To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed.
But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh.
As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.
small note: this is the subtle asian book club’s january 2020 read of the month! the subtle asian book club was founded by alexandra @ twirling pages and tiffany @ read by tiffany, and it focuses on ASIAN STORIES AND AUTHORS!!! book club members get to vote for the read of the next month, and discuss the book in the facebook group alexandra and tiffany opened for the book club. for more information, read alexandra’s post or tiffany’s post.
i first read tatbilb three years ago, and back then, i didn’t like it at all. i did not like the fake dating (which ironically has become one of my favorite book tropes), i did not like how lara jean keeps falling in love with people (come to think of it now, five isn’t really that big a number…?), i did not like how lara jean repeatedly mentions she’s half korean, and most of all, i did not like how lara jean whines about missing her sister who’s studying abroad when it’s obvious that her sister is having the time of her life and can’t care less about home.
buuut now that i’m sixteen, ie. lara jean’s age in the book, and my sister’s going to boarding school in the uk, i think i understand why lara jean sometimes complains about things that might seem small and insignificant.
when giving this book a second try, i actually enjoyed reading about the fake dating idea lara jean comes up with, because 1. we all make bad decisions at some point in our lives, and it makes the story much more relatable and realistic, 2. it’s a somewhat significant turning point in the story, and 3. it’s my favorite book trope! @ 2017 chloe, there are a lot of dumber decisions other than fake dating, and it isn’t like you’ve never made any mistakes in your life, so shut up lol. and after all, bad decisions make good stories, sooo yeah i’m not complaining.
and i also liked that lara jean mentions korean traditions and dishes in the book (again, what was 2017 chloe thinking when she wrote that terrible, terrible review?), and fully embraces her half-koreanness. it’s so heartwarming to see her and her sisters bond over memories of the korean side of their family, and her father trying his hand at cooking korean cuisine to make them feel closer to their korean roots.
speaking of lara jean’s father and sisters, family plays a huge role in the story. i loved how lara jean’s dad always manages to make time for the covey sisters despite having a busy schedule as an ob-gyn, and having to single-handedly bring them up due to the death of their mom. i also really liked how the sisters’ distinct personalities balance each other out, and that they get along (mostly) despite their differences.
i can’t wait to reread the rest of the trilogy. who knows – maybe i’ll like them more than i did the first time, just like what happened with this book!
in february, the subtle asian book club will be reading loveboat, taipei by abigail hingwen, which is one of my most anticipated releases of january 2020. the timing is perfect since i just got my own copy around two weeks ago, but still haven’t gotten around to reading it. in january, i didn’t get to interact much with my fellow book club members because of exams and traveling, and i really hope to participate more in the discussion this month!
have you read to all the boys i’ve loved before, or watched the movie (i still haven’t, can you believe it? *cries*)? what were your thoughts? let me know in the comments!