By JENNY HAN
Lara Jean Covey is a high school student who secretly writes letters to guys she feels a “deep love” for and hides them in a hatbox, never to be sent. She is also trying to get through life without her big sister, Margot, there to save the day now that she’s in college. It doesn’t take long for shit to drop, and now LJ’s secret love letters have somehow been sent, is in a fake relationship with one of the recipients of her letters, and is avoiding Margot’s ex-boyfriend, who also received a letter.
(PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS)
Oh, Lara Jean, Lara Jean, did you ever annoy the living shit out of me. I swear, if it weren’t for the fact that I can’t watch the movie without reading the book, I would’ve just stopped reading halfway through and moved on to a different book. But no, I just have to have this urge to kick myself in the face if I don’t read the book first! I actually attempted to read this book years ago. Way back in 2015 I think. I couldn’t even get past 30 pages. I apparently reviewed this on Goodreads as well years ago after I tried to read it, and it said there that I stopped around after the time LJ wrecked Margot’s car.
Despite the fact that the “let’s pretend to be a couple but then we end up falling in love” type of trope is pretty common, TATBILB kind of gave it a new spin. Like there was a bit of “forbidden-ness” with Josh, with him being her older sister’s ex-boyfriend and her fear of falling in love. And I do get that she can be a relatable character — I found myself relating to her at some points, but just her being dependent on her sister so much, her being such a ditz a lot of the time (and not even a lovable ditz) had me wanting to murder her. Why couldn’t she have just sucked it up and told Josh the truth? If she didn’t want him to know she still had feelings for him, she could’ve just told him that she writes letters to guys when she gets over them. Simple as that. Sometimes conflict that happens because of miscommunication annoys the living shit out of me, because the conflict could’ve been avoided in the first place and it just doesn’t cut it for me #sorrynotsorry.
I did like Peter and Josh as individuals though. Josh was that guy-next-door that the Covey family strongly relied on. Dr. Covey must’ve been relieved when Josh started hanging out with them. He must have been driven crazy being stuck with girls all the time, I think he was relieved when there was at least one boy around the house. However, what I don’t like about Josh is how he was suddenly so interested in LJ after he got her letter. I think it was unfair of him to demand that she give him a chance because he apparently liked her as well before Margot, and he kept asking her why she never told him, but at the same time, why didn’t he tell her? So like, cool it, Josh.
Peter and Kitty scenes were my favourite. I love that they got along with each other so quickly and I thought it was so sweet of Peter to use his mom’s van instead of his two-seater Audi just because he knew Kitty would be riding with them. At the same time, I do think it was right of LJ to be worried that Kitty might become attached to him and then they would have had to “break up”, but then does that mean she doesn’t expect that she and Peter would at least still be friends after their farce ended? Josh still tried to hang around the Covey family because they still thought of him as a family friend, but even after spending time with her sister and father, LJ didn’t think that she and Peter could also be friends and that he could also hang out with her family? Kinda one-track-minded over there, LJ.
And does it really matter if a rumor broke out that LJ and Peter had sex? Are we not in a day and age where we can just be like, “Well, Gen’s being petty. Who the fuck cares about the rumor? I know what’s the truth, my friends know the truth, I’ll deny the rumor but I won’t be so overly upset about it.” If LJ really did lose her virginity in that hot tub, I seriously doubt she would have been the first to do so.
If LJ was a better and stronger character, I would’ve liked the book. She just annoyed me to no end, that I thought all the other characters — who I thought were great — were just wasted on a story about a self-centered “teenager”.
Will I continue reading the series? No. I’ll just watch the movies.
GOODREADS RATING: 3/5 STARS