Since Netflix finally released the trailer for To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, it’s finally time for me to publish a book series review for these books! Not that I’ve been taking forever or anything. I actually just read them at the beginning of June! And I did draft this in June, but *sigh* it’s already July.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a cute, easy contemporary read. I read them all in practically 2 days each. (it was supposed to be a buddy read with Malanie, but Mal got sidetracked by other things…)
If you really want to know more about the synposis, just watch the trailer. It pretty much explains all the important big details in a much more interesting way.
Ok, so this trailer is super cute. And I don’t know if they put all three books into one movie or turned into a mini-series? Does anyone know?
My face while watching the trailer
On another tiny side rant, do you know how long it takes to type up these book titles? To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. And the acronym is crazy, too! TATBILB. Ok, wow. And no one recognizes that word salad right off the bat, so you still have to write out the full book title. #firstworldproblem
Where is the actual plot?
The first book might actually have something of a plot. It’s hard to know exactly for sure. But I didn’t feel lost as a reader and I thought things were really happening. But then after reading ALL three books, I can’t remember which point went to which book because the plot is so thin, it all mixes together.
FYI, all three books, I think, could have very easily fit into just one book. And, ahem, I don’t think the third book was necessary AT ALL.
By the second book, the story felt a tiny bit repetitive. Another potential ship is introduced, and we get more high-school angst. But the stakes never felt really high? Instead, I felt emotionally manipulated by the plot. To let you all know, short-term breakups are just not my thing.
A How to NOT Breakup Guide from these books. (ALL THE ANNOYING THINGS LARA JEAN DID, BASICALLY)
- Just stop talking. And assume you broke up?
- Maybe, kind of date, your middle-school crush?
- Play a highly competitive game with your boyfriend’s ex
- Never really trust your boyfriend
If you think Lara Jean’s method of breaking up is the ideal best, we need to have a serious chat. Also, is a three day break up really a break up? Maybe asking for a friend?
And DO NOT get me started on the third book. Because there was not a plot for the third book. Just a lot of teenage existential crisis. Because apparently planning on going to college and senior year is a lot more stressful than I ever realized. (Maybe I’ll have a mental breakdown my college senior year since I was fine through high school) And by that point, you know Lara Jean simply cannot break up permanently from the current ship because that would ruin readers hearts.
Instead we’re led on a 300+ page emotional drama of pleeeaaaaasssse don’t break up. But they really can’t break up? JUST TALK TO EACH OTHER ALREADY!
Me, to Lara Jean and her boyfriend
Despite the missing plot pieces, I really, really loved the setting! Lara Jean’s Korean culture is woven into the story and I loved reading about her favorite Korean foods and traditions. And all the baking made me very, very hungry for chocolate chip cookies.
Lara Jean is the epitome of Hufflepuff. This girl thinks in cupcakes. With lots of icing. It’s cute, but makes her character drag sometimes. Maybe because I lean more towards the Gryffindor/Slytherin spectrum.
I did enjoy the way Lara Jean told her story. She focuses a lot on other people and wanting to know their feelings. Everything is not neccesarily about her, which was sweet. And she pours herself into her baby sister which was heartwarming.
On the other hand, Lara Jean’s decision making process was so weird. Maybe it’s a Hufflepuff thing or just younger teenager thoughts or personality, but her decisions were entirely 100% based on feelings.
And she decided not to go to William and Mary because it was her backup school? The college she had to go to because her #1 wasn’t open? Weird?!?! (And maybe I was just more annoyed because I really, really wanted to got to W&M when I was a teenager and it was NOT an option, haha!)
Now about the guys…
^Even those these guys are 21st century, I feel like I’m reading about sweet jocks from the 1950s^
They’re all sweet? But the character development really isn’t there for Peter, or Josh, or anyone. Also, I thought the guys were alot crazier about Lara Jean than she ever was for any of them. The unequal mix of feelings became super annoying.
Oh, oh, oh! Another rant that I completely forgot about until this very moment. Lara Jean and her casual using guys? Every single time she wants something from her boyfriend, she literally thinks, “It’s so nice he’s my boyfriend. I can get him to do anything.”
Whoa, that was weird the first time. Then the second and the third and the fourth time, well, I was just so annoyed. So annoyed. Maybe it’s because I haven’t dated or something, but it just seemed super incredibly manipulative.
Perhaps I hated the manipulation SO MUCH because I really adored Peter and Josh. They were both great guys who really adored Lara Jean and would do anything for her. I can’t say too much more without spoilers? But I definitely thought they both deserved better than the way Lara Jean often treated them.
I admit, I read this series just because I knew it was becoming a Netflix series. And I wanted to watch it before I saw the movie. Mission accomplished.
But I did feel a little bit cheated. Because other than making me crave perfect chocolate chip cookies, these books aren’t that amazing? Cute, yes. Interesting, not really. The character development is not there and the plot meanders in circles. This is very much a Hallmark movie kind of read. But, hey, the movie looks super cute!
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?
Sixteen-year-old 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.
Have you read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series? What did you think?
Do you like to read books before movie adaptions are released?
What’s your #1 piece of dating advice?