To All the Boys I've Loved Before

by Jenny Han

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How does Lara Jean develop in To All the Boys I've Loved Before?

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Lara Jean has changed in many ways throughout the novel. When she is faced with difficult situations and challenges, she can show courage and stand up for herself. She does this by being confident to talk about her true feelings, confiding in others, confronting people who hurt her and most importantly by trying to take a leap of faith in love.

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Throughout the story, Lara Jean faces numerous awkward situations that help her open up to people and develop emotionally.

The story is introduced with Lara Jean's secret crush, her sister Margot's boyfriend, Josh. They've been friends ever since he moved next door, and Lara Jean has been hiding her secret...

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admiration for him so she won't offend Margot. Here, we can already notice a slight reservation Lara Jean has when it comes to being true to her emotions. Her reluctance to be up-front with people is quickly recognized as a pattern, as she decides to write Josh a love letter but never mails it to him. She does this in order to express her feelings while at the same time avoiding having to confront Margot and Josh. She's always done this whenever she likes someone; she keeps crushes a secret from everyone. Clearly, Lara Jean is not comfortable talking about her emotions or confiding in people close to her.

Once conflict arises between Margot and Josh, Lara Jean is conflicted herself. Despite feeling bad for her sister, she seems excited about the possibility of Josh being single again. However, he feels odd about immediately going back to how things were and keeps away from Lara Jean for a while before hanging out with her again.

Lara Jean is faced with difficulty once her younger sister Kitty sends out the letters she had written about the boys she's liked in the previous years. Although some of them return the letters to sender, Josh and Peter specifically want to talk to her. Lara Jean panics, trying to avoid any sort of confrontation. And due to the recent fallout between her sister and Josh, she goes out of her way to avoid talking to him. Despite being extremely shy and reserved, she ends up kissing Peter to make sure Josh won't think she is interested. She does this out of fear of Margot finding out about her years-long crush. On one hand, she is still avoiding having an honest conversation with people she cares about. On the other hand, by kissing Peter, Lara Jean steps out of her comfort zone.

Despite trying to steer clear of Peter, they end up talking, and even discuss fake dating. Even though at first Lara Jean sets strict rules and boundaries, she ends up letting go and enjoying the ride. Although at first barely noticeable, her emotional development is more and more clear. She begins trusting Peter with private parts of her life, such as memories of her mom passing away when she was just a child. She explains how it greatly affected her development at a crucial time in her life and created trust issues. In return, she gets to know about Peter and his own family, realizing that being with someone (whether as friends or as partners) takes trust and effort. This is something she severely lacked in her previous relationships, even in those with her family members. By being able to talk about their private lives, Lara Jean and Peter grow closer.

Once the two bond even more on a school ski trip, Lara Jean finally feels like she has someone to trust. However, all of the walls she's let down she suddenly builds back up when Genevieve confronts her, clearly showing off a scrunchie she took from Peter that Lara Jean trusted him with. Thinking he's taken advantage of her and betrayed her, she loses all the trust she had in him, feeling alone once more.

In the climax of things, Margot returns from a trip to Scotland and finds out about Lara Jean's (now nonexistent) crush on Josh. Because Margot is the closest thing to a mother Lara Jean has, she feels devastated. To make matters worse, a video of her and Peter making out in a hot tub has surfaced. She asks Margot for help, and seeing how her sister is prepared to get her out of trouble even at a time like this, she decides to talk things out with her. All of the events that have happened up until now have made Lara Jean grow emotionally. She now begins trusting people, knowing Margot is someone she can always depend on.

Before making the biggest step of her life and confessing her feelings to Peter, Lara Jean decides to have one last talk with her dad. Although they rarely talk about her mother to avoid bringing up pent-up emotions, they both decide it is time to be honest with each other. In this way, it is not only Lara Jean that grows emotionally, but also her father. They both let down walls they've been holding up and finally have a heart-to-heart conversation.

The story ends with Lara Jean making amends with everyone—she even talks some things out with Genevieve. She is now finally emotionally mature enough to be honest with Peter. Knowing it's going go take all of her courage and trust, she decides to give their relationship a chance. Her taking a leap of faith is proof that she's now matured and grown emotionally.

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