To All the Boys I've Loved Before

by Jenny Han

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Last Updated November 3, 2023.

The Unpredictability of Love

Lara Jean has been longing for a fairytale-like romance for a long time. She clearly has strong feelings and emotions, so much so that she wrote love letters to people with no intention of ever sending them. She is a hopeless romantic and while she hopes for a relationship, she seems to be looking in the wrong places. For example, she previously held strong feelings for Josh even though he was with Margot. She did not act on these feelings, but they were present nonetheless. So, when Lara Jean and Peter hatch a plan to throw off Josh and Genevieve, they have no idea that they will fall for one another. Love is not as straightforward for the two of them: it catches them by surprise. Lara Jean in particular is in disbelief of her attachment to Peter. Though their relationship began as an unusual one, it blossomed into love nonetheless.

Just as romantic love is important in the novel, so is the bond between sisters. Margot, Kitty, and Lara Jean got into their fair share of conflict throughout the story. Margot and Lara Jean got into an argument with each other after Margot found out Lara Jean had feelings for Josh. What is more complex is that Lara Jean stayed away from Josh out of respect for Margot—and when Josh kissed her, she realized she did not have any feelings for him after all. Though Margot was upset, Lara Jean’s love for her sister was the biggest factor in her behavior. In a similar vein, Kitty is the one who sent Lara Jean’s letters in the first place. Though Kitty sent them after her childish crush on Josh was discovered, it sent Lara Jean’s world into a whirlwind. Even though Lara Jean was initially mad at Kitty when she found out, the two made up and let their sisterly bond bring them back together. The sisters’ love for each other certainly ebbed and flow but ultimately held true even in unpredictable times.

Personal Growth and Change

Lara Jean began the novel as someone who was searching for connection but was ultimately too shy to bring it to fruition. She wrote letters but was too afraid to communicate her feelings or take a chance. By the end of the novel, Lara Jean gains the confidence to confess her true feelings to Peter: she tells him she wants to be with him and lets herself be vulnerable to rejection. This is a major change for Lara Jean. The courage she worked up paid off. Peter also experience personal growth and change. At first, he agrees to fake date Lara Jean to make his ex-girlfriend, Genevieve, jealous. By the end of the novel—and through his connection with someone like Lara Jean—Peter realizes his past relationship was not beneficial for him. It created more drama and turmoil than he needed. It is through his relationship with Lara Jean that he was able to find a more stable, nurturing romantic relationship. He got more of what he deserved and less drama.

Deception Can Lead to Resolution

The two major instances of deception in the novel end up creating resolution for the characters involved. The most notable, of course, is the fake relationship that Lara Jean and Peter establish. While their initial purpose is to deceive Genevieve and Josh, they end up finding something much more meaningful than deceit: love. Through their combined swindling, they resolve their relationship troubles and enter into a fulfilling partnership. The second instance of deception is that of Kitty. Kitty sent the love letters even though she knew it would cause trouble for her sister. Lo and behold, it caused a myriad of issues for Lara Jean (especially because Kitty did not confess her decision until the end of the novel). The sisters were able to resolve their conflict and make sense of their choices—all this was for the better.

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