I hope that everyone has been enjoying our current book club selection, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I started reading it a few nights ago and couldn’t put it down! When I announced the book, I asked you to read to the end of Chapter 38 by today, so that we could discuss the first half of the book together. (If you’ve read past Chapter 38, no spoilers, please.) But before I share our discussion questions for the first half of the book, I thought I’d start off by asking the author, Jenny Han, a few questions. I’m so excited to have Jenny participating!
Q&A with Jenny Han:
LC: Were you at all like Lara Jean when you were in high school? How were you different from her?
JH: I was so much like Lara Jean. I had very intense crushes on boys but often preferred the dream of a boy to the reality of an actual relationship. I liked (and still do!) to read, and bake, and hang out with my little sister. As for how we’re different, I would say I was probably more outgoing than her, I liked running around with my friends and getting into a little (but not too much) mischief. I’m also a big sister, so in a lot of ways, I’m like Margot—I like to give advice and be bossy.
LC: What’s a memory from your high school experience that inspired something in this book?
JH: Well, I used to write letters to the boys I loved, but just like Lara Jean, I never sent them. I kept them in a hatbox under my bed. Thank God none of mine were ever sent though!
LC: Have you ever been in a love triangle where you had to decide between two boys like Lara Jean is with Peter and Josh?
JH: I wish! I’ve certainly liked two guys at once, but a triangle it was not.
LC: I loved reading about all of Lara Jean’s vintage outfits and unique sense of fashion. How does fashion play a role in creating your characters? How would you describe your own sense of fashion?
JH: I think fashion is so personal and so aspirational—it’s the self you want to present to others. Especially as a teenager, when so few things are in your control, your personal style is where you get to make a statement and say, “This is who I am, this is who I want to be.” I spent so much time thinking about what Lara Jean would wear, to school or at home, what she would collect just to keep and admire but not actually wear in the world. I imagined Lara Jean looking at Japanese fashion blogs and going to thrift stores.
I would say my own sense of fashion is pretty aspirational too. I work from home, so it’s not like I need a ton of fancy clothes—but then I go shopping and all I want to buy are cocktail dresses. I’ve got a tab of Net-A-Porter open on my computer all day long. My weaknesses are ’90s style baby doll dresses, designer sweatshirts, floral anything, and Isabel Marant boots. I also love mod shifts, sundresses, and pastels—basically resort wear!
LC: Your characters are so relatable and well rounded. What comes to you first when you’re writing, the characters or the plot?
JH: I think it lies somewhere in the middle. I see a situation, not a plot exactly, more like a person in a situation. And then it’s like, who is this person and what happens next? I don’t write in order, so I just see where it goes. Sometimes it takes me the whole book to figure out what it was about and where everything goes. I think of it like making a quilt. I get all the pieces together and then cut and sew each piece when I get it in the right place.
Thank you to Jenny! And now for our discussion…
- What was your first impression of Peter? Has your first impression changed at all during the first half of the book?
- Lara Jean uses love letters as a way to get over boys. Have you ever used writing as a way to sort through your emotions?
- Do you think Lara Jean should have confessed her feelings for Josh to Margot? Or was she right to keep her feelings to herself?
- Who do you think sent out Lara Jean’s love letters?
- Are you Team Josh or Team Peter?
Here are my answers:
- My first impression of Peter was that he was like a lot of boys I knew in high school… arrogant and a little bit immature. But as Lara Jean gets to know Peter better, you can see that he’s not the one-dimensional jock she thought he was. He’s sensitive, he’s charismatic, he’s great with Kitty, and you can tell he actually cares about Lara Jean too. Let’s just say that Peter is definitely growing on me.
- I use writing as a creative outlet every single day. Some of my blog posts on LaurenConrad.com are great emotional outlets for me too (my Ask Lauren posts for example).
- It was one thing for Lara Jean to keep her feelings about Josh to herself when he and Margot first started dating. Lara Jean loves Margot more than anything, and just wanted her to be happy. But once the love letters got out, Lara Jean probably should have been honest with Margot. Her secret is no longer safe, and better that Margot hears it from her than someone else.
- I don’t buy the Goodwill story. I know it sounds crazy, but a part of me thinks Margot did it! Maybe Margot read the letters, felt betrayed, and then sent them out to get back at Lara Jean for not being honest with her. Maybe that’s the real reason Margot broke up with Josh too. But I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…
- This is a really tough one. At the beginning, I was Team Josh all the way. But Peter has a sensitive side and I love that Lara Jean feels so at ease with his friends too. I can see them ending up together and Margot getting back together with Josh. That would be a happy ending for everyone.
Now it’s your turn! What are your answers to the questions above?
Leave your responses in the comments, and finish reading the book by Wednesday, February 25th, which is when my live book club chat will take place. I’ll remind you before then on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Can’t wait!
P.S. If you haven’t started reading yet, it’s not too late to catch up before our final live chat. The e-book is only $1.99 during the whole month of February as a special promotion for our book club.
This month’s book club is brought to you by…