63 pages 2 hours read

Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Fiction | Novel | YA

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Summary and Study Guide


To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han is the first in a series of three novels; P.S. I Still Love You was published in 2015 and Always and Forever, Lara Jean in 2017. A movie adaptation of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was released on Netflix in 2018 and instantly became one of Netflix’s most-watched movies. Simon Schuster first published To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in 2014.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has a narrative structure and themes characteristic of the Young Adult genre. The story is told from protagonist Lara Jean’s first-person point of view, giving the reader full access to her thoughts and feelings. Jenny Han captures the voice and language of a smart, shy, lonely teenage girl with an optimistic outlook. The novel is a romance story, a coming-of-age story, and an exploration of the bonds that connect sisters. The chapters are short and mimic the urgency of Lara Jean’s rapidly developing problems, a structure that allows the reader to experience the tension, conflict, and ultimate joy Lara Jean goes through.

Plot Summary

Lara Jean Covey is a half-Korean 16-year-old girl who lives with her father and two sisters in Virginia. The girls’ mother died five years prior, and the oldest sister, Margot, usually runs the household, but is on the cusp of leaving for college in Scotland. When Kitty, Lara Jean’s little sister, mails Lara Jean’s unsent love notes to crushes from her past, Lara Jean has to navigate a whole host of complicated social problems while trying to fill Margot’s shoes.

One note goes to Josh Sanderson, Margot’s ex-boyfriend. Lara Jean is determined not to address her crush on Josh, as she doesn’t want to betray her sister’s trust. Another note goes to Peter Kavinsky, a popular, athletic boy whose conniving girlfriend has recently broken up with him. Planning to put off Josh and confirm to Peter’s ex, Genevieve, that things are over between them, Peter and Lara Jean embark on a mutual, fake relationship. The pair grow unexpectedly close, and Peter confesses to Lara Jean that he’s falling for her. The couple sneaks out on a school ski trip and kiss in a hot tub—an event that Genevieve witnesses and uses to destroy Lara Jean’s “good girl” reputation, claiming Peter and Lara Jean had sex.

When Margot returns for winter break, she overhears that Josh tried to kiss Lara Jean and believes the rumors that Lara Jean had sex with Peter in the hot tub. She’s angry with her sister, but the two make up after Lara Jean explains herself. 

Meanwhile, Lara Jean has been angry with Peter for not refuting the hot tub rumors, and he hasn’t been communicating with her. The novel ends as Lara Jean pens another note to Peter—one that she actually intends to send.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a Young Adult romance novel that brings the reader through a young woman’s journey into finding herself and manifesting a life that allows her to love and be loved. Lara Jean’s journey emphasizes the importance of family, sisterhood, trust, and of being true to yourself.