I thought long and hard about what book to choose for my BIG RETURN to book blogging. Finally I settled on Jenny Han's To All The Boys I've Loved Before. I haven't read a whole lot of Jenny Han before, though I've met her a few times and she is a sweetheart. She's know for her Summer series (The Summer I Turned Pretty is the first) and the only other book by Jenny Han I've read was her joint effort with Siobahn Vivian book Burn for Burn (check out that review here)
Here's the summary from Goodreads: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.What I Liked: 1) Something I've noticed with the two books I've read in which Jenny Han's name graces the cover is that her characters are unique. Their personalities crawl through every page, and Han is loyal to those personalities to a fault. Never once did I feel that Lara Jean, Margo, or Kitty drifted from the personalities that were developed through out the book (though at times I wished they would.) 2) The concept. I can't imagine if, as a teenager, all of my secret thoughts to crushes were suddenly sent out of them to read. Ouch! I knew immediately from reading the summary that I was going to want to find out how MC Lara Jean would handle that. 3) Peter. This surprised me, because I was pretty sure I wasn't going to like him at all when I first started reading the book. But he grew on me (and Miss Lara Jean) as the book progressed, and I ended up really appreciating the amount of character development that went into him.
What I Didn't Like: 1) Okay, I just have to say that the Song girls, the sisters around which the book is written, act very juvenile, especially Lara Jean, the MC. They were just written a little young for their age, and it began grating on my nerves (think nails on a chalkboard here) after a while. I didn't notice this in the other Jenny Han book I've read (Burn for Burn) so I can't comment if it's a theme throughout her books and Siobahn Vivian's influence in Burn for Burn prevented that, or what. But this made Lara Jean a little unbelievable as a 16-17 year old. 2) Question: Who wouldn't try to figure out who did this (mailing out her private letters)? The fact that Lara Jean barely even speculated about it kind of made the story a little....flat. There was a great opportunity for another story arc to fill the story out a little more, but it was left largely unexplored until the culprit just blurted out a confession at the end.
Overall Thoughts: I think Jenny Han has a creative mind and does a very good job with dimensional storytelling. She remains true to the characters she creates and doesn't deviate from their personalities, which is something that's very rare and probably hard to do. There are definitely some problem areas with To All The Boys I Loved Before, especially within the main character (and since I"m a character over plot reader, it's kind of a deal breaker) that caused me to not just fall head over heels for it. I do know there is a sequel coming out sometime next year but I have no other information about it, and I don't think I'll be checking it out unless I just find myself in a mood for it. But I know some have loved it, so don't just take my word for it, let me know what you think in the comments!
My Rating: 3 Shots