Apr 14 2014 3:30pm

First Look: Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (April 15, 2014)

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny HanJenny Han
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Simon & Schuster / April 15, 2014 / $17.99 print, $10.99 digital

Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control in this heartfelt novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series.

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Jenny Han's young adult novel To All the Boys I've Loved Before expertly blends heroine Lara Jean's development into an empowered young adult with her first taste of love for a sweet and memorable coming-of-age story.

When we meet Lara Jean, she's a pretty young 16, having always been coddled by her older sister, whose departure for college forces the middle Song girl to learn to take care of herself. With Margot away in Scotland and her father's hectic schedule as a doctor keeping him pretty busy, Lara Jean has to step up and take more responsibility for her little sister, Kitty, and for a lot of the housework and errands. And while at first Lara Jean doesn't feel like she's as natural at balancing it all as her older sister or their late mother, various mistakes and experiences throughout the novel (including a minor car accident that highlights some of her anxieties early on) lead her on a path to gaining more confidence in herself and her abilities.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that a few handsome guys play a part in Lara Jean's year of self-discovery. When very private letters that Lara Jean had written to the five guys she's had a crush on mysteriously get delivered to each of them, she thinks her life is over, but in truth the relationships she develops as a result (some romantic, some not) only enrich it. One boy in particular inspires all sorts of realizations about her outlook on life—and love:

I don't want to be afraid anyore. I want to be brave. I to start happening. I want to fall in love and I want a boy to love me back.

By the end of the novel, Lara Jean has greatly matured. She's become a heroine with a good grip on what's important in this world, including her warm and loving father and sisters, and has come a long way in figuring out who she is as a person apart from them. She's also maybe, possibly fallen in love for the first time, though the “who” of it is best left a surprise.

But the best part? Her story's not over. I look forward to the second half in Han's forthcoming sequel, P.S. I Still Love You, which will undoubtedly feature more of Lara Jean's wonderfully relatable experiences, delightful family, and an irresistible love interest (or two??).

Learn more or pre-order a copy of To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han, available April 15, 2014:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & NobleBuy at Indiebound



Find Heather Waters on Twitter at @hwaters_

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1. YAReader
I thought she was pretty much resolved that she loves Peter, and Peter only. I just hope that the sequel won't be so much about love triangles anymore. It worked on this one, but I doubt it would next time. Sigh. After FIOS, this was the first one that has ever caught my undivided attention again. 2015 is so far away.
Heather Waters
2. HeatherWaters
*Spoilers for TO ALL THE BOYS... below*

@YAReader -- No, yeah, she definitely did...for this book, at least. But because of how Jenny Han handled the triangle in her series The Summer I Turned Pretty (which I won't ruin in case you haven't read--I highly recommend it), I'm wondering if Josh could, in fact, play a part in the sequel too. After all, he confessed some big stuff about his own feelings at the end of To All The Boys, so I got the feeling they might not be over for good. But that's pure speculation, and I can't wait to see what actually happens. (Agreed, 2015 feels too far away.)

Thanks for the comment!
3. YAjunkie

I think that Josh won't be a love interest in the sequel. But the guy from the Model UN will be. If you read the summary thing to PS I Still Love You(the sequel to To All the Boys I've Ever Loved) than it says a boy from her past which I'm guessing is that guy. Either way I can't wait till the sequel comes out!!!
Heather Waters
4. HeatherWaters
@YAjunkie -- Oh yeah, that's another possibility! We'll have to discuss again after we all get our hands on the sequel. I need it nowwwwww.
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