'To All The Boys': A Trilogy For The Asian-American Girls In Love

As an Asian-American girl who’s a hopeless romantic, this trilogy spoke volumes to me.

Diversity’s always been a major component when I consumed any form of media – be it books, movies, shows, anything. This movie series caught my eye as soon as I saw someone who looked like me. Ever since the moment I finished this, I knew I needed more. The movie trilogy I’m Talking About is Netflix’s book-to-movie To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, which sets Lara Jean Song Covey (Lara Condor) in a situation where her secret love letters are sent out to all the boys she’s written to, and how she handles them with love interest, Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo). During the Valentine’s Day weekend, the final film of the trilogy, titled To All the Boyd: Always and Forever, was released, which closes off Lara Jean’s high school life as she tries to determine her future with her boyfriend, Peter. She struggles to try to figure out how to find a school for her, as her boyfriend Peter has his eyes set on Stanford. 

The significance of having an Asian-American main character is so painfully important. Seeing main characters that didn’t look like me, had made me feel somewhat out of touch and left out of the hype that these people around me were obsessed with. But with this film, it's like I’m seeing myself in a world that makes me feel like the main character even though I’m the quirky best friend. Being able to explore high school and girlhood with a character like Lara Jean with someone who isn’t so typically bland and boring makes me feel connected to a series more than ever. I even dressed as her for Halloween! 

Seeing Asian-Americans struggle in films — for well, being Asians — always seems to be repeated, that there’s more than just having the scarring ‘having the ethnic food for lunch when the kids around you get disgusted’ moment or even the experience that Asian characters in a show are struggling with a parent’s approval to pursue something that isn’t STEM or being a nurse or doctor (I’m looking at you, Glee.) We’ve all lived to experience it, so why beat it like a dead horse over and over? We’re more than just our heritages and our struggles, and we deserve to tell stories that aren’t controlled by that. I feel content seeing someone like me fulfilling a love story that isn’t riddled with struggles with fitting in or lacking a disconnect with your family. Having Lara Jean come to life felt so real and raw, taking a glimpse of her struggle with girlhood that I saw with other movies that white girls were fawning over. 

Obviously, this film is not perfect. People tend to point out the inconsistencies and criticize the relationship conflicts in the film. Yet, I still find myself coming back to it each time. You know why? The feeling of seeing representation that isn’t so painfully determined by the life their parents told them to lead due to tradition or by the disconnect that Asian-Americans struggle with constantly with their heritage. It’s a story that’s echoed in Hollywood all the time, and it’s exhausting. We live those stories every day. Author Jenny Han brings real advice to writers looking to add representation to the table, “I would venture to guess that most people who are creators are not thinking first and foremost, ‘Let me do some representation right now.’ I think they're thinking, ‘What kind of story can I tell that feels really real and authentic?’ and then you hope that people will connect to it." Thank you, Jenny Han, for bringing Lara Jean alive to girls who look like me who are hopelessly in love and are longing for a love like Lara Jean and Peter’s. Thank you for bringing us characters who can forever resonate with the Asian-American girlhood experience. 

Always and forever.