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To All the Boys I've Loved Before Paperback – January 26, 2016
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Jenny Han's To All the Boys I've Loved Before Playlist
For every book I write, I create a playlist that I go back to again and again to help transport me into the story and into the main character's mindset. The To All the Boys playlist is a blend of songs that Lara Jean would listen to, songs that remind me of her, and songs that score certain scenes in my head.
- 1. "Please Speak Well of Me" by The Weepies: I came back to this song again and again because I could picture Lara Jean listening to it as she wrote her letters. It's so sweet and full of yearning.
- 2. "Crazy" by Alanis Morissette: This song has such great momentum. You feel like something big is on the verge of happening. It's a great song to listen to if you're writing a book and you need something big to happen.
- 3. "Only in Dreams" by Weezer: I could completely picture Peter driving around in his mom's minivan listening to this song at top volume.
- 4. "Alone Again (Naturally)" by Gilbert O’Sullivan: Lara Jean has been in love a lot, but she's always alone in love, and she doesn't actually mind it much. I can see her singing along to this song and smiling.
- 5. "Teenage Love Song"by Rilo Kiley: Jenny Lewis has the sweetest voice, and this song tells a whole story of love lost. I like that it takes teenage love very seriously because I do too.
- 6. "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)" by Betty Everett: This song is on the Mermaids soundtrack, which Lara Jean listens to while organizing her first-week back-to-school outfits.
- 7. "The Longest Time" by Billy Joel: Lara Jean loves to bake and she would definitely bake to this song.
- 8. "Our House" by Crosby, Still, Nash & Young: Lara Jean is a girl who loves to be at home, to be cozy and putter around the house. For me, this song is the embodiment of that feeling.
- 9. "Thirteen" by Big Star: There is no song more nostalgic than this. It feels like a high school experience I never had but wish I did. "Won't you let me walk you home from school? Won't you let me meet you at the pool?"
- 10. "Love That Girl" by Raphael Saadiq: This is so Lara Jean to me. It's modern but it feels vintage at the same time, with the Motown claps and call and response choruses.
- 11. "Heartbeats" by The Knife: I listened to this song over and over while writing this book. It's very angsty and emo and kind of tough.
- 12. "I'm Gonna Get You Yet" by The Dixie Cups: In a lot of ways, Lara Jean is a throwback kind of girl. She loves ‘60s girl groups, vintage clothes, and the romance of a different time.
- 13. "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons: This song of course appears in Dirty Dancing, the quintessential coming of age movie for teenage girls who dream big.
- 14. "Love on Top" by Beyonce: I love how hopeful this song is. It's so driving around with your sisters with the windows all the way down.
- 15. "P.S. I Love You" by Nellie McKay: An open window, a breeze, and a glass of lemonade – that is this song. And incidentally, the sequel to To All the Boys I've Loved Before is called P.S. I Still Love You.
From School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—In this lovely, lighthearted romance, high school junior Lara Jean writes never-to-be-mailed letters to every boy she's ever liked. The teen falls for Josh, the boy next door. The catch: he's her older sister's very recent ex-boyfriend. But when her letters are accidentally sent out, the protagonist is desperate to convince Josh that she's over her crush. Peter, a popular boy at school, also received one of Lara Jean's love letters, and—hoping to make his ex-girlfriend jealous—agrees to be her "pretend" beau. Once older sister Margot leaves for college in Scotland, Lara Jean's interactions with Josh are more complicated. Lara Jean also must take care of her younger sister, Kitty, since their mother died six years ago. Unlike typical teen romances, this is as much the story of a family as it is about falling in love. Family traditions are skillfully woven into the first-person narrative, including some from the mother's Korean heritage. Though the three sisters are very close, they also have conflicts to resolve, and Lara Jean's perspective as a middle child suddenly left in charge is compelling. Readers will be intrigued by the narrator and Peter's complicated relationship. Does she really love Josh, or is Peter the one for her? Most teens will guess the outcome but enjoy the many twists and turns along the way in this lyrical novel. Readers will remember the Song sisters and the boys in their lives long after the final page turn.—Miranda Doyle, Lake Oswego School District, OR --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Lara Jean, being the romantic daydreamer that she is, wrote letters to all of the boys she'd "loved" over the years (hence the title). The letters are accidentally sent out, so this story follows Lara-Jean as she deals with the confrontations and conversations that results from that.
The other part of the story follows her and a boy named Josh, who she pretends to date so he can make his ex jealous, and she can pretend she has a boyfriend, because one of the love letters went to her older sister's ex boyfriend, and she was embarrassed. Surprise, surprise (not really), she starts developing feelings for her new fake boyfriend. Will she get hurt? Will they end up together? You'll have to wait until the sequel to find out ;)
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before made me have a lot of thoughts I hadn’t had before with others. I think that’s why Jenny will, and is, become a very strong force in my reading world.
Through Lara Jean, Jenny opened up a lot of my own fears about love, sex, and relationships I’ve struggled with even in my later years in life. On top of that the book also opened my eyes to the fact that change is inevitable. Whether you’re the one changing or the one being left, or feeling like you’re left, behind as everyone else around you is moving forward.
As far as the book itself, I have to say screw everyone that thinks Lara Jean is whiny and juvenile. I’m sorry, did we read the same book as everyone else? I know the mantra is not everyone reads the same book the same way, HOWEVER, Lara Jean IS JUVENILE. She’s, what, Fifteen or Sixteen in the first book? She IS a child. She’s a freaking out child who is flipping out because she’s suddenly discovered the letters she’s kept privately are gone.
Secondly, she’d now the woman of the house as Margot, her eldest sister, is moving to Scotland to attend college. Being the grown up is TERRIFYING. Even with a parent present, knowing you have to take over is the worst feeling in the world. To some it may be liberating and the jump start into responsibility others might need but to most, it can be a scary place.
Lastly, the only other real male influence and relationship reference Lara Jean has had in her life is Josh, (*SPOILER ALERT*) Margot’s, now, ex-boyfriend. Margot and Josh break up so she isn’t doing the Long Distance thing and no one is tied down to each other. Something Margot’s mother drilled into the girls heads and she’s trying to uphold that mentality.
With all of this going on I think Lara Jean is an incredibly well handled female protagonist. There’s even times when I think she’s handling things better than I would. There’s also times I wish I could offer her advice of ‘chill out, you’re making things worse, honey.’ Lol! So her letters are gone, her sister is leaving, her sister and the boyfriend broke up which sort of upsets the dynamic of the family, and in all of this Lara Jean still has to be the one to hold the family together while her dad works long hours at the Hospital.
Now, Peter Kavinsky, ONE of the boys who received a letter, I have to say I -HATED- him, at first. His pretentiousness drove me crazy! Everyone loves him, he’s a jock, he has a pretty boy face, and he has the hottest girlfriend at school. That seems to be a thing every book writer does once, though. They have to have ONE boy in one of their books thats a pretentious jerk that you wanna smack then later lover. Cassandra Clare did it with Jace, David Levithan did it with Dash, I’m sure there’s a million others. We love to hate them.
The one change I did appreciate in Peter that Jenny did was that he came from a wholesome home. Most books I’ve read with a playboy attitude family their home is a wreck. Peter has a little brother, a welcoming and loving mother, a beautiful home, and both sons and mother are close. Which is very important. Despite Peter’s ‘play boy attitude’ he does show that he knows how to take care of a lady. I very much appreciated that side of Peter and it made me grow to like him despite side characters acting, appropriately, to hate him because they don’t know the full personality of him.
I don’t want to go too much further into the main plot of the story because I think it’s just brilliant on it’s own. However, the drama that comes out of mailed letters wasn’t something I saw coming. I was fairly certain things weren’t going to go the way it was meant to go. You just have to READ to figure out what I’m talking about! GO! READ!
Jenny Han wrote this beautiful duology, now trilogy, from true perspective of clique’s, high school nightmares, first true love, first heart breaks, and anything else you could want in a contemporary read.
I’m so excited for the third book, I’m trying my hardest to get the ARC if there is one. Other wise I’ve already pre-ordered the hardcover! LOL! And I have a UK hook up I’m hoping to get the version of since I have the first two in UK versions as well.
If you get the chance PLEASE pick up a copy from Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes & Noble, you’re local indie or any where else you get your books. I promise you won’t regret the read!
This book, at its foundation is......cute. And fluffy. Pure and simple. It is not a substantial read. If you are looking for an intense, complicated, love story. This is not it.
I admit that when I first realized this, I was disappointed. Based off of the book description, I was expecting something with a lot more substance. And I also agree that Lara Jean's voice sounds far younger than that of a 16 year-old girl (which was both obnoxious and confusing), and you can hardly call her feelings for these boys "love," but at the end of the day, this satisfies a need for a sweet and light-heard YA contemporary, and it truly was enjoyable.
What I appreciated about this story, was how very untypical it was. Though Lara Jean was portrayed as this naive, innocent "good girl," she was not a socially awkward weakling. When I say this, I am reminded of Eliza from "Eliza and her Monsters" whose social ineptitude often irked me a great deal. Lara Jean had her own voice and she knew how to interact with others.
Secondly, the "love triangle" present in this book was not typical. And I appreciated that as love triangles are a trope I don't often care for. Though some of it was predictable, like her falling for Peter, her handling of Josh was honest and real and Jenny Han did not allow it to become two separate and reciprocal romances.
So yes, while this story is not without its flaws, I don't feel it was as worthy of a one or two-star rating. There were many redeemable moments and if contemporary is your thing, I definitely recommend giving it a shot.
Most recent customer reviews
Although I loved the cover and heard amazing things about “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han, I...Read more
I couldn’t help myself.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a sweet story of Lara Jean who keeps her love letters in a hatbox...Read more