When is the last time you read a good young adult contemporary fiction series? If you would have asked me this a couple of years ago I would have stared at you blankly, wondering how long it had been since I had. As someone who mostly kept up with urban fiction as a young adult, I barely paid attention to the YA genre. But as I have gotten older, my tastes in books have expanded to various genres. And every time I need to find a sweet escape within the pages of a book, I find myself immersed in YA Fiction.
This time around I was whisked away by Lara Jean's story in "To All The Boys I've Loved Before." Lara Jean is a high school junior who would much rather profess her love by writing personal love letters she never sends than doing so in person. And by some strange twist of fate, this practice forced her to face the "true loves" she had written private love letters to eventually. I was so engulfed in her story, I read "To All The Boys" in a couple of days. Thank goodness I had "P.S. I Still Love You" on the bookshelf as well. I devoured it even faster than the first!
This escape by way of beautiful books was right on time for me. As a girly-girl, I'm a sucker for romance. And like many other women who love romance, I find myself reminiscing on high school crushes with rose-colored glasses. Many of us may even write stories about them, embellishing them to picture-perfect versions of themselves, being sure to include all of their best qualities as to display them in their best light. Sometimes we leave the loves we only scribbled about in our journals right there, within the confines of those perforated lines and margins. They are able to exist eternally in our minds as the one(s) that got away. Other times we take the chance to spark something beautiful with said guy. Even if things turn out not so great, we still have the beautiful memories of what was, if we're lucky. And even if we've never explored that crush any further than staring at him in first period and making observations on his tastes based on the clothes he wears, books he checks out in the library, or those off-color jokes you hear him tell his friends on the school bus--- we are left revisiting the memories of "him" in retrospect every chance we get. All of this reminiscing takes place well before social media stalking ever existed, if you will.
Lara Jean took me there. By an interesting coincidence, she explored the love she felt for guys she had only written personal letters about. She explored relationships she would have never embarked on. And I enjoyed exploring all of those feelings with her. The nervousness of wondering if said guy even notices you, let alone feels the same way you do. The anxiety of moving forward with feelings and transforming them to actions. Lara Jean took me on a trip and before I knew it, I was creating lists of recipes to bake in the memo apps on my phone (for kids and hubby of course), and waiting for Peter Kavinsky to text Lara Jean back. Unlike Lara Jean, urgency of text messaging and cell phone calling was lost on me ( I would have to wait until the next school day lol). But all in all I enjoyed reading along.
And all sorts of magical things happened as I read along. I remembered a time when love was sweet and innocent. I started looking at things as they were, without over-analyzing them and looking for ulterior motives. I went into my reading without false pretenses or expectations and just let the dialogue carry me. I didn't worry or panic. I smiled. I was in a good mood. The children wrecked their rooms, didn't do their chores and were reluctant to doing their homework and I didn't scream at them. At all. Lol. This light-hearted high school love story gave me a turn around I was not expecting and it was a welcomed distraction that I so totally needed a few weeks ago. Thank you so much for sharing it with us, Jenny Han. I look forward to reading the third installment (Always and Forever, Lara Jean) come Spring 2017.
Have you read these books yet?
Are you a fan of YA Fiction?
Did you write love letters to your crushes in high school?
Tell me all about it in the comments!