For fans of this title, happy movie release day! Today the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before movie is available for streaming on Netflix. Due to this timely event, I read up on the first book in this series earlier this month. It was pretty cute and I definitely want to watch the movie, but I also get why this book receives such divided reactions from readers.
It’s plot fit for an early 2000s romcom: Each time Lara Jean develops a crush, she pours out her feelings into a letter to her crush that she never mails. One day the letters are mysteriously sent in the mail. To cover up for the letter sent to her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Lara Jean arranges a fake relationship with a different former crush, the ever-so popular Peter.
This is a classic romcom title. This book made me miss classic romcom movies like 13 Going on 30, The Wedding Date, 10 Things I Hate About You…that era. The plot is fairly silly, and also predictable, but it’s fun! Who doesn’t like a good story where a girl pretend dates a guy in order to avoid awkwardness with her other crush?
Speaking of her other crush…Josh. HE SUCKS. What a douche-y guy. I hated him, and I hated that Lara Jean gravitated toward him. That’s classic romcom, though. There’s the guy the girl wants to be with that the viewer usually doesn’t want the girl to be with. Then there’s the unconventional guy that everyone wants the girl to be with. Josh is the former. Peter is the obvious latter.
I think where this book loses its readers is in the formula. This kind of story doesn’t read as well as it looks onscreen. I’m willing to bet, were the readers to ever give the Netflix movie a chance, that they might prefer the movie. Or maybe a bunch of people who don’t like romcoms read this book and, predictably, didn’t like it.
Peter is the best (mostly), and so is Lara Jean’s younger sister Kitty. The three of them make a really fun group to read about.
I do have a major complaint. A bad ending is enough to throw even the best movies off balance. I hate a bad ending. That doesn’t mean I can’t handle a cliffhanger. I can…just look at previous reviews in this blog! The cliffhanger ending in this book, however, is pretty bad. It’s more like the ending of a “part one” than it is an actual book ending. I think I will eventually follow up on that bad ending, but not anytime soon. I’ve got a lot of other books I would rather read first. In the mean time, I will certainly enjoy watching the movie!