Published by Simon & Schuster, April 2014, 288 pages, £6.99
I wasn’t actually going to review these books. It’s unanimously loved on bookstagram, what would be the point- I mean look at it! It’s made for shelfies, the cover is practically a slicked out instagram post. So I thought, maybe it is over-hyped and its just a pretty face. But I loved every minute of reading it. It’s such a lovely book. And I’m not putting that lightly or sugar-coating my words. Jenny Han’s work is a gem. All I can think was- where was I when this was being published?
Han is a great story teller. It takes skill to keep a reader keen, when nothing really happens. I mean it has a proper plot, but its the sort of book where you don’t care about that much and you end up just living with the characters. Lara Jean lost her mother when she was young. She’s got a loving but slightly clueless dad, a life-sorted older sister Margot and a full-of-life little sister Kitty. She is living in a world filled with her delicious baking (I loved all the descriptions of food), studying, her party-hard friend Chris and being in love with Josh, Margot’s boyfriend. When Margot goes off to college, she finds it harder to let go of her feelings. A few years ago, she wrote venting love-letters to all the boys she was crushing on. One day these get accidentally posted- and all hell breaks loose. She has to pretend to date popular boy Peter Kravinsky, who is turn is trying to get his ex jealous. After a while, the game gets complicated and the difference between truth and lies is not so easy.
There’s nothing more delicious than some guys fighting over you. But this messed up web of lies and love triangles is not exactly unique to YA romance. So don’t expect anything different. But saying that, Han’s style of writing is original to me. Its so sweet, funny and punchy. It doesn’t have the edgy bite that a lot of YA has recently, which I feel turns kinda sour. But it still has an endearing honesty about it. It reminded me of the amazing Meg Cabot. Lara Jean’s stumbling through life will stick to me for a while. Is there such thing as ‘cute writing’? Because I don’t think I’ve come across something so adorable in words.
When To All the Boys… was finished I went straight back to Amazon and brought the sequel. It picks up just where we left off. I think, structurally, the first book is better. This book strays a little in the middle and I got a bit confused. One of Lara Jean’s old loves, John, enters back into the mix and throws everything up in the air. Han has a knack of making you fall in love with anybody. She made me fall in love with Josh, Peter and now what about John?
I felt like P.S... was more tense and kept me addicted with anxiousness towards the end. It had the ending I was hoping for though! And I feel like it could keep going. I want more Lara Jean.. There are some honest discussions about relationships, gender politics and sex. If you’re wondering whether it might be too young for you, I’m in my early twenties. I think anyone from 11-25 would enjoy this.
When work was getting me down, I used this book as a breather. Hanging out with the Song girls will get you back on your feet. It’s reading books like this that makes me want to become a better writer.
Thanks Jenny xx