed away, the Dad still tries to keep them to their Korean roots which is really sweet and definitely a plus!
Have you read this? Did you like it? How did you feel about the way things developed after the letters were released? And the sisters? I’d love to hear what you thought! If you haven’t read it, would this be in your radar?