Book Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
When I read a contemporary novel, I expect certain things: cute romance, loyal friends, sweet dialogue and a character that has a fair amount of growth throughout the novel. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any of these things with this book.
TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE
AUTHOR: Jenny Han
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
RELEASE DATE: April 15, 2014
GENRE: YA, contemporary
LENGTH: 355 pages
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Lara Jean Song Covey (yes, that’s actually her name) has been in love with her neighbor Josh for a long time. However, there’s a little problem: Josh is dating her older sister Margot. Margot is about to leave for college in Scotland, so she breaks up with Josh instead of trying a long-distance relationship. Lara Jean is a romantic, and she’s written a letter to each of the boys she’s ever “loved” as a way to get over them when they disappointed her. Somehow these letters are actually mailed, and thus starts a sometimes painful, sometimes funny trip through Lara Jean’s love life.
My main problem with this book was Lara Jean, which is a problem as she’s our main character. I found her to be silly, childish, unbelievably naïve, and stereotypically girly (she knits, bakes, scrapbooks, love pinks, and can’t drive. Ugh). At one point, she actually says “Gosh” and “tippy-top.” She was just really immature, and by the end of the novel I felt little to no growth in her. There is supposed to be a sequel, so maybe we’ll see more there. Well, maybe readers will; I won’t because I doubt I’ll read it.
Two things I expect from a contemporary novel are friends and romance. Lara Jean has NO friends. And Lara Jean’s fake romance with one of the boys she wrote a letter to is…well, fake. Lara Jean spends most of the book pining after Josh and wishing he’d just see that they are meant to be. Then she begins to like Peter more and more but he’s still obsessed with his ex-girlfriend.
I wanted a sweet, make-you-feel-gooey-inside romance that had a nice friendship in it. You know, a good contemporary novel. I got none of those things, and I was disappointed in this book. Nothing got resolved and there wasn’t really an ending to this book. It felt like I wasted my time reading it and I’m not really sure what the purpose was as Lara Jean didn’t grow.