To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

When someone’s been gone a long time, at first you save up all the things you want to tell them. You try to keep track of everything in your head. But it’s like trying to hold on to a fistful of sand: all the little bits slip out of your hands, and then you’re just clutching air and grit. That’s why you can’t save it all up like that. Because by the time you finally see each other, you’re catching up only on the big things, because it’s too much bother to tell about the little things. But the little things are what make up life.


The Song sisters are apart for the first time as Margot leaves for college. Perfect timing to have your trio one man short when the letters you've written to your past crushes have all of a sudden been mailed. You can bet that a lot goes down. Lara Jean needs a sister more than ever, and yet when Margot comes back for break, Lara Jean finds that there are some things she can't tell her.

I'm horrible at keeping in touch, but that doesn't mean that I've forgotten about you. In fact, I'm wondering what you've been up to. Let's catch up over coffee. Tell me everything, all the big moments, all the small moments. And yet, when you ask me the same thing, my mind draws a blank, and there's a weird pause in our conversation that we've never had before. Do I want to tell you about that one time when... Nah, that was stupid. Or what about... Nah, it's not really relevant anymore.

Related: Beijing, summer of 2015

My family and I, we aren't big talkers. Mom is always saying how we need to get into the habit of sitting together at dinner and talk. Typically we just grab dinner whenever it's ready and/or whenever we get home, whatever comes first, and eat while working, or in my case, while catching up on TV shows. When we eat out together, everyone's either on their phone or reading a book. So imagine my surprise when we were all reunited this winter break and Ken asked me, "So what interesting stories do you have from college?" He'd been telling me all these stories from high school even though I don't remember anything happening when I was in high school, so where was he getting all these stories?

There's always something happening. It's just a matter of what we care to pay attention to, what we care to hold onto. We live life through our memories. Even what I did just one second ago is now just a memory. There are too many of these memories to catch, and it's so easy to let them fall through.

Which is why I like Snapchat (yeah this whole post was just so I could give Snapchat a little plug. lol jk) (add me @auderoylin? ;)). It's the stuff so dumb I would never take a picture of it to post on Instagram. It's the little things that, if you were right next to me, I'd tug on your sleeve, point at, make a dumb comment about, and never mention again. It's all the "you had to be there" moments. Ten seconds upon ten seconds making my Story, accumulating into the anthology of my life.


When I write, I hold nothing back. I write like he’ll never read it. Because he never will.

Anyone looking at her would think she was fine. Because Margot is always fine, even when she’s not.

She told me to try not to go to college with a boyfriend. She said she didn’t want me to be the girl crying on the phone with her boyfriend and saying no to things instead of yes.

Sometimes it feels like I’ll never be done.

Ugh, emotions.

This is our life; there’s no use in asking what if. No one could ever give you the answers.

I suppose in matters of the heart, there’s no predicting how a person will or won’t behave.

We’re as different as different can be.

But the important thing, the real thing, is Chris and I understand each other, which I think counts for a lot more than people realize.

Chris is pure emotion. She screams at the drop of a hat. She says sometimes you have to scream out emotions; if you don’t, they’ll fester.

I wish I’d been in love more than once.

What must it be like, to have a boy like you so much he cries for you?

I’d hoped I wouldn’t cry, because I knew Margot wouldn’t, and it’s lonely to cry alone, but I can’t help it.

I do this to feign confidence, because the more I fake it, the more it’s supposed to feel true.

It’s funny how much of childhood is about proximity.

I wonder what it’s like to have that much power over a boy. I don’t think I’d want it; it’s a lot of responsibility to hold a person’s heart in your hands.

I hate when people do that—when you ask them to keep something a secret and instead of saying yes or no, they say, "Who would I tell?" Just say yes or no and mean it. Don’t make it conditional.

If you were mine, I would never have broken up with you, not in a million years.

But even if I had known, what could I have done differently?

He was hers first, which means he’s hers always.

Firsts are best because they are beginnings.

Plenty of people are good-looking. That doesn’t make them interesting or intriguing or cool.

Because that’s your talent, right? You’re good at making people feel special.

Do you know what it’s like to like someone so much you can’t stand it and know that they’ll never feel the same way?

I just let people believe what they please. I don’t feel like it’s my responsibility to quantify myself for them.

I wish more people knew that about you. Or maybe I don’t, because sometimes it’s nice to be the only one who knows something.

But when her eyes are on you, and she’s paying attention to you, you want it to last.

What do kids our age know about love and life?

It’s scary when it’s real. When it’s not just thinking about a person, but, like, having a real live person in front of you, with, like, expectations. And wants.

Oh, I used to lie all the time as a kid. I didn’t think of it as lying, though. I thought of it as playing make-believe. I told Kitty she was adopted and her real family was in a traveling circus. It’s why she took up gymnastics.

Even when she’s not here, she’s here. That girl has some kind of reach.

It feels strange to have spent so much time wishing for something, for someone, and then one day, suddenly, to just stop.

You’d rather make up a fantasy version of somebody in your head than be with a real person.

I think I see the difference now, between loving someone from afar and loving someone up close. When you see them up close, you see the real them, but they also get to see the real you.

Love is scary: it changes; it can go away. That’s part of the risk.

And I’m certain, I’m so suddenly certain that everything is exactly the way it’s supposed to be, that I don’t have to be so afraid of good-bye, because good-bye doesn’t have to be forever.

PS: eleanor & park, since you've been gone, girl online