Thursday, April 30, 2015

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han. Unabridged audiobook on 7 compact discs, 8 hours, 15 minutes. Read by Laura Knight Keating. Recorded Books, 2014. 9781490619385. (Borrowed from the public library)

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song Covey is determined to step up once her sister Margot leaves to attend college in Scotland. Ever since their mother died, Margot has organized the family and has been the perfect daughter. Baby sister, Kitty is the spunky one, leaving Lara Jean kind of lost in the middle. 

Lara's entire family adores Josh, the boy next door who is also Margot's boyfriend. Lara actually crushed on him first, but stepped aside when Margot started liking him. Ever practical Margot breaks up with Josh days before leaving for Scotland, leaving him crushed. Lara Jean wonders how she, Kitty and Daddy will continue their friendship with him.

To get over her crushes, Lara Jean writes letters, brutally honest letters explaining why she fell in and out of love. She puts the letter in an envelop, addresses it and stores it in a hat box that was a present from her mother. There are five of them and one was addressed to Josh. 

The letters are mysteriously mailed, as Lara Jean learns when she is confronted by a seriously confused Josh. She's understandably mortified; but even more so when Alpha male, Peter Kavinsky receives his and confronts her as well. But Peter has a plan. He and his girlfriend recently broke up and Lara Jean doesn't want Josh to think she still likes him. She and Peter decide to pretend that they are going out.

Lara Jean seems way younger than her sixteen years. At first, I found her naiveté kind of charming. Then it became grating and annoying. What sixteen-year-old still refers to her parents as "Daddy or Mommy?" The performance by Laura Knight Keating reflected this very well. Her voice had a playful, young, musical quality to it.

One thing Jenny Han does very well is dialogue and angst. Teens are all about drama. My teens eat up her Summer I Turned Pretty series. Belly drove me absolutely berserk, but then, I'm old as dirt. There was a time, for like, five minutes, in my teens when I lived for this kind of drama. My teens will adore this one too and line up for the sequel, P.S. I Still Love You, which is due out May 29th.

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