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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 Covey 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.

All three books have been adapted to screen by Netflix, starring Lana Condor as Lara Jean and Noah Centineo as Peter Kavinsky. The first film, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, was released in August 2018. The second film, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, was released in February 2020. The third film, To All the Boys: Always and Forever, was released in February 2021. The first was directed by Susan Johnson while the rest were directed by Michael Fimognari. Netflix is also developing a spin-off series focusing on Lara Jean's younger sister, Katherine "Kitty" Song Covey (played by Anna Cathcart). Han will co-write the pilot and serve as executive producer.


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 gets back to it.
  • Alpha Bitch: Genevieve.
  • Amicable Exes: In P.S. I Still Love You, it is revealed that Gen's closeness with Peter after their breakup is not to get him back again, but to share their experiences of being the product of a broken home.
  • 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.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love:
    • Peter delivers one to Lara Jean during the ski trip, which turns into an argument when she brings Gen into the equation (as Lara Jean has always been a little envious of what Peter had with her). After she comes to the realization that the feelings are mutual, Lara Jean delivers one to Peter in return.
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    • In the climax of the second book, Peter gives an indirect but still a heartfelt one to Lara Jean after their breakup. When she is about to leave with John Ambrose, he comes up to them and gives back his Valentine Day's gift, a necklace, to her, telling her to wear it "when they get back together". She tries to reject him but he soldiers on, asking her not to break his heart. She ends up accepting the necklace back and reconciling with him.
  • 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.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Lara Jean and Peter decide to attend different universities that are more than three hours away from each other, but resolve to keep their relationship.
  • Bookends: In the first book, Peter and Lara Jean write 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.
  • Cool Loser: Lara Jean, before she dates Peter. She is used to being alone, but has good grades, is a Supreme Chef, and has been described by a few characters to be pretty in a cute/quirky way. The one friend she regularly hangs out with is Chris, who has a reputation in the school as a bad girl and an Übermensch. Let's not forget that during middle school, she was friends with Peter, Genevieve, and Trevor, all of whom became the cool kids of high school.
  • 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. (Although to be fair, Lucas is gay.)
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: The very feminine Lara Jean's hobby is baking and experimenting with cookies.
  • First Girl After All: The third book reveals that Lara Jean is this for Peter. While Genevieve was Peter's first serious relationship, Lara Jean was the first girl that caught his attention and the kiss that they had during seventh grade was not entirely impulsive.
  • 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.
  • First Kiss:
    • Lara Jean's first kiss was with Peter during seventh grade. As it turns out, it was his first kiss, as well, as revealed in Always and Forever, Lara Jean.
    • In P.S. I Still Love You, John Ambrose admits that his kiss with Lara Jean during the game of spin the bottle was his first one.
  • 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 supposedly having sex in a hot tub (it was actually just a kiss) Margot rants to Lara Jean about her becoming another teenaged statistic. However, Margot herself had sex with Josh during her time at high school (at Lara Jean's age). 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.
  • In Love with Love: Margot outright says this about Lara Jean. She realizes Margot's probably right.
  • In-Series Nickname:
    • Everyone calls Katherine "Kitty", a nickname Lara Jean gave to her when she was a baby.
    • Christine and Genevieve are usually called Chris and Gen, respectively.
  • Ironic Name: Kitty is a dog person and has stated a few times that she doesn't like cats, which is ironic given her nickname.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: John Ambrose McClaren, after realizing that Lara Jean still has feelings for Peter, decides to step down.
  • 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, with Lara Jean feebly trying to say she "didn't put a post stamp on them", but it never comes up in the books.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Lara Jean developed a crush on Josh while he was dating Margot and tries to avoid him by striking a fake relationship with Peter, who wants to do an Operation: Jealousy to make Gen envious. But the two start nurturing real feelings for each other, only for Josh to confess that he is falling for Lara Jean, which she feels guilty about because this means she is betraying Margot.
  • Long-Distance Relationship:
    • Averted with Margot and Josh. Margot specifically broke up with him to avoid this.
    • In the third book, John Ambrose has a girlfriend named Dipti, who will attend the University of Michigan while he will go to William & Mary College. The two colleges are three states and more than ten hours apart.
    • 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-Obstructing Parents: Peter's mother is a downplayed example. She is amicable to Lara Jean, but frequently drops hints (which Lara Jean catches right away) that she does not entirely approve her relationship with her son, especially after they break up for the first time. In the third book, this disapproval turns subtext to outright text, when she basically urges Lara Jean to break up with Peter so he will not be inclined to transfer from UVA to UNC and sacrifice his future. There is no mention whether she changes her mind after the two decide to do long distance relationship.
  • 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 sister's ex-boyfriend, a gay guy, a popular jock, a boy from camp she would likely never see again, and one who ended up moving away, on top of her tendency to Think Like a Romance Novel. Peter might have a point.
  • Meet Cute: Discussed in Always and Forever, Lara Jean. After watching William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, Lara Jean and Peter talk about how couples in movies usually have a meet cute. The former laments that she doesn't remember how she first met Peter, as they have known each other since elementary school. In the epilogue, Peter says that he perfectly remembers how they first met and proceeds to tell Lara Jean.
  • 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 make her the Red Oni to her Blue Oni sister Margot’s level-headed and pragmatism.
  • Second Love:
    • Lara Jean and Peter are this to each other. Lara Jean's first crush is Kenny from the summer camp, while Peter previously dated Genevieve.
    • After his messy breakup with Margot, Josh is mentioned having a new girlfriend named Liza Booker in P.S. I Still Love You.
    • In the third book, Margot is dating Ravi, a guy two years older whom she met while studying at Dundee.
    • John Ambrose's first love is Lara Jean, but she turns him down. In Always and Forever, Lara Jean, he is dating Dipti, a fellow participant in the Model UN.
  • 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 great-grandson, John Ambrose McClaren.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Margot, after having spent years studying at Scotland. Her relationship with her family is still good, but not as close as before, and she reacts badly when her father starts dating Ms. Rothschild behind her back. Lara Jean describes Margot feeling left out from all the things happening back home and wonders if she will suffer the same feeling when she leaves for college.
  • 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.

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