Book Review: P.S. I Still Love You & Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
“Lara Jean, I think you half-fall in love with every person you meet. It’s part of your charm. You’re in love with love.”
If you know me online or in real life, you know that I cannot stop raving about To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, both the book and the movie on Netflix. As soon as I finished the first book in Jenny Han’s series, I immediately ordered the next two books. Lara Jean Covey is such a relatable protagonist, and she has incredible taste, especially in boys. In P.S. I Still Love You, she and Peter Kavinsky have to deal with the fallout of an Instagram video of their hot tub makeout session. As she and Peter face judgment and horrible memes, their relationship becomes strained. And suddenly one of Lara Jean’s previous letters comes back into play; John Ambrose McClaren was her crush in eighth grade, but he moved to a different school and only recently got his letter. When he comes back into Lara Jean’s life, she is reminded why she liked him in the first place. As she and John embark on a friendship, Peter is still hanging out with his ex-girlfriend Gen.
Lara Jean grows up so much in P.S. I Still Love You. She becomes more confident. Her relationship with Peter definitely jump-starts her confidence, but as she goes through the horrible Instagram saga, she begins to stand up for herself more. She also begins volunteering at Belleview Retirement Center and befriends Stormy. Stormy’s influence on Lara Jean is apparent not only in the second book, but also in Always and Forever, Lara Jean.
“Being vulnerable, letting people in, getting hurt... it's all part of being in love.”
In Always and Forever, Lara Jean, we have jumped ahead a year. Peter and Lara Jean are in the spring of their senior year. They’re in love and both plan to attend the University of Virginia. Everything is going swimmingly until Lara Jean does not get into UVA. All of her plans are falling apart, while Peter struggles with his relationship with his estranged dad. Dr. Covey proposes to Ms. Rothschild, their across-the-street neighbor. Lara Jean dives headfirst into wedding planning, trying to ease her stress about college. As the school year draws to a close, Lara Jean and Peter have to figure out what to do when they go to different schools.
I absolutely adored this series. Jenny Han’s characters are so well-developed and endearing. I found myself loving all of them, except Gen. She is the worst. The Covey family is quite possibly one of my favorite fictional families of all time. Can they adopt me? And again, if you have talked to me at all in the last few weeks, you know my love for Peter Kavinsky only grows. That boy is incredibly lovely, not only towards Lara Jean, but to the whole Covey clan. He cares so much for Lara Jean, and his sweet, romantic gestures melt my heart. But as much as I love Peter Kavinsky, Lara Jean is one of my top protagonists. I am not crafty or that into baking, but I absolutely fell in love with Lara Jean. She is a homebody and adores her family, which I completely relate to. She also has high standards, and I wholly appreciate her not wanting to settle for anything less than what she wants and deserves. She is an old soul and not at all ashamed about it. We need more strong female protagonists like Lara Jean, not just in literature, but in film as well.
I enjoyed P.S. I Still Love You and gave it 4 stars, only because I had a tough time with the Instagram video drama and Peter’s relationship with Gen. It may even have been a 3.5 star read, if it weren’t for sweet angel child John Ambrose McClaren. He is somewhat a rival to Peter, but let’s be real, when you have Peter Kavinsky, how could you not always pick him? I also really loved Always and Forever, Lara Jean and gave it 4.5 stars. I thought it was a perfect way to wrap up the series. Now if we could just make sure Netflix is going to finish out the series, that would be the cherry on top.
What other YA rom-coms do you love?