To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 2014. Reviewed from ARC.
C'mon. Of course she doesn't send it. She puts in away, and with that, puts him behind her.
Until the day someone finds the letters. And mails them.
And what had always been safe and sound is now out in the open. Not just the letters, but all her dreams and thoughts and emotions. Everything that had been in her head is now out there.
The Good:Such a great book! The mailed letters forces Lara Jean out of her comfort zone and out of herself, and it ends up being good for her.
But to get there -- I had such second hand embarrassment for her. The close my eyes while reading type of embarrassment.
What I liked best is the family dynamic. Lara Jean is the middle of three sisters: the oldest, Margot, is in college; the youngest, Kitty, is nine. Their mother died years before. Margot is going to college, in Scotland. Yeah. So the family, that had to shift after the death of their mother, shifts yet again as Margot leaves.
Margot has a boyfriend, Josh, and yes, Josh is one of the five. In that interesting way that friends and family can be, Lara Jean's friendship with Josh, and her being used to "Margot and Josh" as an entity, means that when Margot and Josh break up, Lara Jean doesn't get it. And isn't understanding. And as frustrating it was to read, and as much as my sympathies were with Margot, it was so real. (And I think there will be teen readers who, based on their own life experiences (or lack of them), will be siding with Lara Jean in this.)
Also: there is anxiety about driving in here. Sometimes it seems all teens in books are either eager to be driving, or are just good and confident drivers, and it's refreshing to have Lara Jean be so nervous and reluctant to drive. Also, she isn't a great driver. (Don't worry! No serious accidents!)
When I heard about the letters, I wondered what they would be like. If Lara Jean working these boys out of her system meant that the letters would be mean or angry. And also wondered if they would be to boys who even knew Lara Jean. And what was interesting was how unique each letter, and each boy, was. And how they each handled receiving that letter. And how sweet and kind many of the letters were.
And yes.... there ends up being a romance. And it did, and didn't, do some of the things I expected which is actually perfect for a romance.
(And yes, I read this a few years back! But I am going through my list of books I read that I enjoyed and that I wanted to share, and so here it is!)
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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
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