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To All the Boys I've Loved Before is a 2014 young adult romance novel by American author Jenny Han, first published by Simon & Schuster and released on April 15, 2014. Han was inspired to write the book based on her own habit of writing long letters to boys she had crushes on as a teenager. The novel was followed by two sequels, P.S. I Still Love You, released on May 26, 2015, and Always and Forever, Lara Jean, released on May 2, 2017.
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them... all at once?
Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren't love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she's written. One for every boy she's ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control.
Lara Jean Song Covey is a sixteen-year-old half-Korean, half-white girl living in Virginia. She is extremely close to her older sister Margot and younger sister Kitty. Lara Jean keeps love letters to all the boys she has ever loved in a teal hatbox given to her by her late mother who died by a head injury when Lara Jean was just 9. Just before Margot leaves for university in Scotland, she breaks up with her boyfriend Josh Sanderson, who is also their next-door neighbor and Lara Jean's friend.
Lara Jean, who once had a crush on Josh, finds her feelings for him coming back after Margot leaves for school, and Josh admits during a conversation about crushes that his first serious crush was on Lara Jean. To cope with her feelings, Lara Jean writes a long postscript for the letter she wrote when she was fourteen after Josh asked Margot out instead of her.
Peter Kavinsky, one of the guys Lara Jean wrote a letter to, approaches her and tells her he does not have any sort of attraction to her. Lara Jean is confused but realizes that he is referring to a letter she wrote him years ago after he received it in the mail. Horrified, she tells him she wrote it a long time ago. Lara Jean recounts what prompted her to write the letter: when she was in seventh grade, she and Peter were with a group of mutual friends when Peter kissed her.
Lara Jean cannot find her hatbox at home. That night, she hears Josh come over and hides in a treehouse she used to spend a lot of time as a kid. The next morning at school, Josh asks her about the letter to him. She lies and says she no longer has feelings for him and that she is dating someone else. When he asks who it is, she says Peter as he's the first person she thinks of while he walks down the hallway. Lara Jean spontaneously jumps onto Peter and kisses him in front of Josh, and Peter kisses her back. At school, Lara Jean explains her situation to Peter, who decides to go along with the lie, as he has just broken up with his long-term girlfriend Genevieve, who is also Lara Jean's enemy, and wants a clean break.
Lara Jean and Peter set up a list of ground-rules on how to act around each other. The more time they spend together, the more confused Lara Jean gets about her feelings. As Lara Jean and Peter begin to genuinely fall for each other, Josh becomes jealous of Peter, and when Lara Jean confronts him about it, he kisses her and tells her he wants to be with her, which makes Lara Jean realize that she no longer likes Josh and that she wants to date Peter for real.
On a school ski trip, Peter tells Lara Jean he does want to date her and they kiss in a hot tub. The following day, Genevieve tells her that there is a rumor that the two had sex in the hot tub, and Peter did not deny it. Humiliated, Lara Jean avoids Peter during Christmas break. Kitty invites him over to the Covey's recital party, which they had every year before their mother died. When Peter tries to talk to Lara Jean, Josh steps in to try and protect her, and Margot ends up hearing about how Josh and Lara Jean kissed.
Margot and Lara Jean eventually reconcile, but Lara Jean remains angry at Peter until Kitty admits that she stole her sister's hatbox and mailed the letters to try and get back at Lara Jean for almost revealing Kitty's crush on Josh. Lara Jean forgives Kitty. Kitty tells Lara Jean that Peter really cares for her and returns the hatbox that is now filled with notes that Peter gave Lara Jean while they were fake-dating. Reading them over, Lara Jean has a change of heart and takes out her pen and paper to write a real love letter to Peter.
- Lara Jean Covey - A high school student, who has a crush on her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh Sanderson. When all the love letters she's ever written are mysteriously sent out, she starts fake dating Peter Kavinsky to keep Josh away from her.
- Peter Kavinsky - A popular lacrosse player who just broke up with his long-time girlfriend, Genevieve. When he receives one of Lara Jean's letters, he agrees to fake date her to make Genevieve jealous.
- Margot Covey - Lara Jean's older sister. Before going to study abroad in Scotland, she breaks up with her boyfriend, Josh.
- Kitty Covey - Lara Jean's little sister, who loves to meddle in other people's love lives. She is also an avid dog fan.
- Josh Sanderson - Margot's ex-boyfriend, who also received one of Lara Jean's letters.
- Genevieve - Peter's ex-girlfriend. After breaking up with Peter, she constantly meddles in Lara Jean and Peter's relationship.
- Chris - Lara Jean's best friend and Genevieve's cousin.
- Daniel Covey - Lara Jean's, Margot's and Kitty's father, who works as a doctor.
- John Ambrose McClaren - Lara Jean's childhood friend and a recipient of a letter. He attended Model UN with Lara Jean.
- Lucas Krapf - One of the recipients of Lara Jean's letters. While he is flattered to receive one, he ultimately rejects Lara Jean because he is homosexual. They then end up becoming friends.
- Trina Rothschild - The Covey family's neighbor. Kitty regularly hangs out with her to play with her dog.
- Mrs. Kavinsky - Peter's mother.
- Owen Kavinsky - Peter's brother.
- Emily Nussbaum - Genevieve's friend.
- Eve Song - Lara Jean, Margot, and Kitty's mother, who died from a fatal concussion when they were young.
- Kenny - A boy Lara Jean went to summer camp with and one of the recipients of the letters.
- Mr. Kavinsky - Peter's father.
- Allie Feldman - Lara Jean's childhood friend, who eventually moved away.
- Trevor Pike - Lara Jean's childhood friend.
- Jamila Singh - Peter's ex-girlfriend.
The novel spent 40 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list in the Young Adult fiction section. It has been published in 30 languages.
Awards and nominationsEdit
In 2014, To All the Boys I've Loved Before was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards in the category "Best Young Adult Fiction", accumulating a total of 14,638 votes, but was ultimately surpassed by We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. In 2016, the novel was also nominated for the Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards but lost to Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta., and in 2018, it was nominated for the Lincoln Award.
In June 2014, it was reported that Overbrook Entertainment, actor Will Smith's production company, had secured the film rights to the novel, with Annie Neal hired to adapt the book for the screen. Smith and Overbrook's James Lassiter produced. Carrie Pilby director Susan Johnson directed the film, from a screenplay by Sofia Alvarez, with Lana Condor, Janel Parrish, Anna Cathcart, Noah Centineo, Israel Broussard, and John Corbett starring. Production began in Vancouver in July 2017, and the film was released by Netflix on August 17, 2018. The film received positive reviews.