“Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter. She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever. When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once? In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.”
-Synopsis from Goodreads
It’s safe to say I enjoyed this a lot more than the first one. In To All the Boys there was conflict, but Lara Jean was very much just a passerby; now there is even more conflict and she is actually participating in it – here’s the character growth I was desperate for in the first book!
I liked that this book started pretty much exactly where the first book left off, with Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship still hanging in limbo. And yet, I still don’t see Lara Jean and Peter as being a good match. If this book was supposed to finally convince me otherwise, it didn’t work. I like both of them, but they just don’t go together as a couple. It seems like she chose Peter in the end just because of his proximity; what would have happened if John McClaren still lived in the neighborhood and went to their school? Then Lara Jean would have really had to make some tough decisions on her own, which I think we all know she is incapable of doing.
My biggest issue was that Lara Jean ended up blaming all of her issues with Peter on herself. She concluded that she was so obsessed with Genevieve that it clouded her perception of her relationship with Peter, which influenced all of her bad decisions, and that was why they fell apart. There was no acknowledgment that he did a terrible job of consoling her and reassuring her when things got tough. He played as big of a role in this as she did. Even if she wasn’t emotionally mature enough to recognize this, I think another character (such as Margot or her dad) should have stepped in to explain this to her, for the reader’s sake, so there aren’t young readers out there thinking that this is an appropriate resolution to this type of problem.
I was waiting for some big huge secret of Genevieve’s to be revealed to make Peter’s awful behavior worth it; when the secret was revealed, it fell flat. All that this resulted in was showcasing Peter’s lack of emotional intelligence in being able to care for two people at once. It allowed for Lara Jean to thus blame herself for everything, and for everyone to magically be okay with it. Am I missing anything there?
I felt even more out of touch with this book than I did with the last one, which sounds contradictory to my previous statements, I know. Whether it was the fact that I am so far removed from high school that I “don’t get it” anymore or if it’s really just about not connecting with Lara Jean in any way whatsoever, who knows. At this point, I’m going to read the next book in the series simply because there is only one left and I already bought it (hah) and I just want to finish what I started.
Even though I liked P.S. I Love You more than To All the Boys, my hopes aren’t too high for Always and Forever, Lara Jean. Maybe I’ll feel differently after reading the last book, but this series has not in any way shape or form lived up to the hype of the movies (the next movie comes out on Netflix next week).
I hate writing that, because I hate doing “negative” reviews but this wouldn’t be an honest review if I didn’t actually say what I felt and back it up with examples. Otherwise there would be no blog and I would just post pictures on Instagram and that would be it.
So, I will reiterate what I said last time: this is a cute and sweet series if you don’t examine it too closely and just take it for the surface level fluffiness that it is.
And to close out on a high note, I think this was my favorite cover out of the three.