Title: Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Author: Jenny Han
Series: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before #3
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: May 2nd, 2017
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?
This series and I had a rocky start, and if you had told me I would be this wrecked over the ending back when I first read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, I would’ve given you the Cher Horowitz “As If” treatment. It’s also rare for me to connect so well with contemporary books – I only read them when I need a breather, and even then I do so with a certain air of detachment. Fast-forward to a three years into the future to me curled up in a corner of my bed, sobbing because Lara Jean and her story have crept up and taken refuge in the deepest parts of my heart.
It’s senior year and Lara Jean cannot be happier – she’s getting good grades, hanging out with her family and her new friends, being in love with her perfect boyfriend, and applying to colleges. However, change is inevitable and Lara Jean has big decisions to make before graduating.
After two months of sitting on my shelf, I finally (!!) picked this up and began reading. My general excuse is that I had other things to get to before this, but truth be told I was scared. I didn’t really want the story to end, nor did I want to read it when I wasn’t ready. Especially since Lara Jean’s experiences in this book are really close to what I’m going through right now – not all, but quite a few of them. And maybe I’m a little sad that I read this in a few hours time, because I wanted to savour it more, but that’s what happens with every book that I love. And I truly did love this one.
Jenny Han’s writing is incredibly engaging and so breezy – in a sense that you just breeze through the pages of her books. Every word feels just right, they just flow off the page. I am aware it takes a long time to achieve this ‘flowyness’, but Ms. Han does it so incredibly well. It felt like I was reading a real-life journal, like Lara Jean is out there in the world, publishing her memoirs. It’s been a while since reading hasn’t felt like a chore and I didn’t obsessively look at the page number to check whether I’ve made any progress. This book felt like that relief you feel in your bones after all your work has been finished.
Lara Jean and I didn’t always see eye to eye, we didn’t click right from the beginning. But she grew on me in a way only someone really close to your heart can do so. Since the first book, my love for her has grown insurmountably. From her baking to her style to her devotion to her family and loved ones and everything in between. And I’ve begun to see so much of myself reflected back from the pages. Granted, I’m not Korean, nor American, and our shared character quirks stem from different roots, but we share them nonetheless. But despite all that, I can only wish to be even an ounce of the beautiful person she is.
And of course, I can only wish to have such incredibly siblings like Margo and Kitty. If you look up sisterly love, these three will be the definition. They love each other so much, despite their quirks and differences. There are fights, but at the end of the day, they know they can rely on each other always. I kind of feel lucky that I’m an only child now, because no sibling will ever hold a candle to Lara Jean, Margo and Kitty.
I know we all love Peter K., and we all agree that he’s the perfect boyfriend, but can I just say… Wow. No one will ever be as good, and I’m so mad at Jenny Han for giving us Peter thus ruining all other SOs. Literally nobody can compare. He and Lara Jean are the perfect couple, they were made for each other. (Technically speaking, they really were, but shush.)
This book made me nostalgic for things I could have had and made me long for things I will never have. It also felt incredibly personal for me, since I was in almost the exact position as Lara Jean’s (minus the hot boyfriend) and, unlike her, I didn’t give it a chance where maybe I should have. Plus, both of us don’t really take to change so well either. But, like her, I am going to the perfect university for me in the fall so I guess it all turned out well in the end for both of us. Now excuse me, I gotta go up my ratings for the other two books.