Book Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

You Might Like This Book If You…

  • Like teen romances
  • Write love letters
  • Don’t mind a good ol’ predictable, heart-warming love story
  • Enjoy stories that explore sibling relationships

The Story

In case the trailer for the film hasn’t auto-played for you on Netflix: Whenever Lara Jean gets overwhelmed by her emotions for a boy, she writes him a love letter. It’s her way of coping with the intensity of love and infatuation, and how she finally gets over a boy. In her life, she’s written five love letters, and they’ve all stayed safely tucked away in her closet… until one day when they get mysteriously sent out.

Lara Jean panics: one of the recipients of her love letters is a dear family friend and her sister’s ex-boyfriend. To prevent a complete familial catastrophe, Lara Jean strikes a deal with Peter Kavinsky, a jock with a heart of gold, and another one of her love letter recipients. Lara Jean has to confront her fears of growing up and developing mature relationships as she goes through a semester of a fake romance.

Book + Movie Review

I thought this book was pretty cute. A bit predictable, but cute. The storyline was timed well enough to where, right when I thought I was getting bored, the character development blossomed and the characters started having some fun adventures.

I watched the movie soon after I finished the book. I’ve long given up on demanding that a movie be close enough to the book to be of value. I know that film works differently than literature. Despite these attitudes toward book-to-movie deals, I was still a bit disappointed. I think I had a combination of high hopes because of my friends’ rave reviews of the movie, and a sense of loss from my favorite things in the book being changed or deleted.

I enjoyed that the book wasn’t just a love story. The romance was what made the story cute, but it was the family relationships and friendships that made it thoughtful. A lot of the development of Lara Jean’s relationship with her sisters had to be cut out, including a poignant moment in which she reflected on how relationships are made up of the “little things [that] make up life.” I was glad that they were at least able to keep her dad just as cute as ever–but I mean, how can you not when John Corbett is playing him?!

Because I knew I was a bit tainted by my love for the book, I asked my husband what he thought when we finished the movie. He thought it was sweet, that it had hints of John Hughes 80’s teen flicks, and was overall entertaining. Which was what I had heard from all my friends who watched and loved the movie (but I guess he doesn’t want to gush like my girlfriends did, go figure).

Overall, this book is for those of you who are looking for a light romantic read. And teachers, I’m positive your high schoolers will love this book. If they’ve watched the movie, tell them there’s so much more to the story in the book! Click here to get it on Amazon!

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