Author: Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1 and #2
Summary: Lara Jean 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 can pour out her heart and soul and say 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.
Why I read it: Because I've heard amazing things about both books, and I was in the mood for some more contemporary!
Thoughts: SO ADORABLE. And before I even say anything else about the content, can I just shout-out these precious covers? Both of them are so cute, from what Lara Jean's wearing, to the font of the titles that looks like handwritten Sharpie. Plus, the naked hardcovers match the color of Jenny Han's name on each book. Such fantastic packaging.
I am so glad that I decided to wait to read the first book until the second book came so I could read them back to back, because the end of the first book is just begging for a continuation. The story flows from the first book to the second pretty flawlessly, which is why I decided to do this dual review rather than review each book individually.
Lara Jean is probably the cutest, most endearing character I've read in a long time. In a sea of cynical and jaded YA protagonists, Lara Jean's naivete and innocence make her such a breath of fresh air. She's a sixteen-year-old who loves her family and still calls her father "Daddy," and I related to her so much. Hell, I'm a twenty-four-year old college graduate and I still call my father "Daddy." Jenny Han's greatest accomplishment lies in making Lara Jean so completely realistic.
Judging by the title, I knew this book was going to have at least a couple of swoon-worthy boys. And I wasn't disappointed. Throughout the course of this duology, there are three boys who are love interests for Lara Jean in some capacity, and I found merit in all three of them. Not only do they all have very distinct personalities, but they also represent different things to Lara Jean: different aspects of her personality, different periods in her life, and different ways that you can love someone. But none of it ever feels forced or heavy-handed; there were moments when I could truly imagine her ending up with each one.
Believe me though, I did have a ship.
But Jenny Han never makes things easy, just as they never are in real life, either. There are plenty of swoons in these books, but there are also plenty of opportunities for tears. And it is all so worth it.
For a pair of books that is mainly a romance, I was pleasantly surprised with how much of the story also revolved around Lara Jean's family. It's yet another reason these books are so realistic. Lara Jean's two sisters and their father are so well-developed for secondary characters, and I love how involved they are in her life.
In the end, I think these books are about relationships in general. Relationships of all kinds, whether they be friendly, familial or romantic. Aside from the letter-sending incident described in the synopsis, there are no huge plot points that change the course of the story. The relationships Lara Jean develops and the choices she makes drive the story completely, which make it both realistic and unpredictable.
If you're looking for an adorable, swoony contemporary with a dose of bittersweet realism, then this is absolutely the duology for you.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before: 5/5 stars
P.S. I Still Love You: 5/5 stars
Overall: 5/5 stars
Tell me: have YOU read this book yet? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!