Always and Forever, Lara Jean
by Jenny Han
ebook, 336 pages
Published May 2nd 2017 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.
Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.
But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.
When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?
AHHH FINALLY I READ THIS BOOK!!! 💖💖💖
It’s been a while since I read books from this series- I think the first book was okay, but really enjoyed the second one. I can say though, this series definitely gets better with each book and this third book is the best of all!
The third book sets during Lara Jean’s senior year. A lot of changes are coming and as we all know, Lara Jean is not great with change. The tone of this book is really perfect to depict her feelings; her inner monologues perfectly held that bittersweet nostalgia of senior year, of excited for things to come yet also sad and worried for the changes that are coming.
The biggest worry of them all, is obviously, the college decision. Lara Jean is super excited to go to her local college, where Peter is already accepted and she can go home every weekend with her families. However, fate has other plan and she felt like she had to choose between what she wants and what she thinks should happen. I was sheltered like Lara Jean, so even though my college ended up being nearby, living apart from my family is a huge change and coupled with the fact of adjusting to new friends, it definitely a scary prospect at that time.
Then, there’s also the fact that this means she will have a long distance relationship with Peter. This book discusses the fear of many young couples (I feel really old as I type this), of how long distance has a bad rep and those who’s in it should prepare for the inevitable breakup. While Lara Jean is still torn, I feel like Peter is dead-set on this negative mindset and kinda pressure her on the topic. I think the conflict here is valid, albeit a bit dramatic. Yes, not everyone can handle a long-distance relationship, but being negative about it even before it started is like setting yourself up for a failure.
Eventually, I think this particular conflict reflects the main theme of this book: of finding yourself and embracing it. In this book, we see Lara Jean being so much more comfortable in her home-sheltered, introverted self. She bakes a lot and shares it with everyone, she has curfew and not ashamed of it, and she’s perfectly fine with having a night in. Yet despite being confident about her present, she’s unsure about her future and how her family and Peter have a place in it. Here, she learned to make decisions based on her wants, despite being not exactly as planned or outside her comfort zone. Her growth from the first book is very apparent and this book completes the final part of her character’s journey in the best way possible.
As always, this series portrays relationships in the best way possible. Of course, there is the amazing Song-Covey family, in which things are also changing and not everyone is okay with it. I love how they deal with it and how they try to understand each other’s perspective, instead of forcing theirs. There are others, but I particularly love her relationship with Chris. We didn’t see much of her in the second book, but in this book, we can see how much she means for Lara Jean and how important their friendship is.
Obviously, we have to discuss about Peter Kavinsky. Their relationship is super fun and fluffy in this book, but I didn’t like Peter’s character in this book as much as before. He seems very petulant about college and the past, and it doesn’t look good on him. Their fights are resolved nicely, but while reading, I wish they could communicate better.
While this series is not perfect, I have to agree that this might be one of the best YA contemporary out there. Yes, it can be a bit dramatic, but overall it portrays the ups and downs of teenage life realistically. From crushes, to finding your friend and place, having a relationship with your family, and to finally the anxiety of having your future looming in front of you. We grew with Lara Jean, but we also grew with other characters. Always and Forever, Lara Jean might not be the sequel I was expecting initially, but in the end, it became my favorite of the series 💖