Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 15th, 2014
Genre/Format: Contemporary Realistic Fiction/Novel
GoodReads Summary: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.
What I Think: I'll tell you what I think. I think there is everything to love about this book. I mean, let's start with the cover. I'm not sure I've ever seen a more perfect cover. But more than the cover, the words inside are amazing. It was so so so so hard for me to pull out a snatch of text because I love every word. Usually there are sentences that really stand out to me but as I go back and look through this book, I remember how tight Jenny Han's writing is and how she packs so much into every page. Every great moment blends into the next great moment.
I've noticed that every time I sit down to write my own novel, I get a stronger sense of my characters. My main character's story has taken shape and become clearer and clearer but I've also been working on making my whole cast of characters three-dimensional. Well, Jenny Han knows how to do that. From the first page alone, readers have a sense of who Josh is but how he fits into Lara Jean's life. Actually, we have so much more than a sense of who Josh is, we know details about Josh and Lara Jean and her family. She writes with this descriptive intensity throughout the whole book. That's what makes it amazing. Her description moves with the plot and I barely realized how much she was showing me while not stopping to do it.
One more thing I admire about this story is that Jenny does a great job of capturing the reality of being a teenager trying to navigate love and relationships. Love isn't easy, it's complicated and filled with insecurity and unsureness. There are people who come in and out of our lives and people who we connect in so many different ways. Jenny folds this message in as she layers on Lara Jean's story.
I love To All the Boys I've Loved Before as a mentor text for myself for the well-defined characters, the tight description, and the topics it addresses. It's definitely a book that makes me so enamored with Jenny Han as a writer and desperate to find our what happens next!
Read Together: Grades 8 - 12
Read Alone: Grades 8 - 12
Read With: Better Off Friends and others by Elizabeth Eulberg, From What I Remember... by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas, Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski, The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
Snatch of Text:
"If I could crawl into a hole and burrow in it comfortably and live out the rest of my days in it, well, then that is what I would do." (p. 72)
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you did something that you regretted - like sending an e-mail or text.
Topics Covered: Family, Friendship, Love, Loyalty, Honesty, Trust
I *heart* It: