Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Summary: “Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her.
They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her, these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.” (Summary found on Goodreads).
To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before was fun, fluffy, and cute, but when it came down to it, I needed something deeper. I loved the family aspect of it, especially seeing the existence of a parent (because you know, they do actually exist). However, I would have liked to see the effect Lara Jean’s mom’s death had on her or her family, instead of just referencing it occasionally as a background. I also wish we got to see more of why Josh and Margot broke up (especially with the drop of some explanation, but it never being picked up). Though, I guess that’s why there’s book two and three.
Of the other things I loved, I thought Kitty was adorable and the fake-dating trope is a huge guilty pleasure of mine. I would have loved to see Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship evolve a little more before we got to the end of the book, but again, this is a series, so I can understand. However, a little more depth could have gone a long way. I think I just need deeper contemporaries–thus, why books like I’ll Give You the Sun and Emmy & Oliver are on the top of my list for me.
What didn’t I like? Oh…that’s a long list, unfortunately.
First, Lara Jean is the most annoying, self-entitled child I have ever read about. On top of that, the decisions she makes are completely absurd. Who actually would trot on up to their old crush, kiss them right on the lips with ZERO prep, and then walk away, all for the sole purpose of making someone else believe she was over him? Excuse me? Why are we lying so much? Just tell the truth. It’s so so so easy to say, “Oh yeah, I still have feelings for you” instead of making an elaborate lie and trapping other people inside of it. This might come from the fact that I’m trying to go without lying (Ronan Lynch, anyone?), so I really don’t have mental power to deal with liars. That could be why I couldn’t stand Lara Jean.
Second, Lara Jean’s best friend is an actual brat and I find it slightly horrifying that Lara Jean allowed her to walk all over her. This girl sneaks out, drinks, and does who knows what with who knows who. I’m not going to go into my idea of morals or anything here, but GURL. Anyway, I found their friendship to be fairly unhealthy and I don’t think it was a good representation of how friendship should be. Friendship isn’t lying about your friend’s whereabouts or letting them ditch you for three weeks randomly. Friendship is more than that, but it’s also not that kind of treatment. Hopefully this gets touched upon in book two and three, but I honestly don’t see it happening. I’m sitting over here, very disappointed in this representation.
Third, am I honestly the only person who didn’t like Peter? He’s the common “I’m an actual jerk, but once you fall in love with me, you’ll see exactly how sweet I am”. But he was never sweet. I never found him that sweet. I can sort of see the redeeming qualities, but at the same time, not enough to change my opinion. They both are too childish to be sixteen. The ages just don’t add up. I’m fifteen and I have more maturity than both Lara Jean and Peter (not to be vain or anything). So?? Hello??
If you like cute, fluffy, contemporaries meant for the beach and lemonade, I recommend you pick this one up. But if you’re looking for something with more depth, turn away. I’m still going to read P.S. I Still Love You because my library has it, so it’s free, and I would really like to see what happens next. Thanks for the cliffhanger, Jenny Han.
Also, last little piece, if anyone were to ever send out the only love letter I’ve ever written, I would panic.