I don’t know why I read this book, because I expected to HATE it…. but I was pleasantly surprised.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Favorite quote: “I didn’t fall for you, you tripped me!”
Lara Jean, the “quirky” hopeless romantic, has loved and lost five boys in her life. Josh, who as her older sister’s boyfriend is absolutely off-limits, Peter, who’s now the most popular guy at school, John and Kenny, who both moved away, and Lucas, who turned out to be gay. To get over her crushes, Lara Jean has written each of them a letter. You could call them love letters or breakup letters- but most importantly, they’re PRIVATE letters. Letters that no one is ever supposed to see, especially not the people they’re addressed to.
When Lara Jean’s perfect older sister Margot leaves for college in Scotland and breaks up with Josh, Lara Jean doesn’t know what to think. She can’t deny her feelings for Josh, but he’s her sister’s ex! She CAN’T like him! What’s more, Lara Jean is forced to assume all of Margot’s responsibility now that Margot is in Scotland, and Lara Jean knows she will never be as responsible and perfect as Margot. Things only get worse when Peter confronts Lara Jean in gym class on day, asking why he just got a passive-aggressive love letter from her in the mail.
Someone mailed Lara Jean’s letters. All of them. Even Josh’s.
In an attempt to minimize the damage, Lara Jean has the brilliant plan to pretend to date Peter so that Josh won’t think Lara Jean likes him anymore. Peter goes along with it to save face after his messy breakup with Genevieve, the token mean popular girl. As you would expect, there’s some juicy drama. Lots of it.
I was so unexpectedly entertained by this book. The title sounds so shallow, honestly, and I went into this expecting it to be super stupid, and well, yeah. Shallow. Yes, it was very fluffy, but I actually had a lot of fun reading it. It was funny, for one thing. I LOVED Peter and Lara Jean’s dialogue, and although Lara Jean could be annoying at times, I felt myself growing attached to her.
I didn’t like how immature Lara Jean was, though. For the first couple chapters, I actually assumed she was 12 or 13 until she mentioned that she had her driver’s license, and then I realized: she’s supposed to be older than me. She makes a lot of dumb decisions (Lara Jean, WHY would you put the addresses and stamps on letters that you don’t want anyone to see?) and strangely, she didn’t seem to be concerned about who sent the letters after things settled down. I guessed from the very beginning who did it, but Lara Jean didn’t seem to care or have any amount of curiosity regarding who had gone through her private folder and mailed the letters. She did have a bit of a character arc, though, and she had a really fleshed-out personality that felt real. I found I could relate to her in some respects, too.
Overall, this is a really fun and entertaining book that I would recommend as one of your summer YA contemporary reads!
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