review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Books, Contemporary, Novel, Review, Romance

:: author:: Jenny Han :: published: 2014 :: my rating: 3/5 :: genre: novel :: romance novel :: contemporary :: goodreads

Hello my lovely friends!

Just another shameless plug: my twitter account @_kimmiegg is up and running! I’d love to catch up on your daily lives, and am looking forward to meeting you guys through twitter.

This book has been on my TBR list for a while, due to the plethora of amazing reviews about this book. Furthermore, after learning that it was a book based on a Korean-American family, I immediately included it in my eBook haul. I know many of you have read this book, but I can’t wait to share my thoughts on why this book doesn’t deserve the five stars I wanted to give it with you 🙂

(Since many of you have read this book, I have included a few could-be-spoilers. None divulge main plot twists or details. Read on at your own risk.)


Synopsis from goodreads:15749186

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.


My Review:

The aspect about this book that I loved was how relateable and realistic Lara Jean (the main character) was. Her struggle with finding love, and maneuvering through relationships, though often immature, were still always in character. I appreciated how Jenny Han included dialogue that was not only there to fill up space, but to provide insight into each personality and really develop each character into something real.

However, there were aspects of this book that made me question the hype.

  1. There didn’t seem to be any TRUE romance throughout the book. Especially because the relationship that permeated throughout the book was simply one that was supposed to be fake. I felt as if the various relationships presented in this book served to show Lara’s development. Although the majority of this book was devoted to her interaction with boys, I felt as if no real spark was found between any of them.
  2. I disliked how each sister seemed to have a romantic interest in their older sister’s significant other. Sure, it’s better to like your sister’s boyfriend, but not to crush after him… And mutually, if you’re dating someone, please don’t crush on her younger sister.. That’s just so, wrong…

The Characters

Each character is the typical archetype of a middle class family dealing with some sort of problem. In this case, it’s the death of a mother. Starting with the typical overworked father who loves his daughters and is always trying to find ways to give them the love and attention they deserve while trying to figure them out. I loved the attention and effort this father put into raising his family of three girls. Then there’s Margot, the oldest, most mature responsible and organized sister. She is the one who has kept the family together and running smoothly, and it is her departure that throws this book into motion. Kitty is the youngest of the group, and naturally plays one of the most vital (and predictable) parts in this story. Lastly, we have Lara Jean. The protagonist of this story.

Lara Jean is a sheltered, romantic teen trying to make it through the most important years of high school. Not only is she facing the hardships of exceeding her sister’s footsteps, but she has an issue with not ever truly expressing her feelings for others, but rather, choosing to lock them away in a box. In a way, I appreciated this side of Lara, as I found myself being able to relate to her inability to open up and share how she felt with others.

Then of course, we need to add in a troubled friend who always sticks up for the main character. Chris is the typical “this is not a phase mom” character who  helps Lara through her difficult times. To thicken the plot, we add Genevieve, the beautiful, flawless mean girl who adds drama to the story. And her perfect boyfriend, Peter, who enters Lara Jean’s life with a lot of emotional baggage.

The Plot

Although the characters were not very unique and this story was lacking in that department, the plot was very unique. There were times I really had to wonder what was going to happen next, and what choice Lara Jean was going to make. I was also constantly curious as to how each character would react to the actions of others. Because the characters are quite archetypal, I thought I would be able to predict how each of them reacted… Surprisingly, my conjectures were proved false.

Although these small aspects of the plot really made the book, I failed to find much romance. As stated before, I felt as if this book explored more of Lara’s development through failed relationships. When before, Lara measured her ability and worth against her sister Margot, we see her beginning to break free of that. I believe that was the best part of the book, and what made it so readable/relateable.

Ending Thoughts

This book was a light, fun read that I did finish in one sitting. It was hard to put down, and although there were parts that I wish had been dealt with better, I found myself really enjoying this quirky fun romance. *SPOILER*  I was disgusted by how Lara so easily cheated on her sisters boyfriend. Especially after she learned that they had had sex. *SPOILER* All in all, I wish that she had taken more control over her own life, although from my own personal experiences, I can relate to how difficult that could be.

This book was definitely a fun read, but I can’t give it the five star rating that I want to give it for the above reasons. Although I can’t say that I agreed and loved the book 100%, I will be reading the sequel as I have to know how Lara ends up!


Quotes

“I do this to feign confidence, because the more I fake it, the more it’s supposed to feel true.”

So, this is me all the time, and it really works! Sort of like the smiling theory that if you force yourself to smile, you’ll become happier.

“It’s scary when it’s real. When it’s not just thinking about a person, but, like having  a real live person in front of you, with , like, expectations. And wants.”

Love is a hard concept to grasp, and I think that often we read or watch stuff about it and think we know what love is. That we have a tangible definition only to find that explanation falling apart when we actually fall in love.

“A hundred years ago eighteen-year-old guys were out there fighting wars with bayonets and holding a man’s life n their hands! They lived a lot of life by the time they were our age. What do kids our age know about love and life”

This was said by Peter, and I just had to agree. Context is such a vital part in creating expectations.


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Have you read any books by Jenny Han? What do you think about the book? Have you ever written any love letters yourself? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife

Books, Novel, Review, Romance

the time travelers wife

:: author:Audrey Niffenegger:: published: 2013 :: my rating: 2/5 :: genre: novel :: romance novel :: speculative fiction :: goodreads

Hello my lovely friends,

It’s been a while since I’ve done my last book review, but then again, I’ve been caught up in a whirlwind called life. As you all know, the last book I was currently reading was The Time Traveler’s Wife. Though I finished it a month ago, I’m shamefully uploading the review now. I have to say, I needed time to mull over the book, and was hoping to actually watch the movie, to maybe see what the craze was about. Well here goes!


Synopsis from goodreads:

Audrey Niffenegger’s dazzling debut is the story of Clare, a beautiful, strong-minded art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: his genetic clock randomly resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous and unpredictable, and lend a spectacular urgency to Clare and Henry’s unconventional love story. That their attempt to live normal lives together is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control makes their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.


My Review (no spoilers):

Honestly, I was expecting a lot more from this book, especially because it is a well known title, and has brought raving reviews from some. The premise of the book is interesting, and I must say that the idea behind the plot is great. A love that surpasses all time? Great, but I felt this book didn’t really develop that idea. I found that this book was hard to get through, not emotionally engaging, and doomed from the start.

Characters

Although this book jumps back and forth in time, the characters voices are the same throughout their entire lives. It seems as if Clare is always scared, always waiting for a man who is never there during her critical moments. Henry is constantly complaining about his predicament, and the author never fails to remind the audience of the hardship this couple endures due to his tendency to appear in a different time period, naked. Although Niffenegger attempts to paint a passionate love story between the two, it was overshadowed by Clare’s constant need for Henry, and their constant attempts to keep his time traveling a secret. Niffenegger’s mode of illustrating the passion between Henry and Clare is through sex, and it is difficult to grasp their intimacy when every tender moment must be through this act.

Furthermore, both the characters have lives that are extremely difficult to relate to, as both are brought up in familial situations that are far from ordinary. The characters were also obsessed with bands and artists, which is fine, but the constant mention of band names and artists was distracting, and seemed like a pathetic attempt for the author to try and show her hipster side.

“I won’t ever leave you, even though you’re always leaving me.”

What angered me the most was Clare, and her willingness to wait, and save herself for a man that is a womanizer and drug addict. I believe that quote in and of itself shows how willing Clare was to throw away her life and wait for the only man she ever had in her life. Because Henry tells her that they will be married some day, she finds herself waiting, and waiting and waiting for a man that ultimately can’t be there for her in the end. I found this draining, and the unrealistic expectation  on her hand was disappointing.

Plot

The characters in this book made it difficult for me to engage in the plot and enjoy the book. Because I was unable to relate, or understand both characters, their actions that made up the plot, often seemed silly and boring. I felt as if lots of needless sub plots were added throughout this book that did not particularly add to the book, but made it treacherously long. Often, the subplots seemed unresolved.

This book had potential, and I believe would have been greatly improved if all the characters were given more chances to develop and grow. The premise of the book was exciting, and I was definitely intrigued, only to find myself repulsed by their love story, and the lack of closure and conflict. The end did semi redeem itself, though I do believe even that could have been executed in a better manner.


 Quotes

Although the book overall, was not to my taste at all, there are some quotes that I did love.

“Don’t you think it’s better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?”

I feel as if every moment in your life should be filled with intense happiness, and that mediocrity is silly. However, to be extremely happy for a short while, and live in fear and sadness for the rest, also does not seem like a healthy alternative.

“Everything seems simple until you think about it.”

Now isn’t that the truth. This quote is short, and a tad humorous, as we tend to overthink and thoughts become convoluted in our brains.


Not a favorite, and will not be reading again soon. This book was incredibly difficult to get through, and I hope to watch the movie just to see what the craze is about. I’d only recommend for those that enjoy slow reads, and reading about borderline abusive relationships.

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What types of romances do you enjoy reading? Is there one you would recommend me? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

What I’m Reading Right Now: 6.22.16

Books, Novel, Romance, What I'm Reading Right Now

Hello my lovely friends!

Today, instead of following my normal routine of posting a “Wordless Wednesday”, I’d like to share with you what I have been reading for the past few days. I recently had a huge book haul (and as soon as the post goes up, I will link it here), and was able to pick up this book that I had been meaning to read for a long time. The Time Traveler’s Wife, has been on my radar for a while, and after finishing up a short, summery novel-which I know, I haven’t posted a review yet-I thought this was a perfect pick to read next.

Synopsis from goodreads:

Audrey Niffenegger’s dazzling debut is the story of Clare, a beautiful, strong-minded art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: his genetic clock randomly resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous and unpredictable, and lend a spectacular urgency to Clare and Henry’s unconventional love story. That their attempt to live normal lives together is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control makes their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

This novel can be seen as treacherously confusing with the constant switching from past to present, Henry’s point of view, to Clare’s. However, so far I have found that it adds dimension to the novel as each character’s development and personality can better be elaborated on. Although I am only in the rising action segment of the novel, and have only reached the point in which the characters are falling deeply in love with each other, the conflict is clearly present. Being a time traveler means that Clare is often lonely, left alone and yearning for a normal relationship.

The reason that I haven’t devoured this novel so quickly, is that it is constantly dragged down by mundane details and the over-detailing of seemingly useless information. Although this could be foreshadowing for upcoming events, I find it difficult to follow the story when there are too many specifics. So far, the topic that has been most touched on is the interfering with destiny, and whether or not fate is real. Questions about God, and identity have also been addressed, and it has been interesting seeing how each character copes with the burdensome knowledge of  something that most would fail to believe. This secret, however, brings both characters closer together as it becomes a bond that may soon destruct itself.

Hopefully this book becomes more engaging as the plot thickens, and I look forward to seeing what sort of love story has drawn so many readers into falling in love with this book!

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