1.) To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before ★★★★
2.) P.S. I Still Love You ★★★
“One day all of this will be proof, proof that we were here, proof that we loved each other. It’s the guarantee that no matter what happens to us in the future, this time was ours.”
Some books just give you that warm and fuzzy feeling that has you crying happy tears almost every page. Well, that’s this book. I feel an intense need to redo high school because I’m having some serious regret about never writing love letters and having them sent out into the world (where can I find my Peter Kavinsky???) But in all seriousness, this book still maintained the same sweet, fun, and lightheartedness that made me fall in love with the series, while also tackling real life themes of choosing a school, the uncertainty of the future post-high school, and saying goodbye that most YA stays away from.
Lara Jean and Peter are in the midst of senior year—a year of uncertainty about the future, of goodbyes, of last chances, and of change. But Lara Jean doesn’t like change. So what should she do when the future she’s always imagined for herself suddenly isn’t a possibility and the two paths laid out before her will require she follow either her head or her heart?
“I guess that’s part of growing up, too—saying goodbye to the things you used to love.”
I’m way past my high school days, but this book took me back to my senior year, and now we’re going to get personal for a second so I can tell you why this book resonated with me so much. I always thought I was going to pursue musical theatre (for some reason high school Lindsay thought she was talented enough to make it on Broadway) and when I say pursue, I mean working on audition songs and monologues with my vocal and acting coach and only looking at BFA programs. But I realized in the fall of my senior year that I simply wasn’t talented enough, and it wasn’t going to work out. Every school I’d looked at and planned on applying to was geared toward musical theatre—there were no backup options, or at least there were none I actually wanted to go to. Except one. But it was also a reach school. I applied early decision, having fallen in love when I visited and just had that gut feeling it was the school for me. I didn’t get in. I’d gone from being certain about everything to certain about nothing. I was more scared and anxious about my future than I’d ever been, and like Lara Jean, I don’t do well with change or uncertainty.
Reading Always and Forever Lara Jean now made me wish I’d had it with me when I was going through my senior year, because Jenny Han is able to capture the fear and uncertainty of not knowing what your future holds, the teenage need to romanticize and perfect our last moments of high school, and yet also the magic of having all these possibilities up for the taking, if you follow your heart and are brave enough to take them.
“Never say no when you really want to say yes.”
Always and Forever Lara Jean managed to recapture everything I loved about To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (yes, including Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship) while adding a maturity to it that the first two books lacked. Lara Jean is growing up, she has grown up, and her story will forever hold a very special place in my heart, but this book especially.
“At college, when people ask us how we met, how will we answer them? The short story is, we grew up together. But that’s more Josh’s and my story. High school sweet-hearts? That’s Peter and Gen’s story. So what’s ours, then? I suppose I’ll say it all started with a love letter.”