Book Talk: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

8:30:00 PM

I've heard a lot of adults talking about young adult literature lately...and it makes me really excited. As an adult (whaaat?) or at least someone who no longer fits the typical YA demographic, I feel like there’s a stigma surrounding YA literature. That somehow because a story is told from the perspective of a teenager or because it takes place in a high school that it is in some way less important than a story told from the perspective of someone older.

But as anyone who has ever had a bizarrely insightful conversation with a 4 year old can tell you, sometimes talking to someone younger can give you a kind of clarity you would never experience otherwise. The stories told in YA lit are some of my favorites because they are real. Because they remind us of that clarity, of feeling everything so acutely, of the sense that what is happening is the beginning and the end of everything. And that’s why I enjoyed reading To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

In many ways I felt as though pages from this novel had been ripped from my own story, from the sardonic, oh-so-adolescent moments to the feeling you get when you realize the people you chose stopped choosing you back. I’ve felt eclipsed by the people in my life who seem so much better at living it than I do, and I’ve felt incredibly humbled by the realization that someone I thought I knew isn’t who I thought they were at all.

So I guess all this is to say that I’m excited to see adults reading and having conversations about YA lit. People should think twice before ruling out a potential book just because it’s got a YA label. I know it happens. I’ve seen it happen. And it just means that they’re missing out on the book that could remind them of something powerful - something worth remembering.

P.S. I’ve just realized that the sequel to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was recently released, so I’m definitely going to be getting my hands on PS I Still Love You soon. And I also want to shout out one of my favorite creators on YouTube, yulinkuang, who makes incredible tributes to all different kinds of literature, including To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Her video (linked below) was my formal introduction to this book I’d heard so much about, and definitely urged me to add it to my TBR pile. So, ya know, thanks for that. And keep doing what you’re doing.

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