Lara Jean has always written letters to the boys she loved, past tense. They weren’t love letters, more her way of ending unrequited love. She keeps the letters in a hatbox and has never actually sent one. Until one day, somehow, the letters get posted. How is she going to live this down?
Great premise and so many people love these books, so I expected to like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before more than I did. To save face, Lara Jean agrees with one of the boys to pretend they are dating and on more than one occasion, it comes across a bit mean and manipulative. You can blatantly see people’s feelings getting hurt and she is just oblivious. I wanted to it to be a light and sweet book and it misses the mark somewhat.
I found Lara Jean a little too young and naïve for my liking. She’s never dated anyone before and she has put relationships on a pedestal. There’s something about calling a dad “daddy”, that makes someone seem either very young or posh. However, I did like the father, he is kind and tries hard to make life easy for the girls without their mother (yes, it’s a dead mother book). Maybe her naïvety comes from the lack of mother-figure in her life, but she does have an older sister.
If love is like a possession, maybe my letters are like my exorcisms. My letters set me free.
It’s stronger when looking at the dynamics of three sisters, especially where the eldest steps in to be the carer, of sorts. When Margot moves away to university, Lara Jean realises how much she did for them. Their hierarchy is out of whack and Kitty, the youngest, is at that age where she’s turning from baby into someone who wants to be seen as more mature than she is.
I know this is part of a trilogy, but the ending is very abrupt. There’s really no sort of resolution and I don’t think it’s fair to expect people to people to read three books to get any sort of satisfaction. Holly Bourne manages her contemporary trilogy quite well with each book concentrating on a different character. An ongoing romantic arc doesn’t really work for me. Honestly, I just felt a bit cheated (or like I was missing a chapter).
Maybe America doesn’t have annual animal welfare campaigns reminding people pets aren’t for Christmas but I was disappointed to see a puppy being given as a gift. It’s not even offset by that puppy being hard work, instead he behaves perfectly, isn’t weeing every half hour and no one has sleepless nights. Humpf.
An easy and pleasant distraction to read on my commute but I didn’t find myself eager to get back to the story when I wasn’t reading it. I’m not sure I would go out my way to read another one, even if I am a little intrigued about what happens next.
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Book Source: Purchased