I’m giving “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” 4.5 stars!
You guys, I love Mystery and Literary Fiction as much as the next book nerd. Those have always been my favorite genres and I usually include them in my Books to Read for the Month posts.
But I think I may have a new favorite genre. I’ve read YA before…my Books to Read in May was ALL YA..and I’ve always enjoyed it. But lately, the YA novels I’ve been reading have been far better than any adult fiction I’ve read. The wooden and cliche YA characters of yesterday are gone, and in their place are these complex individuals that are really, truly teenagers that exist today.
Lara Jean of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” is no exception. She and her sister Margot have basically had to take care of the house and their father and their little sister Kitty since their mother died tragically six years before. In short—they had to grow up way too fast.
So what happens when you grow up way too fast?
Well, in Lara Jean’s case, you lose your childhood. While you possess maturity light years above your peers in most respects, you become naive and unknowing to the ways of the teenage world.
Lara Jean gets a crash course in “how to be a teenager” when her older sister leaves for college and love letters that she had anonymously written to the five boys she’s “loved” somehow get mailed to them. She is horrified to discover this fact—especially since one of those letters was written to her sister’s very newly ex boyfriend Josh.
The Plot Thickens
One of the other “letter” boys, Peter, has recently broken up with his girlfriend as well. He would love nothing more than to make her jealous, so he offers Lara Jean an opportunity to save face with Josh. He wants them to pretend they are together. Oh and by the way, Josh and Peter can’t stand each other. And to make matters worse, neither of them are interested in sharing Lara Jean. She’s going to be under a lot of stress to not only keep her feelings under wraps, but also to keep their feelings from exploding.
What happens next is part sweet, part predictable, and part eye-opening. And no, it isn’t exactly what you would think happens. There are a lot of lies, a lot of hard feelings, and A LOT of tears. But there’s growth. And understanding. And unexpected reactions (and actions) from almost all of the characters.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is one of those YA novels that was made into a Netflix movie.
Don’t groan. The movie was sweet and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The movie sticks with the book details for the most part, except the book ends on sort of a cliffhanger, while the movie does not. Of course, there is a book 2 of the series which I must immediately get and devour in 24 hours just like I did with this book.
So do yourself a favor…if you even kinda sorta like YA novels, pick up “To All Boys I’ve Loved Before”. In fact, get the whole box set…you’re going to want to read them all.