Star Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: WHY IS BOOK 2 ONE YEAR AWAY?! NOOOOO.
Blurb provided by Goodreads: 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.
I read this book like how I fall in love…slowly, and then all at once. That was a John Green reference, and I’m not sure if I did it correctly or not, but what I’m trying to say is that, I expected to read a few chapters before going to sleep. However, I found myself gripping the pages, my heart in a puddle in a pool at my feet and the clock flashing ‘4am’. To be fair, I did this to myself. It was 12 am and I knew I had to wake up in 7 hours for a 6 hour lecture in the morning! But no, the cover was too gorgeous to resist, and I knew Jenny Han was a fantastic storyteller. And so I read and read and read, only to have 20% of the book left at 4am. I then took a three hour sleep, read 50 or so pages and a few more on the way to my lecture. It was only at 1pm that I was able to finish the book, during a lunch break, and when class started back up again, I was distraught.
Thank God for Book 2 because that last line ain’t gonna fly for me.
To say I like this book is an understatement. To say I loved this book would be one, too. I simply adored this book, end of. This book was like a Magnum ice cream, coated with deliciousness, but underneath the chocolate ganache, is a rich vanilla. It was so heart-warming, delightfully funny and incredible poignant.
This story follows Lara Jean Song Covey who is dreamy-eyed and such a romantic! In her entire life, she has all but fallen in love with 5 boys, and for herself to get over them, she writes each of them a love “goodbye” letter and keeps them in a hat box her mother gave her when she was younger. So it’s the end of Summer and her oldest sister Margot is going to college in Scotland and Lara Jean is starting Junior Year. As she adjusts to these new changes, she finds out that her hat box has disappeared and her letters have been sent out–one of them to Peter Kavinsky, her first kiss and the other to her sister’s newly ex-boyfriend, Josh. In order to save face, she devises a contract with the most popular boy in her class, Peter, who is also nursing a broken heart after being dumped by his girlfriend of four years for an older guy, to be in a fake relationship. Peter K is a dreamboat. Described by Lara Jean to have that kind of “wholesome good looks” from another decade? SOLD.
This book sounds like it only centres around Lara Jean’s love life, but it’s way more than that! This book covers the vital relationship Lara Jean has with her two sisters, public perception as well as pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. I really, really loved the supporting characters, especially her two sisters. They each had their own distinct personalities that really shaped and gave flavour to the story. Margot, the eldest, was perhaps the most complex and the hardest character to like. She’s driven, stoic at times and very practical. Having to be the eldest and sort of the ‘mom’ to look out for her younger sisters after their mother passed away when she was 12 really made her an interesting character and I loved that we can kind of see in the story that all her life she’s based decisions for the benefit of her sisters and now she wants to be brave and do something for herself at once. Although we don’t see much of Margot in the book, mostly in the beginning and in the end, I really loved that she was still an important fixture that shaped Lara Jean as a character. With her gone, Lara Jean developed in this book as the eldest sister, learning to put Kitty (the youngest) before her and kind of juggling with expectations and wants. I know a lot of people didn’t like Margot but I kind of empathised with her; she was not a perfect character, she probably didn’t handle revelations at the end very well but she’s human. Kitty, the youngest, was probably the cutest younger sister in all of YA. She is so sassy and her quips are so hilarious. I especially loved when she interacted with Peter and it was so endearing to see how smitten she was with him and him her (of course, in a brotherly-sisterly way…did I use smitten correctly? LOL).
The romance was so sweet, I have cavities. I really liked the fact that Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship was not an easy one–being fake and all. The build-up was so fun to read and I loved that there was no insta-love at all. We kind of get the vibe from the beginning of the book (when they start their contractual affair, LOL) that it’s slightly love-triangle-ish, but I liked that we didn’t really know where Jenny Han was going to go with it. I definitely rooted for Peter, though, and I really appreciated that Lara Jean and Peter both didn’t put each other on a pedestal. Neither of them were interested in each other at the start, with Peter still in love with Genevieve, his ex, and Lara Jean being confused with her feelings for Josh, knowing she can never betray her sister, Margo,t which I thought provided a really great foundation for a friendship. You know how you act in front of the person you like? Like yourself…but just a little bit of the person you think THEY’D want? The best thing about them not liking each other in that way for most of the book is that they see each other’s flaws. There’s no need to impress the other; what you see is what you get. Before I spoil any further, I just have to share this song: Girls Chase Boys by Ingrid Michaelson. In my opinion, this is the PERFECT song for this book, and you can bet your bottom’s dollar that I’ve been blasting this all week (and right now, too).
Another thing I adored about this book was that it showcased a half-Asian main character. There is not enough diversity in YA, and I know it’s been said a lot, especially on Twitter, but it’s so true. Lara Jean Song being half Korean was like the cherry on top of this Magnum ice cream. She was believable, realistic and as a mixed person, I related to her, having to adhere to two separate cultures. And can I just add that finally there’s some credible representation here, with no offensive stereotypes? THANK YOU JENNY HAN.
I recently did a video review, discussing spoilery bits so I won’t delve into them here because I’m certain all that will come out is iudfhoiqwuefhqoiufhougberogjb. My feels were tested with this book, you guys.
Before I end this review (ish), I’d like to share this…thing I did.
The day after I finished this book, I was inspired to be very Lara Jean for the day and *TA-DA*, my first ever cosplay “photoshoot”, thanks to my patient 12 year old sister. I loved all of Lara Jean’s fashion choices in the book so I thought I’d do something a little Lara Jean-esque, but I highly doubt she’d wear that many dark colours…oh well, gotta work with what was in my closet!
Ta-da! My first ever cosplay (amateur) photo shoot!