Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Things my teenage cousin likes:

  • reading (her favorite book is The Catcher in the Rye)
  • flitting from crush to crush, with 100% sincerity every time
  • scarily accurate sarcasm

So it would seem natural that I get this intelligent, kind young woman To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han for her Sweet 16. Like my cousin, protagonist Lara Jean is hapa (that is, half-Asian and half-white). Lara Jean is levelheaded and a bit of a hopeless romantic: She’s written a love letter for every boy she’s ever loved since middle school and keeps them hidden in a hatbox under her bed.

Lara Jean narrates:

They’re not love letters in the strictest sense of the word. My letters are for when I don’t want to be in love anymore. They’re for good-bye.

…at least, they’re supposed to be for good-bye. Then one morning, the unthinkable happens: At the beginning of Lara Jean’s junior year of high school, all of the letters are mysteriously sent. And Lara Jean scrambles to deal with the consequences… which actually turn out to be about a lot more than just boys and love.

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Led by an earnest, astute biracial female protagonist, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is sweet without being saccharine. It’s a story that delights beyond the run-of-the-mill rom-com – moreover, it’s a perfect encapsulation of what I think “diverse YA lit” can aspire to.

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Dumbledore’s Army Read-a-Thon Reading List!

Have you heard of the Dumbledore’s Army Readathon? The inventive brainchild of Aentee over at Read at Midnight, it’s a great challenge to get book bloggers to read and share diverse, #ownvoices books. Below, I’ll also be sharing my little fleet of books and what makes them magical to me!

I adore this idea, not only because it provides great structure to spread the word about diverse stories, but because Dumbledore’s Army and resistance have basically characterized my mood for this last, dreary chunk of 2016.

And of course, I will be representing the house of my soul, Hufflepuff. Thanks to Aentee for this lovely graphic!

 

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Since I try to keep my blog reviews to YA and the first-gen/immigrant experience, I will only be formally reviewing some of the books here on Intrepid. I’m sure that reflections and recommendations on Twitter, however, will be plentiful 🙂

So here’s to kicking off 2017 with an open heart and open books!

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Reflection: Homecoming and Reading Diversely

Hi again! After a long hiatus finishing final exams and rushing to rustle together Christmas presents, it is wonderful to be back. (At peace. At a desk. With tea, cookies, and precious time to write and think about books.)

Now that the holiday scramble has subsided, I’ve had some time to think about my reading diverse books in my hometown. Or more specifically, what reading diverse books means to me in the small, majority white, politically conservative enclave where I grew up.

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