my letters are my exorcisms ✉ to all the boys i’ve loved before by jenny han

toalltheboysivelovedbefore-jennyhanPublished: April 15th 2014 by Simon & Schuster
Genre & Keywords: Contemporary, letters, first love
Other Books From Author: Shug, Summer series, Burn for Burn series,

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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 NOTOne 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.

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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?

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26 thoughts on “my letters are my exorcisms ✉ to all the boys i’ve loved before by jenny han

  1. I have heard some really good reviews for this one! So sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy this one as much as you were hoping but jumping to conclusions and expectations from previous books can do that… I’m hoping to read this one soon and will try to not go in with any previous ideas and see how it plays out!
    Thanks for the very honest review!

    • I’ve been stalking TAtBILB on goodreads and almost everyone is screaming in excitement for the next book, and almost everyone is jumping up and down excitedly for a ship that I’m not on so *shrugs* I’m the black sheep. Hope you’ll enjoy it better than I did!

  2. I’m trying not to create a story in my head for this one. I also loved Summer series and I’ve been waiting for Han’s new contemporary story. I’m sad to her that it wasn’t all to good and why the heck did she throw that Peter there. Nooo I don’t like the sound of him. Glad you enjoyed it overall. Great review :)

    • EEP!! I think Jenny Han has a flair for writing cute boys, but these cute boys don’t happen. Hopefully you’ll enjoyed reading this as you have reading Summer!

  3. Great review! I’ve heard a lot of buzz about this one, but I don’t know if it’s something I’d enjoy reading. I may add it to the bottom of my TBR list and then get to it at some point down the road :)

    • Thank you!! Don’t worry, I know many who have completely different opinions from me. I mean, it’s ultimately a love story so how much you enjoy it will be how much you’re on the ship!

  4. I haven’t read this…or any books by the author! I kind of have my eye on it, but quite honestly contemporaries can be hit or miss with me at the moment. I’m an epic adventure sort of reader. Hehe! BUT. I do like sister relations! The premise though…awk, how awkward and embarrassing. >_<
    Thanks for stopping by @ Notebook Sisters!

  5. Hahahaha! I didn’t like Conrad from the Summer trilogy (or at least, book one, since that’s where I stopped) and I didn’t like Josh, either. I’m more of a Jeremiah girl. :P But yeah, this book was so disappointing in some aspects. ;(

  6. I actually really enjoyed this one when i read it a few months back but it never sufficed the whole Jenny Han’s other contemporary trilogy left in me. I don’t know i just felt like it was maybe missing something…but i still did seoruisly enjoy this book. Like crazy enjoy lol

    • EEP wish I enjoyed it too!! I did love some parts, but ughh Peter will never make it for me. I think to date, of all the Jenny Han books I’ve read (umm 5?), the Summer series will always be the best ♥

  7. This definitely sounds interesting (even if the premise is literally a girl’s worst dream come true!) I like the sound of the sibling relationship, because we truly don’t get nearly enough of those in YA! Lara Jean definitely sounds like a great protagonist that will be easy to connect to for most readers, so that’s great! I’m definitely going to consider giving this a try – even though the romance disappointed you a bit! Thanks for sharing Alicia, and, as always, BRILLIANT review!

  8. Oh, it is frustrating when you’re so excited for a book and imagine all the amazing things that might happen and then they just don’t, and your imagination, how you foresaw the book, is more suited to your taste than the real thing. I’m sorry it didn’t turn out so great!

    • yeah… 99 problems of a book nerd…

      *hides behind a book*

      Still harbouring hopes for the next book though! Or maybe I should just get rid of those altogether too… ;-;

  9. Aw, sucks when we expect a fluffy, tingly romance, but it never happened. I am wary of Jenny Han’s books for I totally draw back from contemporary. But atleast there’s sisterly bond that I really look forward in books <33 Great review, Alice!

    • I used to be lukewarm towards contemporaries but after Jenny Han’s Summer series, Stephanie Perkin’s Lola and the Boy Next Door, and Gayle Forman’s Just One Day… I say this genre works wonders as a pick me up =) Hope you’ll enjoy it should you one day give it a try!

  10. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before as much as I did and I think that was mostly due to my low expectations. I was expecting it to just be a fun summer read, but I ended up loving the characters and story. I absolutely adore Lara Jean and I’d totally want her as a best friend too. And, the sister relationships made me wish I was a Song sister too. Strangely enough, I thought I would like Josh and not Peter, but the opposite happened for me. Too bad you didn’t enjoy it as much as you thought you would, but great review!

    • I would still recommend this to people who’re looking for a cute fluffy read this summer, for no other reason but just because your comments tell me how many people enjoyed this ♥ If only I could have had different expectations ahh but it’s always too late :]

      • It’s always the worst when you go into a good book with high expectations because of the hype or author! I’ve had that happen to me so many times that now I prefer to read books with zero expectations. But, that can be really hard sometimes too!

  11. Oh I can totally understand you about the cover. The marker ink scrawl!!!! And a lot of my opinions ring with yours. Although I am fine with the Lara Jean-Peter K relationship, I felt that there were some holes to fill up, like the hot tub and ex-girlfriend complication. Great review!

    • I LURRRRVE THIS COVER. SO GORGEOUS. I could pet it all day omg it’s sweet, it’s prettay, and the marker font fits in perfectly. So glad that you’ve enjoyed the book!! Yes, I think some explanations for that ending is much needed, hope things clear up in the sequel (Though I heard it’s going to be about a new guy John… STILL TEAM JOSH!!!!)

      HAHA P.S. I recognise you even with your pseudonym ;)

  12. Pingback: kismet tryst ❋ isla and the happily ever after by stephanie perkins | Noverly Things

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