Whatâ€™s up, dear readers? We have decided to start featuring book reviews from guest bloggers and hereâ€™s our first one! Let us introduce our first guest blogger, AJ! You can visit her blog here.
Iâ€™ll be talking about my recent favorite book series – Jenny Hanâ€™s To All The Boys Iâ€™ve Loved Before. I got the first two books in last yearâ€™s Manila International Book Fair, but I only had the opportunity to read them earlier this year, near enough on the date of the release of the third installment.
I never expected to be this mesmerized by a very romantic young adult set-up immediately. Lara Jean Song Covey is a character that has remained to me even up to this day – even when Iâ€™ve fallen in love with other book characters Iâ€™ve read after this book trilogy. What I first love about the whole story is how the Asian roots of the Coveys were portrayed – finally, Asians are now welcomed in the modern-day American mainstream literature (claim based on my reading extent)!
Related: Always and Forever, Lara Jean.
For me, her character was cute even if she is a typical insecure teenager who was robbed off her â€œspotlightâ€ by her supposed-to-be best friend. Reading what the Young Adult genre can offer, it seems like bullying (especially when the person is of a different race) in American high schools is a normal trend and itâ€™s a sad reality that authors are choosing to cater on their stories, which is also nice for it raises awareness.
The letters really caught my attention. As someone who loves writing letters to people important to her so much, my appreciation for Lara Jeanâ€™s honesty in all those five letters she wrote for five different boys is heightened. The female protagonist is very admirable with her dedicated honesty in everything, but she is reserved when it comes to love. I believe that her Asian roots hinder her from being brave in falling in love; thatâ€™s why she chooses to just write about them and for them secretly.
I also admire how Jenny Han created three lovely sisters. Margot is my favorite Song girl because I can relate to her a lot – she is just like me when it comes to responsibility with her sisters, and she acts strong because she is expected to, even if the deepest pieces of her being is slowly being crushed by the pressure and expectations present. She was also able to cut her relationship with someone she has seen to spend the rest of her life with, and three years ago, I did the same thing as well. While reading the book, Margotâ€™s character served as a direct reflection of myself and that made my attachment to TATBILB stronger.
Among the five guys Lara Jean has written love letters for, I love how Peter Kavinsky transformed and matured because of his love for our female heroine. Josh, Margotâ€™s boyfriend, was also an admirable character and I must admit, I did get my hopes high for him and Lara Jean, but I canâ€™t imagine her being together with another guy except for Peter. Although John was also a promising partner for Lara Jean, she obviously was really in love with Peter, thatâ€™s why sheâ€™s for him. (Major spoiler alert for those of you who havenâ€™t read the series!)
Despite all the praises for this book series, there are parts that I find too cheesy or cliche in the plot, especially with Genevieveâ€™s character, who was portrayed as a spoiled â€œit girlâ€ in their school and once a best friend of Lara Jeanâ€™s. Iâ€™ve read versions of her in other Young Adult novels and thatâ€™s why I wasnâ€™t too attached to her character.
Lastly, among the three books, I consider the concluding one – Always and Forever, Lara Jean – my favorite because the growth of the couple was more emphasized here, especially when they needed to decide for themselves for the sake of their future.
Overall, To All The Boys Iâ€™ve Loved Before is a book series that is heartfelt, honest, and relatable for this generationâ€™s struggles in finding love and self-acceptance. Check out the book signing tour this September 15-17, and available copies of Jenny Han’s books.
About the Author
AJ is a 22-year-old Bachelor of Arts in Journalism graduate from University of the East, Manila and currently the Digital Content Producer for MOR 101.9 of ABS-CBN Corporation. She is also a freelance writer and a brush lettering and calligraphy hobbyist. Her blog, ProeticShadows is inspired mainly of two art forms: Lettering and Writing. The blogger aims to influence through her creative passions that can give the world a glimpse with who she really is and how she expresses herself.
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