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Literature / To All the Boys I've Loved Before

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What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them … all at once?

To All The Boys I've Loved Before is a young adult romance trilogy written by Jenny Han, first published in 2014. The novel is followed by two sequels, P.S. I Still Love You (2015) and Always And Forever, Lara Jean (2017).

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.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before was released on Netflix in August 2018, directed by Susan Johnson, and starring Lana Condor (Lara Jean) and Noah Centineo (Peter).


This series contains examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: The postscript Lara Jean started writing for Josh's letter. She puts it aside thinking she would have more to add to it later, but she never does.
  • Adorkable: Lara Jean. Peter even calls her quirky a few times.
  • Alpha Bitch: Genevieve
  • Ambiguous Situation: It's unknown if Chris knows the full extent of what's been going on with Gen's parents in the sequel. Her body language suggests she at least suspects something big happened.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: The Song sisters fit into this dynamic.
    • Margot - Brains, the oldest and smartest of the sisters, doubles as the responsible Team Mom
    • Lara Jean - Beauty, referred to by Kitty as the prettiest of the sisters and has quite a few admirers
    • Kitty - Brawn, the boisterous and sometimes rebellious youngest sister
  • Beta Bitch: Emily Nussbaum is implied to be this to Genevieve’s Alpha Bitch.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • First book: Lara Jean as the shy, innocent Betty and Gen as the popular, gorgeous Veronica to Peter’s Archie. Also Josh as the childhood friend Betty and Peter as the popular jock Veronica to Lara Jean’s Archie.
    • Second Book: The reality of Peter’s Betty and the dream of John Ambrose’s Veronica to Lara Jean’s Archie.
  • Book-Ends: In the first book, Peter and Lara Jean writes a contract to set up ground rules for their fake-dating. In the last book, Peter writes an amended contract when the two of them decide to go to different universities.
  • Bros Before Hoes: "Sisters Before Misters." The first book is largely driven by Lara Jean crushing on her sister's ex-boyfriend and trying to avoid a discussion when he gets her letter.
    • Downplayed in Kitty's case. She has a crush on Josh, but she's also at an age where crushes are fickle. Though for what it's worth she is on Lara Jean's side during her and Peter's argument in the second book.
  • Camp Gay: Downplayed. Lucas does have some of this going on, but he's not overtly flamboyant. Not enough for Lara Jean to catch on anyway.
  • Can't Spit It Out: Lara Jean is suspicious that Peter has been spending time with his ex Genevieve in the second book and every time she asks, Peter is unable to tell her why, leading her to be more suspicious and hurt. Genevieve's father has been having an affair with a younger woman.
  • Captain Obvious: Margot's nickname is 'Go-Go' like go-go boots. You don't say, Lara Jean.
  • Clashing Cousins: Gen and Chris
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Genevieve. It’s revealed that when she and Peter briefly broke up before and he started dating Jamila Singh, Gen told everyone that Jamila’s family had a slave and sent an anonymous email to Jamila’s parents that she was having sex. She also posted the hot tub video of Lara Jean and Peter our of spite.
    • Lara Jean shows some shades of this herself in the second book when she constantly compares herself to Gen in regards to Peter.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Averted. While Lara Jean and her sisters have fond memories of their mother, they are also very fond of their living father who did his best to raise all three girls.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: It’s revealed that Gen and Lara Jean stopped being friends all because Peter kissed Lara Jean in seventh grade. Gen goes to great lengths to keep Lara Jean and Peter apart just so she could rub it in that Peter picked her first.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: John Ambrose. When Lara Jean mentions to Lucas that she used to have a crush on John, he says that he did too.
  • First Girl Wins: Subverted. While Gen liked Peter first and they end up dating in high school, he ultimately ends up with Lara Jean.
    • Gender inverted in the second book. While Lara Jean becomes attracted to John Ambrose, she winds up choosing Peter over him because she loved Peter first.
  • Foreshadowing: During the family's Christmas party in the first book, Lara Jean casually mentions that Mrs. Rothschild has her dad "cornered on the couch" while drinking champagne, to his surprise. This foreshadows that they start dating and eventually get married in the last book.
  • Former Friend of Alpha Bitch: Lara Jean and Genevieve used to be best friends up until middle school ended.
  • A Friend in Need: Genevieve becomes this to Peter in the second book and relies on him for emotional support when her dad is cheating on her mom
  • High-School Sweethearts: Played with. In the last book, Lara Jean and Peter graduate high school. And they're going to different colleges that are about three hours apart. They're going to try and make it work and see where the relationship goes, but Lara Jean is confident.
    • Lara Jean spends the first book convinced Margot and Josh are ultimately going to become this. They don't.
  • Hypocrite: When she hears about Lara Jean and Peter having sex in the hot tub (really it was just a kiss) Margot rants to Lara Jean about her becoming another teenaged statistic. However, Margot herself had sex with Josh before she left for college. Lara Jean calls her out on this.
  • The Ingenue: Lara Jean. She’s a hopeless romantic known for being In Love with Love and having daydreams about the future in addition to being sheltered from topics like sex.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: John Ambrose McClaren, after realizing that Lara Jean still has feelings for Peter, decides to step down.
  • In Love with Love: Margot outright says this about Lara Jean. She realizes Margot's probably right.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: Lara Jean's letters were never meant to be sent, yet she addressed them anyway making it easy for the recipients to receive when Kitty mails them out of revenge. Meaning the conflicts in this book were easily avoidable. The movie actually points this out, but it never comes up in the books.
  • Love Dodecahedron
  • Long-Distance Relationship:
    • Averted with Margot and Josh. Margot specifically broke up with him to avoid this.
    • Played straight with Lara Jean and Peter. It's more or less agreed upon that they'll give it a shot, and they're only about three hours apart.
  • Love Triangle: Several
    • In the first book, Lara Jean has Peter and Josh as love interests. Peter has Genevieve and Lara Jean.
    • In the second book, John Ambrose and Peter for Lara Jean
  • Loving a Shadow: Discussed. In the heat of an argument, Peter accuses Lara Jean of only being interested in boys that are out of her reach. That way she gets to keep her idealized version of each of them without having to compromise in an actual relationship. Consider Lara Jean has written letters for her sisters ex-boyfriend, a gay guy, a popular jock, a boy from camp she would likely never see again, and one who ended up moving, on top of her tendency to Think Like a Romance Novel, Peter might have a point.
  • Opposites Attract: The wild and rebellious Chris who Really Gets Around is friends with the sheltered and naive Lara Jean.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Lara Jean's father was dating and later married Ms. Rothschild. Each Song girl has a different reaction. While Kitty was ecstatic and Lara Jean is simply happy her father has found someone, Margot is more aloof to Ms. Rothschild.
  • Passed in Their Sleep: How Stormy dies.
    • Possibly how Eve, the girls' mother, died. She laid down to rest after she hit her head and didn't wake up. The narration doesn't make it clear if she was gone by the time Margot called 911 or not.
  • Pen Pals: Lara Jean and John Ambrose were originally this until John comes over after being invited to the time capsule party.
  • Pretty Boy. John Ambrose. He is said to be tall and handsome while not too muscular. Kitty even explicitly calls him one while talking to Lara Jean.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Chris's wild and rebellious nature makes her the Red Oni to the Blue Oni Lara Jean’s shyer and quiet personality.
    • Lara Jean's idealism and passion makes her the Red Oni to her Blue Oni sister Margot’s level-headed and pragmatism.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Kitty ships Lara Jean and Peter.
      • She also subtly and not-so-subtly tried to get her father and Ms. Rothschild together.
    • Stormy ships Lara Jean with her grandson, John Ambrose McClaren.
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel: Lara Jean is particularly guilty of this.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Peter in the second book when he asks for his necklace back after he and Lara Jean break up.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Lara Jean and Genevieve. Lara Jean even mentions the Korean word jung of when love turns to hate, the old feelings still remain. Even after all Gen has done to her, she still can’t conpletely hate Gen.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Even though the whole family loves him to a degree, Josh disappears from the third book. Somewhat justified as he's a year older than Lara Jean and graduated before the book starts. But it's still jarring that he barely shows up, especially when John makes one last appearance in the final book after Stormy's death.
  • Your Cheating Heart: It’s revealed that Gen’s father has been cheating on her mother with a much younger woman

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