What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?
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.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han is like the perfect cake slice: light, sweet but not too sweet, perfectly fulfilling but you would definitely not turn down seconds. (Spoiler alert: you won’t because there is a companion to this book. Just thought you should know, right off the bat.)
I want to go the clichéd route and say “to all the ways I’ve loved this book” but it will be evident soon enough. I loved everything about this book! It hits all my sweet spots: a strong bond between family, a darling heroine, a dashing gent, letters, and most importantly: FOOD. The food descriptions were parfait from mocha sugar doughnuts to black-cherry sodas to rice balls. I love, love the way Jenny Han writes. I tried to think hard about how I would describe her writing style because it’s airy but not without substance. Then I realized: it sort of reminds me of Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto (especially the food)! Really gentle writing that sticks with you.
Lara Jean is someone I want to be friends with, not only for her baking skills. By that I mean, it’s ALSO for her killer fashion sense. We can totally swap clothes and look at Asian fashion blogs together. I digress! Lara Jean is ridiculously charming and funny too. There were many times where I laughed out loud at something she said or did, which I never do because I don’t have a sense of humor. HAHA JOKES! (I do have a sense of humor, JUST A TERRIBLE ONE and Jenny Han manages to surpass that! It is genuinely funny, I promise) Lara Jean is the middle Song girl so she’s not always as nice as her older sister, Margot, but she is so sweet anyway. Oh my gosh, those Song girls are amazing. Margot, who moves to Scotland in the beginning of the book, is studious and motherly. Lara Jean is dreamy eyed. Kitty, the youngest, is well, young because she’s nine and desperately wants a puppy more than anything. I looooooved their bond in this book! Obviously, their relationship wasn’t always perfect because hi, they’re siblings but even through fighting or bickering or anything, there was clearly love underneath it all. Pretty sure I won’t be the only reader who wants to be a Song girl after reading this.
V important to note: Lara Jean is half-Korean and Jenny Han portrayed this so effortlessly. It’s the perfect example of it being a part of a character’s identity, not their WHOLE identity. There are moments like when Lara Jean’s dad still cooks them Korean food because he wants them to remember their mother. Even if his bossam came out too salty. Or when Peter, the boy Lara Jean pretends to date in the book, asks, “You guys are a no-shoes house, right?” I want more characters like Lara Jean. I would have LOVED this book as a teenager and I’m so thankful for Jenny Han.