I finished the third book of the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (TATBILB) series this past weekend, and I just had to write a review about the trilogy.
After hearing about the Netflix adaptation of TATBILB from so many people, I decided to add the book to my Spring reading list.
At the time, I didn’t know that there were two more books in the series, or that I would end up reading those, as well.
Just a few pages into the first book, I could tell that the story and its narrator, 16-year-old Lara Jean, were special.
The first book has a pretty cool premise–Lara Jean writes love letters to her crushes as a way to get over them; over the course of her life she’s written five letters to five different boys.
The letters end up getting stolen and mailed out to their subjects, some of whom Lara Jean still goes to school with or sees on a regular basis, and that’s just the beginning.
What I was expecting to be an amusing, quick, YA read actually turned out to be a really sweet and enthralling love story that continues throughout the rest of Lara Jean’s high school career (covered in books two and three of the series).
This series ended up touching my heart for a few reasons; first and foremost, I identified a lot with the main character, who has a shy demeanor and spends a lot of time with her family.
Lara Jean isn’t a big partier and she doesn’t have much experience with boys, which makes every little moment between her and a potential crush extra special.
Lara Jean reminds me a lot of how I was in high school, and reading about some of the things she deals with besides boys throughout the series (family stuff, mean girls, choosing a college and then the finality of graduation) took me right back to my teen years.
These books were so well-written that they not only reminded me of my past, they brought back some of the feelings I had at that time, and that ability to affect a reader’s emotions is something that really impresses me when it comes to writing.
When Lara Jean was getting closer to graduation and was savoring every “last” experience she had, seeing things through a veil of simultaneous finality and possibility for the future, that mindset and the way it feels to be in that position came rushing back to me, striking up some old, nostalgic pangs that I had forgotten about and definitely never expected to feel again.
When I finished the series, my heart was heavy with the feeling that something really special had ended, but I was also able to imagine all of the possible ways the characters’ lives could continue from there. And I really wanted to imagine what else would happen for them.
Author Jenny Han confirmed that the last book was the end of the series, but if she had continued to write about Lara Jean’s college experience, adult life, or even the high school years of Lara Jean’s younger sister, I would buy those books the first date they were available.
If it’s not clear yet, I really enjoyed and would highly recommend all three of these books.
I keep talking about them as a series and not individual, because to me they are a package deal.
There is one key story that flows throughout all three books, and other stories begin and end within them, as well.
After finishing the last book, I immediately went to Netflix to watch the movie that so many people have been raving about, and I was glad to have that extension of my experience with these characters and this world.
The movie was great but, as always, I definitely recommend you read the books before watching (preferably all three, since they added some things from books two and three to the movie).
Without giving too much away, these books tell the story of young love and how falling in love can help you discover who you are and reveal your true self to others without you even realizing it.
They tell about how important it is to savor the time you have with the ones you love, because most things in life, if not all, are temporary.
They tell the story of a young girl growing up and facing challenges, and rising to meet those challenges even when she didn’t think she could.
Most of all, they depict the life, priorities, and struggles of a 16- to 18-year-old girl with both accuracy and grace.
I’ve never read any other book by Jenny Han, but I will definitely be adding some of her other works to my TBR list.
If you’re interested in reading books from this series, here are the names of each book and where you can buy them (click the picture to open a purchase window).
Or you can buy all three paperbacks in a set, here!
If you’ve already read this series, let me know what you thought in the comments below! I’m always interested in fan-girling over some great literature, OR in hearing another perspective from someone who maybe didn’t get the same things I did out of the story.
What other series are must-reads? I have a vacation coming up in July and want to make sure I bring some great reading material with me, so please share your recommendations in the comments below, as well.
Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your week! <3 🙂