It’s summertime bookies, you know the season the one that entails sunshine, beaches, virgin cocktails and fictional contemporary boyfriends who wreak havoc. This week’s contemporary of choice is not only a cutesy read but the kind that inevitably leaves you feeling “meh.” That’s right folks, I did not like a summery Jenny Han contemporary.
This story follows a sixteen year old Lara Jean, the middle sister of three “Song Girls” who encompass Margot, Katherine (Kitty) and their doctoral father in middle suburbia. Our main protagonist is delving into the semester of her junior year, without a clue, and clear as day a Mary Sue from her goody two shoes to the top of her pristine head. Now, without my dislike for this series I’d like to refer to the fact that it does follow a certain series of love triangles and love letters that at the end lack the certain something that I thought Jenny Han would bring. Lara Jean, who has never had a boyfriend but has fallen in love several times, loses her precious and very secretive hatbox that inside holds love letters to these fellows of her past. With that loss, comes the mystery of who, what, where, when, why and how?
Throughout the book, these fellows are sent these love letters of the past and leave Lara Jean in a pitiful mess. The worst of it all? She ends up playing pretend girlfriend with her second last lover, Peter K. who has indubitably changed over the course of the years she had known him. Yes yes its all good and dandy, she now has the hottest boy in school as her pretend boyfriend who indulge in pretend PDA and pretend gossip as they venture through their first semester of junior year together. Drama soon follows and hearts are broken, tears are shed and I was left pondering if I would ever get past page 54.
Without the spoiler factor, I’d like to highlight the love triangles that ensue throughout this duology. Lara Jean and Josh, her sister’s ex boyfriend and the boy of her dreams, (yes girl code is broken, all is lost, SOS.) Lara Jean and Peter K. (I don’t know why the K is so important, don’t ask me.) Lara Jean and John Ambrose Clarton? (The longest name in human history.) I’d call that some sort of love rectangle minus the very present gay Lucas whom all in all I think is my favourite character in this entire novel. OOH SPOILER ALERT!!!!
All in all, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is the first novel in the duology and has per its rank, it did not succeed more than a 2.5/3 out of 5 stars for me. Mostly? It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy this contemporary, I more so disliked the main protagonist, Lara Jean and her childish outlook on life. I didn’t fall in love with the boys that she so desperately did and I did not see why they had so much importance when she didn’t understand her own emotions to begin with. I did however, really enjoy the family aspect to the story and I admired the secondary characters and how their story developed as well. P.S I Still Love You completed the mild cliff hanger in the first novel, yet didn’t come to terms at all with what I expected this duology would end. I was left confused and wanting to know more about the secondary characters. Like, How did it go in Scotland with Margot? Did she ever get over Josh? Did Josh ever become part of the Song family again? Or was he just another neighbour across the way? What about Kitty? Chris? Genevieve? Did John just disappear into the night like some sort of clad up soldier in battle? Did her father end up dating Mrs. Rothstein? So many unanswered questions and all I received was a somewhat heartfelt ending regarding Lara Jean forgiving the boy who did in fact screw up several times without folly.
And that’s all I have to say about that.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before 2.5/3 stars
P.S I Still Love You 2.5 stars