If you remember reading my first book review on Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Ever Loved and The Summer I Turned Pretty series, (you can click here to read it) I mentioned I came across To All the Boys I’ve Ever Loved on Barnes and Noble’s website. I bought the book and instantly fell in love with it. I didn’t have to wait too long for the second book, P.S. I Still Love You, as I read the first book late. However, after reading the second book – which I read in a day! – I was heartbroken it was the end of Lara Jean and Peter’s love story. Yes, it ended great, but it’s always sad to see your new favorite book series come to an end. Especially, since Jenny Han perviously stated the second book would be the last book for this series. I don’t like people who go back on their word, but in this case, I was thrilled Jenny changed her mind. She decided to do one final book and end the series as a trilogy with Always and Forever, Lara Jean.
Originally Always and Forever, Lara Jean was supposed to be published in April. Due to Jenny still writing to come up with the perfect ending for her fans, the release date got pushed back to May. As a college student, I was perfectly fine with this, despite how eager and impatient I was waiting for this book. If I had bought the book in April, I would have ignored all my schoolwork until I finished reading this book. The day after my last final, I bought the book three days after its’ release date.
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? (via Goodreads)
(This section contains some spoilers.)
When I first started reading the book, I was a little disappointed. Everything seemed so rushed, especially with the little time jumps between chapters. Then, when something eventful happened, it was too short, to where I wanted more, especially moments with Lara Jean and Peter. I wanted more to the scene, more to the story, more to savor and enjoy the last book of the series. I’m not sure if Jenny rushed things to try and get everything wrapped up since it’s the final book, but I would have preferred she slow things down, regardless how realistically your senior year flies by.
After reading about the first 50 pages, I took a break from reading it, mainly because my personal life became hectic. However, I was okay with not picking up the book anytime soon. Considering how fast things were going, I didn’t want to rush it either. It was the last book and I wanted to take my time with it. Also, I was absolutely terrified how it would end. I would have been devastated if the book didn’t have the perfect ending I would’ve wanted. However, when I picked it back up, I couldn’t put it down. Things were getting more interesting, slightly predictable, but too good to put down. Things were still at a fast pace, but not necessarily as rushed.
This entire series has been a contemporary young adult book with a coming of age storyline as Lara Jean learns to deal with love, relationships, family, and school, all while trying to figure out who she is. Always and Forever, Lara Jean continues to show that as Lara Jeans deals with the pressure of getting into college and keeping her relationship with Peter. I absolutely loved how Jenny captured the reality of what seniors go through.
Lara Jean didn’t get accepted to her first choice of college. Then, she gets wait-listed with one of the best colleges in North Carolina. She’s crushed the only option she had was attending her back-up and last choice. Immediately, this worried her, as her ideal dream of attending her first choice college with Peter wasn’t going happening. To avoid thinking about having a long distance relationship and the possibility of it failing to work, Lara Jean threw herself into planning her father’s wedding.
I completely understand why she distracted herself, but I was kind of annoyed she refused to accept things weren’t going as planned. She figured out a back-up plan with Peter, which seemed great. I had no doubt Plan B would have worked out for the both of them, but she still wasn’t happy about it. If anything, it made her more worried than before and somewhat unhappy she was settling. As someone who also didn’t get accepted to their first choice college, it’s hard to accept it. It’s crushing as you worked so hard to get in and in the end you feel like all your hard work didn’t pay off. I totally get it, but I did not hide my feelings by burying them underneath something to distract me. To me it showed Lara Jean didn’t have faith in her relationship with Peter, when Peter did all along. Peter has always proven how much he loves her and the length he’s willing to go just to prove it. I just wanted to grab Lara Jean by the shoulders and yell, “it’s all going to work out and be okay!!!!”
Despite how worried Lara Jean was, and how worried and terrified I was if things didn’t work out – because for a split second I thought they wouldn’t – everything worked out perfectly fine as Lara Jean got an unexpected surprise. That surprise ends up changing everything again, but this time for the better.
I’m so glad Jenny Han decided to write one more book about Lara Jean because she did give the series a perfect ending, and one I think her fans would be happy with. Always and Forever, Lara Jean is available for purchase at bookstores and online.