As part of my goal to read more love stories in 2019, I decided to give To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han a chance. I really enjoyed the movie version, so I figured it was worth trying the book–even though I wasn’t really a fan of The Summer I Turned Pretty, also by Jenny Han. Well. It turned out this was one of the rare times when the movie really was better than the book.
The fundamental premise of both the book and the movie is slightly absurd–teenager Lara Jean writes love letters to her crushes, not to send them, but just to put her feelings into words. She writes them, addresses them, and then puts them away to save. But then her letters get mailed by mistake–including the one to Josh, her sister’s (very recently) ex-boyfriend. In a panic to hide her feelings for Josh, Lara Jean tries to convince him that she’s really in love with Peter, one of her other letter recipients. Peter just broke up with his long-time girlfriend, and suggests that he and Lara Jean pretend to date, to make his ex jealous and to throw Josh off the track.
Like I said, it’s kind of absurd, but worth going along with. At least in the movie, which had a lot I liked. It’s a cute, funny teenage romantic comedy, with a silly premise but believable and likable characters. I like that it has a lot of diversity–Lara Jean and her two sisters are biracial, Korean and Caucasian; besides their parents’ interracial relationship, none of the guys she crushes on are Asian. Mostly white, one is African-American (and gay). But what I liked best was that Lara Jean used her words, a lot.