Aug 21, 2017

Series Review | To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1, #2, #3 by Jenny Han

NOTE → This is my first series review, and I think I prefer it to reviewing books individually. This will become a regular feature where I discuss series that I have finished. These posts are very likely to contain spoilers, since I will be discussing aspects of the books after the first in the series.

Title: To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Publication: March 20, 2015 by Penerbit Spring
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song 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 pours out her heart and soul and says 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.

Thoughts: I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up To All the Boys I've Loved Before because I had heard only a few things about it, but mostly that it was super cute. It was one of the books I had on my Summer TBR because it fell into the cute, summer romance/contemporary type of book I really wanted to read. It took me a bit to get into it, and I am not sure why. I guess I just didn't give it much time when I first started to read it because I wasn't sure where the story was even going to go (I knew the premise, though.) But after I really got through the first few chapters, I flew through the book.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before was exactly what I was looking for. A sweet, fun, completely cheesy contemporary read with characters I would adore and a plot that was simple enough to be cliche, but unique enough to hold my attention. Lara Jean is a sweet, 16 year old girl who is really unlike any of the more popular female protagonists these days. She loves to bake, scrapbook, knit, and stay in instead of partying her weekends away. She has a close relationship with her older sister, Margot, and younger sister, Kitty, as well as her widowed dad, who is very present in the story. Their family dynamic was my favorite thing ever.

The story takes off when we find out that Lara Jean had a secret crush on her sister Margots' very recent ex-boyfriend. It's all fine though, because he wasn't supposed to find out she ever felt anything for him, but then we wouldn't have a story. As it's explained in the synopsis, Lara Jean writes love letters to boys she's had feelings for as a sort of goodbye to her feelings, which she never plans to send. The letters get sent out, of course, and when Josh finds out that Lara Jean might have feelings for him, her frantic attempts lead her to Peter K. who was also a recipient of a letter. They form a fake relationship to keep Josh away and make Peter K.'s ex-girlfriend.

Through their fake relationship though, Peter K. and Lara Jean form a sort of weird, but great, friendship. Their interactions were also my favorite thing ever because they're so fun, and quirky, and normal. They're not like many YA romances today that are mostly about attraction and have cheesy romantic confessions of love. Their interactions and conversations, and little adventures all felt like real life. Lara Jean felt real, and so did all the other characters. From her best friend Chris who we hardly see, to Margot living in Scotland, to the awesome and extremely sassy Kitty, to random secondary characters like Josh, and Genevieve and John Ambrose McClaren. They all felt like real people who I knew, and in the end when I finished this book at 2am, I wanted to hug it to sleep. 

Possible Spoilers Ahead

Title: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

Synopsis: Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.

She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.

When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

Thoughts: Two things: 1. I ordered this second book immediately after finishing the first one and started it shortly after getting it in the mail two days later. 2. This was the least favorite of the three but still very special to my heart. Also, spoilers ahead. You've been warned.

This book picks up practically where the first one ends, with a letter to Peter K. explaining that even though they were fighting or broken up, or whatever it was that they were, Lara Jean still feels things for him and wants everything to work out. And they do, sort of.

This book changes the relationship between Peter K. and Lara Jean because it is no longer pretend, and we can really see the insecurities a 16 year old girl has when she starts her first real relationship, from what he's experienced in the past, to how she looks, to what others think. With these insecurities come doubts, and possible feelings for other people. More specifically, John Ambrose McClaren, who comes back into Lara Jean's life and stirs feelings that leave her more confused than ever. We also see Peter K. in sort of a bad light, which really caused my stomach to turn, because I loved him so.

While this book was not my favorite, the family dynamics, the realness of characters, and the simple, but realistic story is all still there and kept me hooked to the book until the end. In the end, we get closure, and it could have been satisfying to end the story this way, but I'm glad it didn't end there.

Title: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

Synopsis: Lara Jean is having the best senior year. And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.

Life couldn’t be more perfect!

At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks…until she gets some unexpected news.

Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to? 

Thoughts: A well-known fact about this series is that it was supposed to be a duology, and Jenny Han surprised her readers with a third book. In this third book, we get a look at Lara Jean's life a year after the second book, and the changes a teenage girl goes through when she has to face the reality of life and choices, and everything that comes after high school.

Lara Jean faces some difficult decisions in this book, and more than a few sad moments, that literally had me crying. There is not much that can be said about this book without spoiling the ending of the last book, so let me just say that I was really impressed with how well this character was developed. Lara Jean doesn't change in likes or dislikes, but we see her definitely grow up from the girl we meet at the beginning of the first book.

I was able to fly through this third book just as quickly and just as easily as the first two, and was literally in tears at 1:40AM when I finally finished it a day later. This series is truly one of my new favorites and I cannot believe it took me so long to even start it. I finally get what all the hype was for, and I definitely recommend it for those of you who love sweet, simple contemporaries about teenagers who fall in love for the first time with all the extra fluff of cuteness.

Overall Rating:

Post a Comment