Review by Ella Kim
The realistic fiction novel “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han centers around the protagonist, Lara Jean and her struggle through highschool drama. Over her adolescent years, to overcome her former enormous crushes, Lara Jean wrote five love letters and stowed them away in her late mother’s hat box. But then suddenly, the letters are gone and mail to Lucas Krapf (one of her now out gay friends), John Ambrose McClaren (her old friend who moved away), Kenny Donati (her summer camp crush who’s letter was addressed to the camp) and Peter Kavinsky (her first kiss and first crush). So Lara Jean must attempt to salvage what is left of her social life. What is most concerning to her over all of the other letters, is that one of the letters was addressed to her sister’s boyfriend who she was and still is in love with, Josh Sanderson, so she does the rashest solution. Before he can talk to her and question her about the letter, Lara Jean kisses the most popular guy in school and the ex boyfriend of her enemy, Peter Kavinsky. She ends up convincing him to fake date her so that he can get back at his girlfriend and make her fall back in love with him and Lara Jean can keep the chaos between Josh and herself a secret from her sister, whom she loves so much.
Overall, I loved this book because of the pacing. I read this book right after watching the movie, and it really surprised me that the pacing of each was so different. The book was perfect to me because it went further into the daily lives of Lara Jean and the little moments that make her have such strong bonds with the secondary characters. While the movie glossed over them or included only small clips in montages, due to their time constraints. I also enjoyed reading Jenny Han’s writing style, because it allowed me as a reader to read for longer periods at a time and build my reading stamina. I think this is due to the realism of the book, not that it seems predictable in any way, but that reading this book feels more like watching a tv show. You can pick up where you left off with ease, but each chapter is shorter, calling you to read on. I find this formatting very rewarding because you can feel like you have read many chapters even if this does not mean that you read many pages, and you can justify reading another chapter or two because they are so short.
In summary, it is clear to me why they made this book into a movie, because it is now one of my favorite books and I would recommend this book to anyone who likes the realistic fiction genre, romance books, or books about highschool.