To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
This touching, light-hearted romance typifies the reasons I love Jenny Han’s books so much. There’s romance but it’s always sweet, and the characters feel like real teens without devolving into angst-ridden stereotypes. In this story, sixteen-year-old Lara Jean writes goodbye letters to all five boys she’s ever loved.
“When I write, I don’t hold nothing back, “she says. “I write like he’ll never read it. Because he never will…My letters are for when I don’t want to be in love anymore. They’re for good-bye.” When she’s done, Lara Jean seals the letter and puts it in a teal hat box her mother left her before she died in an accident six years ago. You can only imagine what happens when somehow her letters get mailed and all her secret crushes know her true feelings! Add to this the fact that her older sister is leaving for college in Scotland, and has broken up with her boyfriend Josh so as to be open to a new life. The problem is that Lara Jean’s whole family loves Josh, who lives next store, and Lara can’t imagine their life without him. Did I mention that he was one of the boys that she wrote a goodbye letter to?
I found this book to be utterly delightful. Han, the author of The Summer I Turned Pretty books, does an amazing job blending love themes with family themes. I especially appreciate that the writer doesn’t make the father into some type of idiot or villain, the way many YA books do. He’s just a single dad trying to do his best with his daughters. I highly recommend this title to readers, even those in middle school, who enjoy realistic stories that avoid sad issues like divorce, sexual abuse, drug abuse and the like. On a scale of 1-10, I give it a 9!
You can click on the first two book titles to see our reviews!