Goodreads Summary: 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.
“It’s not like in the movies. It’s better, because it’s real.”
As a highschooler, it’s easy to admire boys from afar and shrink into your own shell, invisible from the world. It’s hard to venture outside of your comfort zone, something Lara Jean Song Covey is all too aware of as she is pushed into the spotlight.
Lara Jean writes love letters to all the boys she thinks herself in love with. She doesn’t ever intend to mail them; she just wants to admire them from afar, never putting herself out there, until one day someone sends her letters off and she is confronted by all the boys she wrote to.
When the boy she loves desperately, her older sister’s ex boyfriend Josh, confronts her, she hastily enters a fake relationship with another of her letter recipients, Peter. The relationship, intended to make his ex girlfriend and her crush jealous, quickly evolves into an endearing friendship, and then maybe a little more.
I think that most any high schooler can relate to Lara Jean. She has to put up with the stress of high school, gossip, rumors, and even cyberbullying. And she’s not perfect in any way; she fights with her sisters, she crushes on people she can’t have, she’s gone through her fair share of falling outs with old friends. To me, this just made her more endearing. She makes mistakes, she learns from them, she makes new mistakes.
The relationship between the three sisters in the story is extremely important. It is even more so because their mother is dead, and the sisters have to be there for each other. One of the biggest changes in Lara Jean’s life is her older sister, Margot, going away to college. As someone who, too, has just had an older sibling go to college, I think this book captures the changing atmosphere perfectly. There are moments when you grow apart from each other, things that have come between you that you never thought would occur. There are fights, and a changing atmosphere. But at the end of the day, you’re siblings and you have each other’s back.
I also really loved the diversity in this book. Lara Jean is half Korean, half white. There are certain stereotypes that come from being biracial, or Asian, and as someone who is half Asian myself, I thought that Lara Jean was a great representation.
Of course, the most important thing in this book is the romance. Throughout the novel, Lara Jean really gets close to a boy for the first time in her life. She learns the difference between loving someone from a distance, and getting close and really loving them. This is a great maturing point for her.
She also has great chemistry! There is a bit of a love triangle, but I’m extremely satisfied with who she ended with, and how the story ended.
The only thing that bothered me about this book was that how okay Lara Jean was with being in love with, and wanting to be with her sister’s ex. I think that’s a certain line that shouldn’t be crossed. But again, she’s clearly a flawed character, and that doesn’t make the book any worse for me. And she definitely matures over the course of the plot.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed this book. It was a light, quick read, but no less beautiful or impactful. This book is the first in a trilogy, and I will enthusiastically continue reading!
5 out of 5 hand drawn stars
You can also read my review on Goodreads here.