Saturday 9 February 2019

Review on To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Lara Jean song has a secret. For every boy she has ever loved, she has written a love letter. Over the years, she has written five letters, all which are hidden in a hatbox her mother gave to her. However, everything changes when the letters get sent out. Lara Jean is horrified when she learns that every boy she has ever loved now knows her secret, and to make matters worse, Lara Jean’s sister just so happens to be the ex-girlfriend of one of the boys. Lara Jean must think of a way to put things back to how they were, but is recruiting the help of bad boy Peter Kavinsky really the right thing to do?

So once again I have only picked up a popular book after it got turned into a movie. Everyone on Twitter has been talking about how good the movie is, and of course me being me, I didn’t want to watch it before reading the book. I think everyone has probably already read this book by this point, but just in case you haven’t, it’s about a girl called Lara Jean who has to deal with the aftermath of the letters she has wrote for all the boys she had ever loved being sent out. I immediately loved Lara Jean, and thought she was a fun and relatable character. I often panic in a stressful situation and do something stupid, so I loved that that was exactly what Lara Jean did when Josh, the boy she currently likes confronted her about the letter. Panicking and kissing Peter Kavinsky was such a funny and cringe-worthy moment, and it was easy to sympathise with Lara Jean throughout the book.

Lara Jean and Peter being in a fake relationship was both funny and cute, and I loved how they slowly started to develop real feelings for each other. It was a really sweet slow burn romance, and although they argued with each other quite a lot, I loved how they couldn’t stay mad at each other for long. It was adorable how they wouldn’t admit to having real feelings for each other, but made it really obvious by how they acted when Peter was with Gen and Lara Jean was with Josh. Two of my favourite romantic tropes are slow burn and mutual pining, so I, of course, loved the romance!

I adored Lara Jean’s relationship with her sisters. Lara Jean is the middle child, and has to deal with her older sister Margot leaving home to go to University, and looking after her younger sister Kitty while her dad works. As Margot is always mature and organised, Lara Jean has a hard time trying to fill her role as the older sister. I loved that Lara Jean eventually realised she didn’t have to do everything exactly the way Margot did, and was even able to get Kitty to help around the house. Lara Jean feels as if she is drifting away from Margot, and thinks that updating her on what is going on in her life is pointless. Sadly when a sibling leaves home, it often can be the case that their relationship suffers because of it, but I loved that this didn’t actually happen between Lara Jean and Margot. Although big changes are happening to both of them, they are still able to be a part of each others lives, and I loved that despite arguing with each other, they obviously loved each other a lot. Something else that I loved was the relationship between Lara Jean and Kitty, as although there was quite a big age gap between them, they got along really well. I loved how funny and confident Kitty was, and how she was always ready to share her opinions.

Something that I loved was that non of the characters were perfect. I’ve seen a few comments online about Peter Kavinsky being perfect, and although I can’t comment on his movie portrayal yet, he was far from perfect in the book. I wasn’t that keen on the typical love triangle trope of the two boys fighting over the girl, but I did love that Peter got jealous, especially when he learnt that Josh had kissed Lara Jean. To me it made him seem more human, as I think most boys would get jealous if the person they liked had a crush on someone else. I also loved that although everyone sees Peter as being a typical jock, Lara Jean soon finds out that isn’t true. I ended up disliking Josh for saying bad things about Peter when he didn’t even know him. Even though Peter is a typical jock around his friends, he is always sweet to Lara Jean and invites her to hang round with him and his friends. I wish there had been more interaction between Lara Jean and Peter’s friends. The one scene where they all hung out together was honestly too pure.

I loved that this was an own voices book, with Lara Jean having a Korean mum and an American dad. There are far too few YA books that have an Asian protagonist, so I’m happy that this book has received so much attention! As Lara Jean’s mum died when her daughters were young, they have missed out on experiencing Korean culture. I loved how Lara Jean’s dad did his best to keep the culture alive, such as doing his best to cook Korean food. Something else that I thought was a great addition was the stereotype that Asian people only ever cosplay anime characters. Even when Lara Jean cosplays Cho Chang for Halloween, people still assume she is an anime character, which is obviously frustrating for her. I felt bad for her feeling as if she could only cosplay Asian characters, as anyone should be able to cosplay a character despite not being the same race as that character. I feel as if there is a bit of a double standard when it comes to cosplay, as no one questions white people cosplaying anime characters, but expect Asian people to only cosplay Asian characters. Even though there have been controversies about people cosplaying characters who are a different race to them, I personally don’t see it as a problem. People cosplay because they love the character, and as long as they aren’t darkening their skin in the process, I feel as if it’s fine for people to cosplay any character they want.

Although contemporary romance isn’t usually my cup of tea, I really enjoyed this book! I’ve already reserved the sequel at the library, and I’m looking forward to watching the movie and reading the rest of the series. I definitely recommend this book to contemporary romance fans, and would even urge people who don’t usually enjoy this genre to give it a go!

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