Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han // Bittersweet, nostalgic, and yet a perfect ending💖

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Always and Forever, Lara Jean

by Jenny Han

ebook, 336 pages

Published May 2nd 2017 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers

✰✰✰✰.5

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?

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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 💖

tasya

 


25 thoughts on “Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han // Bittersweet, nostalgic, and yet a perfect ending💖

  1. Oh my gosh! Always and Forever, Lara Jean left me with all the feels! It might be my favorite out of the whole series. I mean, the first definitely made me happy but number 3 gave me so much warm fuzzies. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. You wrote an amazing review!!!

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    1. Same! I know a lot of people think that this book doesn’t have real conflict, but I think it’s one of the realest?? It’s not obvious like the previous two books, it’s more subtle and personal because it’s a real feelings many seniors deal with, you know? And it’s just so calming, I love this book!

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  2. You were so right when you said this just might be one of the best contemporary series out there! I adored each book and while book #3 was similar in vibes to the other two it was somehow quite different too. I agree with you about Peter K- though I’m still smitten with him, he petulance sure wasn’t a good look on him! That said, if Jenny Han were to announce another addition to this series, I’d be the first to sign up for it! xD

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  3. This book was WAYYYY too cute, wasn’t it? And all of the baked goods had me salivating – I wish I was as good a baker as Lara Jean. I somehow manage to burn every cookie I try and make haha.

    Anyways, I totally agree with you – this book was not exactly what I was expecting, but I still really enjoyed it! Thanks for the awesome review!

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  4. This trilogy holds a very special place in my heart and I always view them in a nostalgic way! I remember jumping up and down when I finished reading Always and Forever! I like your take on Peter and how he dealt with this the change of college plans! In the second book, Peter annoyed me and pissed me off so much! But I don’t remember feeling this way in the third book! I need to do a reread bad especially when the second Netflix film comes out! Great review!

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  5. For some reason, I couldn’t get into this series when I tried to read it! But everyone loves it so much that I want to give it another chance. Maybe I’ll listen to the audiobook instead.

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    1. No worries Erin, it took me a while to love this series too! I remember being annoyed by Lara in the first book (still am haha) but at the end it starts to worm its way into my heart. I truly fell in love with this series in book 2, so I hope you give this series another try 🙂

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  6. I’m not one to finish trilogies unless I really am feeling them and I loved this one!! I agree they got better as we go and this one was a little unexpected but also such a great end. I enjoyed the realistic edge to the series and the perfect family life. ❤️

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  7. I’m so glad that you enjoyed this trilogy, Tasya! I also liked the themes that were explored in this book and loved the growth that we saw in Lara Jean from Book 1 to Book 3. She really went from being a really sheltered person to finding other sides of herself. And I totally agree with you about Peter K as well! He was kind of annoying in this last book and I think he reached his peak in Book 1 tbh…

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  8. I bought this box set not too long ago, after seeing the first adaptation really. I watched the film without having read the book first. I love how she matures over the course of the series and that her dad also finds his happily ever after! I might binge read these in the next few weeks, really need a few feel great reads to keep my reading on track this read. Brilliant review Tasya!

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