Jenny Han’s latest book hits just the right notes for summer reading. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is funny, touching, romantic and fast-paced and the perfect contemporary YA choice for your beach bag. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Lara Jean’s story as she navigates her way through love, friendship and family drama. The premise is that Lara Jean writes love notes over the years to the guys she fancies but instead of sending them she tucks them away in her hatbox. But then one day- someone sends out her letters without her knowledge. How mortifying! The letters change her life in a big and surprising way, and if you love Han’s Summer series you won’t want to miss this one.
Book: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (Book 1 of the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before duology) by Jenny Han, Recorded Books, On Sale Now
Book Info: Audible purchase, Audiobook running time: 8 hrs, 22 mins. Read by: Laura Knight Keating. Also available in hardcover or e-book from Simon & Schuster.
The scoop on To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is that Lara Jean is the quiet middle child – overshadowed by perfect know-it-all Margot and precocious younger sister Kitty. Lara Jean is kind of the Jan Brady of the group. The three Song girls lost their mother at a young age, and Margot takes on a mothering type role for the family. When Margot leaves for college, she also breaks it off with boy next-door Josh, someone who happens to be a secret letter recipient. Awkward! With Margot now off in Scotland, Lara Jean has to step up and help her dad by taking on some more responsibility. But first she has to deal with the repercussions of her secret letters that are now no longer a secret!
The delivery of the secret letters puts Lara Jean’s life in an uproar. Sweet family friend Josh is obviously confused to receive a love note from his ex-girlfriend’s sister (even though Josh and Lara Jean kinda liked each other first.) Then, popular, handsome, charismatic Peter Kavinsky receives his letter and that changes the game altogether. Perhaps they can help each other make their objects of affection jealous by staging a fake romance? (Lara Jean still has a crush on Josh and Peter is not quite over his ex) Sounds like a perfect scenario right- what could go wrong?!
Lara Jean has to gain confidence and put herself out there for the first time- no more hiding behind secret letters or her sister Margot. She’s a little shy and awkward which makes her more endearing. But going through these new challenges could give her just the confidence boost she needs.
To all The Boys is a love letter to sisters as well as to first crushes. The sisters are so close since losing their mom and honor her by keeping family traditions alive. The girls are half Korean and their dad makes sure to include Korean meals as one of the ways to remember their mom. Lara Jean’s cultural observations were also insightful.
I listened to the audiobook, performed by Laura Knight Keating. Keating is a good fit for this book, and brings out the humor in the story. She sounds age appropriate and differentiates all the characters. Her pacing is good and overall I think she did a solid job overall and I’d listen to her again in the sequel. The audiobook is a Whispersync for Kindle title and it’s quite affordable if you own the kindle edition.
Check out an audiobook sample:
And yes, there’s a sequel! The next and last book is called P.S. I Still Love You. I was really happy with the ending of To All the Boys but at the same time it leaves you really eager for Lara Jean’s next chapter. P.S. I Still Love You comes out in April of next year, so there’s lots of time to catch up on this series.
Read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before if you like: Contemporary YA, Anna and the French Kiss, The Summer I Turned Pretty series, and romantic comedies.
And oh, exciting news! To All the Boys was recently optioned for film. Check out the announcement from Jenny Han herself:
I didn't even know this was announced but here you go! To All the Boys was optioned by the Fresh Prince!