July 23, 2016

Why I Love To All the Boys I've Loved Before

I remember walking into Half Price Books way back in April of 2014. I think I sold some books I no longer wanted and then wandered over to their new books section. I don't remember most of the books that were on the few shelves they gave YA, but I do remember one - To All the Boys I've Loved Before. I remember reading another blogger's very favorable review of it a few days earlier, and I hadn't heard much about TATBILB prior to that. For some reason, I decided to take a chance on it, without having read a single page - something that was and is very rare for me to do. I haven't regretted that decision one bit, because To All the Boys I've Loved Before is most definitely one of my "we never go out of style" favorites to this day, and I'm going to tell you why.

1. The short chapters
This is kind of a superficial reason, but as much as I love long chapters, short chapters are fun, too, and they add to the charm of TATBILB. They really bring Lara Jean Covey's voice to life. And if you read the book aloud with a friend (like I did with Julia over the course of four eight hour drives to and from our university), it makes it much easier to find stopping points and take breaks to drink water or whatever.

2. Fake relationships are my kryptonite.
I don't have a lot of tropes that I will proclaim that I love, but fake relationships are definitely one of them, because I know the couple will inevitably actually fall for each other and it creates such great tension. (Side note: if you've read TATBILB and want to read more fake relationship books, try The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes and The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West.) Lara Jean is obviously one half of the fake couple, which leads me to...

3. Peter Kavinsky and his character development
Jenny Han does a wonderful job of fleshing out Peter. I loved getting to know him, and I was rooting for him so badly. He and Lara Jean complement each other nicely, and he loves her quirkiness.

4. The sister relationship
One of the strengths of TATBILB is watching how the dynamics change between Lara Jean and her older sister, Margot, and Lara Jean and her younger sister, Kitty. Margot goes off to college in Great Britain, and that changes a lot for Lara Jean - how responsible she has to be, how Josh views her, how she acts, etc. And I loved watching Lara Jean realize Kitty is growing up, even though she's still young.

5. The baking
Lara Jean loves to bake, so I knew she'd be a kindred spirit. Plus, she provided the recipes for two From the Bookshelf to the Kitchen posts. In the first book, she bakes cowgirl cookies, and in P.S. I Still Love You, she bakes Taylor Swift's chai sugar cookies (which basically make your house smell like Christmas). I baked both types recently, and although I had problems with the icing, they still tasted wonderful.

If baking isn't your thing, though, and tea is, I created a Lara Jean Covey tea blend on Adagio, so you can give that a try, if you like.

I'll leave you, as has become my custom, with bookstore links because this is a book every lover of contemporary YA needs in their life.


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