I’ve read 12 books out of my 25 books goal this year. Three of those books are part of the young adult genre. This is my review of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before book series. I finally read the series after years of it sitting on my shelf. My best friend gave this to me as a gift for Christmas a couple of years back when the book got a Netflix film adaptation which I loved! Noah Centineo and Lana Condor made such a cute on-screen couple. Anyway, back to the books!
I normally don’t read the books after I’ve seen a film adaptation but I had the books so I read them. This was also the case with The Devil Wears Prada. I’d already seen the film and loved it before reading the book! Anne Hathaway’s street fashion show scene was a delight!
What’s the Story?
That’s what happened to Lara Jean Covey in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before book series, written by Jenny Han who’s also the writer of another YA best seller, The Summer I Turned Pretty. Lara Jean is a shy Korean-American teenage girl who likes to write love letters whenever she has a crush on someone. But she never sends them to the recipient. She keeps them in a hat box in her closet until the love letters get sent out without her knowledge and her crushes begin to confront her.
Thoughts on To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before book series
I thought this was a cute young adult novel series. Already liked the Netflix film series version but reading the books gave me a deeper appreciation of the story and the characters themselves.
I found Lara Jean to be such an adorable heroine and very relatable too. Shy high school girl happily living in her cocoon, admiring boys from a distance. Kinda like me then back in high school. I also wrote love letters to my crushes. Except I sent mine out and unlike LJ, I didn’t land the boy of my dreams. LOL!
I also love the Song girls. Each sister’s personality was well written. Margot was the big, caring, and independent sister who LJ looked up to. Kitty is the youngest sister. She’s a spunky one and liked to march to the beat of her own drum. But despite their different personalities, they had a very loving and close relationship with each other and with their Dad.
As for Peter, I already liked him when I watched the film version where he was played by Noah Centineo. Thought he’s cute, you know? But in the books, oh wow! What a guy! I love how vulnerable and open Peter was with Lara Jean. He’s also very sweet not only to Lara Jean but even to her little sis, Kitty. He’s definitely the kind of first boyfriend a girl could dream of having. Although I would admit that when I watched the films, by the second installment I rooted for John Ambrose more. I heard I’m not alone in this sentiment. John Ambrose is also a lovable guy who’s also a great fit for Lara Jean. They have more in common than Peter and Lara. But Peter’s pretty special too and by the third time and final installment, he truly won me over.
Film versus Books
Since To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before had a film adaptation and now that I’ve both seen the movies and read the books, I will say the books were really better. LJ was portrayed in the films the way she was written in the books. Peter, on the other hand, I think the film portrayal didn’t do him so much justice. Plus I wish the third movie installment also had the Sixteen Candles scene like in the book which was LJ’s surprise birthday celebration courtesy of Peter and that they wove in LJ and Peter’s song, Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.” That was seriously swoon-worthy. It would’ve been better than showing snippets of the Song girls’ travel in Korea.
But Noah Centineo and Lana Condor were a great pair to play Peter and Lara Jean. They had really nice on-screen chemistry. Of course, I understand that for film adaptations, the writers usually have to fit everything into an hour and a half to a two-hour film so not everything can be accommodated. Plus they also do make changes to the book versions. On that note, read this EW article “The 8 biggest changes to To All the Boys: Always and Forever book to screen”.
I highly recommend reading To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before book series. It’ll bring you all the kilig feels (romantic excitement) of a teenage love story and will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside just like how a first love should feel.