May 26, 2015

Book Review: To All The Boys I've Loved Before (To All The Boys I've Loved Before #1) by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

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Okay I decided that I was a little disappointed with this book in some ways. I admit that it was quite an entertaining read. I gave a credit to Jenny Han’s writing style on that part. I’d consider this book as a light read but this was actually way too light that it didn’t hold that important message a book usually had. I mean, authors always have this goal in mind when they put their fingers on the keyboard for the first words, like what message they want to deliver to the readers through all the coming words they’re about to type. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before lacked that part making it a casual read to enjoy before you sleep. I didn’t say that this book was awful. It did entertain me and I did not even hate a single character of the book but it just didn’t leave marks both in my heart and in my mind. And it was a little disappointing because I had a high expectation on this one… :(

Lara Jean was the middle child of Song siblings. Her older sister, Margot, was perfect picture of best daughter who took care of their family since her mother passed away years ago. Her younger sister, Kitty, was perfect picture of disaster whose job was to point at her every mistake. Lara Jean never bothered about that anyway. After all, Kitty was just a kid and they always had Margot to put a straight line on every problem. But trouble came when Margot left for college, leaving her in charge at home this time.
Struggling with her own problem taking over Margot’s part, Lara Jean was haunted by constant fear that she was never good enough to play the role. She didn’t have any patience when facing Kitty’s tantrum. She didn’t know how to make a coffee. She didn’t put healthy food for dinner. She didn’t do club activities that would make her looked awesome as Margot. She didn’t know what to do when faced with some incidental events. She didn’t even know how to drive properly. She seemed to always make mistakes in anything she’d done. But sadly, that’s not the only issue Lara Jean got that year. Something bigger did happen. Something worse. Much worse. 

Lara Jean had this habit of writing a boy she loved a letter. It was not a real love letter, though. It was more like a goodbye love letter to her feeling toward the certain boy when she felt the feeling was over. She had them five in total to five different boys she had loved before. It was never meant to be sent. But one day it was. Not by Lara Jean, but somehow each letters made their ways all the way to the addresses on the envelopes. And with that she had to face the confrontation each boy did regarding the said love letters; leading her to some drama involving siblings, friendship, lie, betrayal, trust, and love.

First of all, I loved the character Lara Jean.
At some point I could easily relate to her since I have an older sister who I’m very close with. She’s always the brightest one. The one who always knows what to do in every situation. And when she started to move out, I just knew really well how hard it was for Lara Jean when Margot left. I also knew that feeling like you’re being compared with her when she leave, like everything you’ve done is a failure compared to hers back then. Well, at least that was what I used to think back when I was on Lara Jean age. I actually started to pay more attention at her around 80% when she first spoke out her own opinion in front of Margot.
Since Margot has left home, Lara Jean always tried her best to play her role as big sister and the one who’s in charge with everything happened in their family. I liked it when she realized her role as big sister and wanted Kitty to treat her as one. It was a bit funny actually. As for the other character, I didn’t say I hate them but I didn’t particularly like them either. I personally thought Margot was a bit self-centered. Even when it reached the end of the book, I still thought that of her. It’s just sad that Lara Jean looked up too much at her that she ended up burying herself behind Margot’s shadow. Both male characters, Josh and Peter didn’t attract me much (I even forgot their names when writing these I had to check out with the book…). Josh, because he’s simply too weak about Margot and seriously too confuse with his own feeling. Peter, because in last minute he just showed what kind of boy he was: a boy with a serious issue of dignity.
I truthfully loved the concept of the story. What happened when your never-meant-to-be-sent love letter got sent to the very person you wrote it for? It’s fun to see the different reactions each boy threw out about the letter. Some would confront her while some was so laid back. Moreover Lara Jean apparently didn’t really know much about some of the guys back then making it even more interesting how they reacted years later.
Seriously I don’t have much hope for the next book. I don’t want Lara Jean to end up with any boys on the book. It was only one boy who had a possibility to be with her anyway, but if ‘he’ is not doing something about his own issue then I guess he’s just not cut out to be with her.
The end of the twist was predictable from the start but I liked how Lara Jean reacted to that. It seemed like our heroine grew more mature somehow in the end of the book. The ending was a bit hanging and in the end, again, I wondered: what was the exact message this book wanted to deliver to the readers. Well, yes it did have snippets of some good lessons here and there but I’m talking about the main purpose of the book ever written.
It’s hard sometimes to really love a book when you’ve read several other books who gave you so much from enjoyableness, great message, and good writing style that when you only got one or two of them, you could not really consider yourself to love it as much.
My opinion, though.

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.


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