By Mónica González
Last Thursday night, The Bookmark hosted a very surprising and insightful Skype Q&A session, with none other than Children and Young Adult (YA) author Jenny Han. Unlike their usual book club sessions, this time around, a spoiler-free rule was established so those who still haven’t read all of her books would still be surprised when they finally did.
Han, who is currently working on a “too soon to talk about” novel, shared with the audience some “cute and quirky” facts, like how she fangirls about things like The Walking Dead, Lord of the Rings, X-Men comic books and Harry Potter.
Speaking of which, “What makes a proud Slytherin?,” asked Jonathan Cotto, one of the bookmark’s loyal customers. Han explained that when she got sorted and she became Slytherin, it took her a while to come to terms with it, specifically since aren’t too many good Slytherin out there. Regarding character sorting from her To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series, she says Lara Jean would most likely be a Hufflepuff, while Margot would be a Ravenclaw and Kitty a Slytherin.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love you, is a series following the life of these three sisters, and how Lara Jean’s personal love letters that she wrote to boys she wanted to fall out of love with, get accidentally mailed out, causing her a lot of problems that she’ll have to overcome. The duology, according to Han, was inspired on her own life while growing up, although her letters never got sent. She based Lara Jean and Kitty’s relationship on her own relationship with her sister and feels like it’s very important to write about strong sisterly bonds. Lara Jean is also loosely based on Beth from Little Women.
Some of the praises that attendants gave Miss Han was how she was able to develop such a relatable character in Lara Jean despite her Korean-American heritage. “You don’t need a white girl character for a white girl to be able to relate,” stated Han when praised.
Han has come a long way after writing her debut novel Shug, back in college. After majoring in psychology, with minors in Criminal Justice and English, followed by a Creative Writing MFA, she doesn’t see herself not writing for a living. She would much rather explore the research aspect of psychology in her books instead of in real life. A clear example of this is her detailed description of life after losing a parent.
Although she admitted to have some adult content hidden up her sleeve, Han indicated that she will not be writing for adults anytime soon. “My heart is pretty much set on YA right now,” she said. “There’s just a joy about writing of young people, because the feelings are universal,” she added.
Regarding a potential movie dream cast, she didn’t have much to say since “there are so few Asian actors that get any jobs. It’s even harder for YA since anyone I might like will probably be too old to play them by the time a movie gets made,” she explained. Despite that, she did mention potential candidates like Katie Leung (Harry Potter’s Cho Chang) for Lara Jean and Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner’s Thomas) for Peter K.
If you haven’t read, or don’t own any of Jenny Han’s books, this is your chance to get a signed copy. Head on over to The Bookmark as soon as possible because, in celebration of the event, Jenny Han sent over some exclusive signed copies of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You that you can purchase. Get yours now and fall in and out of love alongside Lara Jean.