We love to binge watch shows, but as we deal in books we’ll binge read a whole bunch of series for you and write about them. Be aware though, we’ll discuss the entire series, so expect there to be spoilers. Skip the books-section if you don’t want to know what happens.
What is the series about?
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is about a girl called Lara Jean Covey. She lives in the suburbs of Virginia with her two sisters and father. She’s led a somewhat sheltered life, hanging out mostly with her family and her sister’s boyfriend. But when big sis Margot moves to Scotland for college and little sis Kitty sends out Lara Jean’s secret love letters, her life goes from quiet to difficult and dramatic in an instant.
So who wrote this?
Jenny Han is an American author who writes books for teens and children. She’s written a bunch of other books besides this series, some standalone novels, and other series as well. She used to be a children’s book seller and librarian and is a big spokesperson for diversity in literature.
Tell me about the books!
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: The start of Lara Jean’s story and where we get introduced to her adorable family. The girls are half-Korean, their mother is dead and their father is a contemporary Atticus Finch. Margot – who’s been the surrogate mother ever since – moves to Scotland to attend University and breaks up with her long-term boyfriend Josh. Lara Jean already finds it difficult to deal with her sister leaving, but then her old crush on Josh flares back up again and things get doubly complicated. To top it off, her little sister Kitty takes revenge on Lara Jean by sending out old love letters she wrote to boys she used to love. This puts LJ in a bit of a pickle as one of the letters goes out to Josh and the other to Peter, her high school’s most popular boy. To avoid anything romantic happening between her and Josh, she strikes up a fake relationship with Peter, which – spoiler alert – blossoms into something real at the end. The book isn’t specifically refreshing and the plot is straight out of any rom-com, but to me, there was something so lovable about the Covey family and the boys, that I forgive it all its flaws and just enjoyed the swoony romance.
P.S. I Still Love You: In the second book of the series, we follow Lara Jean and Peter as they try to have an actual relationship. Things are a little complicated between them, however. In book one, Peter just broke up with his forever on and off again gf Genevieve. Lara Jean and Genevieve used to be friends as well, but they stopped being friendly to each other a while ago. Genevieve is still looming over the new relationship, which definitely puts a strain on the fun romance. To top things off, another boy from LJ’s past pops up. The dreamy John Ambrose McClaren – who has the best name and is also so cute and sincere – starts writing letters to her after finally receiving one of the old love letters. I wasn’t a huge fan of Lara Jean in this book, but her fling with John Ambrose McClaren makes it so worthwhile. In this book, Lara Jean turns into the kind of girl who likes making her boyfriend jealous and who is constantly looking for drama. Only near the end does she learn to understand that talking to other people will actually solve things and that jealousy isn’t a good look on anyone.
Always and Forever, Lara Jean: So in the final installment, Lara Jean has picked Peter over John Ambrose McClaren – you cannot mention him without his full name – and they seemed to have dealt with all the Genevieve stuff. Their relationship is going well and they start to make plans for college. Of course, things don’t go as planned when Lara Jean doesn’t get into the same college as Peter. As her father gets engaged to their long-time neighbor, Lara Jean is trying to figure out if love means taking chances or sticking together. In the end, she does both, going to the college of her dreams while trying a long-distance relationship with Peter. This one was the least memorable of the series for me, but it still had a lot of great ‘all the feels’ moments. Still, there were just too many events happening that seemed a little unrelated. And it was so unnecessary for Stormy to die. I will never forgive Jenny Han for doing that to us. However, I would love to see Lara Jean: The College Years, so here’s to hoping that one day Jenny Han will allow her to make a comeback.
So, why should I read this series?
You don’t read these books for the story, but really for the characters. This does make it a love it or hate it kind of series. If you don’t like Lara Jean, you’re not going to enjoy this at all, but if you love her relatable Harry Potter-loving, home body, and stationary addicted self, you’ll be hooked. Besides Lara Jean, the boys surrounding her are great as well. All are way too sweet and nice – especially John Ambrose McClaren who is just the best boy imaginable – and you totally understand why Lara Jean is so smitten with them. While reading these books, I just felt so much adoration for the whole Covey clan and I loved all the references to Korean beauty products and dumb tv shows. As a whole, the series isn’t innovative at all, but it’s solid good fun and a great feel-good read.
Are there any special features/extras, because I need more?!
Unfortunately, there are no extra stories, but there will be a movie coming out. Adaptations aren’t always very strict, so who knows what new goodness it will give us!
Is there a box/gift set?
Yes! A box set that contains all three novels with a very pretty hardcover sleeve. Nothing new or fancy, but it will still look great in your closet.
How do I fill the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before void?
As mentioned before, Jenny Han has written quite a lot of other books. Her other series Summer is quite famous, so you might want to try that. Otherwise, I think that the books from Becky Albertalli will do great in filling this romantic void, just like Stephanie Perkins‘ work. It’s all cute romances, sweet characters and a whole lot of lovin’.