When I write, I hold nothing back. I write like he’ll never read it. Because he never will. Every secret thought, every careful observation, everything I’ve saved up inside me, I put it all in the letter. When I’m done, I seal it, I address it, and then I put it in my teal hatbox.
Lara Jean Covey is my hero. She’s smart, funny, loves her family and hates to drive. But Lara Jean uses writing to deal with feelings of love she has for a special crush. But not in the “I’ll love you until the sun sets in the east” kind of writing. No, Lara Jean writes letters to the boys she’s loved when she’s ready to move on. When the love she has for them has disappeared. Everything she’s ever felt for them is in those letters. So when they are mailed out to five boys she’s loved in her young life, she truly believes that she’s been transported to the upside down.
In Jenny Han’s book, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, letter writing takes a front seat, something most people don’t do anymore. Now it’s either text messages, emails or Instagram posts instead of love letters. And that’s a damn shame. Because Lara Jean’s letters are the reason for everything that happens in the book. Not only do they cause confusion in her life, but create conflicted feelings in her neighbor Josh, who just happens to be her sister’s ex-boyfriend. To top it all off, one of the letters is mailed to Peter Kavinsky, the resident hot guy who used to be a friend of Lara Jean’s. Lara Jean and Peter come up with a plan to make his ex jealous and they end up pretending to be in a relationship.
I did not think I would love this book as much as I did. But like so many who have read it, I found myself laughing, crying and feeling all types of emotions while reading and that made me so happy. I thought of my sister, who I love so much, and how I feel when we argue (which is rare). Lara Jean and her sisters have a great bond. I especially loved youngest sister Kitty, who was a damn HOOT! She was a complete smartass and I loved her. But it was Lara Jean who captured my attention the most because she was me at a young(er) age. I’ve written letters to my crushes and daydreamed about what it would be like if they were mine. Even now, when I’m crushing on someone, I either write them a letter and then shred it or type something on my laptop until the crush is over. I would be absolutely mortified if any of them had been sent out and Lara Jean handled it all like an MVP.
When I was done with the book, I immediately ordered the two sequels, P.S., I Still Love You, and Always and Forever, Lara Jean and then queued up the Netflix film to see what all the fuss was about.
Netflix Film – 4 Stars
Let me start by saying I definitely like this film. The young actress who plays Lara Jean, Lana Condor, is phenomenal and surpassed my expectations. She was funny, vulnerable, tough and just plain adorable and I loved watching her. Noah Centineo, who plays dreamboat Peter Kavinsky, was awesome as well, but don’t expect me to go all fan girl. I mean, I’m a grown ass woman and crushing on a 22-year old is kinda weird. No matter how good he looked in that hot tub. With that blue light hitting his dreamy face. And that hair is kind of nice, like, I could just run my hands through it all day, and . . . oh no.
I liked the chemistry that Lana and Noah had with each other. I believed that they were a couple, even though they were just pretending in real life and as Lara Jean and Peter. And although I knew what would happen, seeing it unfold on screen was really nice and I enjoyed myself.
However, I do have a couple of gripes. First, WHAT HAPPENED TO SMARTASS KITTY??? Don’t get me wrong, the actress who played her (Anna Cathcart) was great, but I was expecting super sarcastic Kitty, bossy Kitty, relentless Kitty. What the hell happened??? The other gripe I have is how toned down the blow up was between Lara Jean, Josh (played by Israel Broussard), Peter and Lara Jean’s older sister Margot (played by Janel Parrish). In the book, it was intense and Margot was pissed (rightfully so), but in the film it felt too rushed. I was expecting fireworks but was pretty let down by that scene. But all in all, I had a great time watching the film and really hope that a sequel is in the works.
I definitely recommend reading To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and implore you to have the sequels close at hand when you’re done. Don’t do what I did or you’ll end up being mad at yourself because now you have to wait for your books to arrive so you can finish the series. And when you’re done, give the film a view or two and then let me know what you think in the comments. I plan to watch it again while it’s quiet so I can remember what it was like to be a teenage girl crushing on a boy. I recommend you do the same.