Written by: Jenny Han
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Pages: 288, Hardback
Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2
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Thanks to TXLA for this ARC!
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.
When I finished To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, I knew right away that I needed to read the sequel. As much as I loved the first book, let’s be honest here, what happened on the last page was not an ending. At the same time, I was worried. I couldn’t really picture what kind of plot this book could possibly have, and given my experience with another Jenny Han series and the promise of a new guy showing up, I wasn’t sure whether the relationship between Lara Jean and Peter would play out the way I wanted it to.
As it turned out, there was no need to worry. P.S. I Still Love You has all the charm and cuteness and heartfelt writing of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and an ending I am ultimately very satisfied with. (Though I probably shouldn’t have read it on the same day I read Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda because, yikes, cute romance overload).
There was a bit of a love triangle situation, and I don’t think love triangle here was necessary or brought anything to the story, but it didn’t end up bothering me as much as I thought it would. Partly, this is because John Ambrose MacLaren, despite not being my ideal shipping choice, was actually kind of adorable, and partly because it didn’t really come into full force until the last 1/3 of the book, so it didn’t have time to get on my nerves. Meanwhile, Josh from the first book has pretty much faded out of the story, and I can’t say I was sad to see him go.
Other than that? P.S. I Still Love You was well written, and had the same comforting feel the first book did. I also thought it handled certain themes much better than the first book. It was a story about love, and sisters, and growing up and understanding that the world around you will change and you will change with it and that’s not always a bad thing.
Genevieve, Peter’s ex-girlfriend, continues to have a significant presence in this book. I found the Peter-Genevieve-Lara Jean situation so frustrating, both because I’d seen this set-up about 200 times and because certain actions from all three characters were too much for me, even when I could understand them from Lara Jean’s and Peter’s perspective. In addition, it felt like Jenny Han couldn’t decide whether she wanted to humanize Genevieve or just have her be the standard Mean Girl, and the end result was somewhere in between and not satisfying at all.
The book felt more like a series of different conflicts strung together than an actual cohesive plot. In addition, like with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, I found the Big Overwhelming Drama events in the last couple of chapters a little rushed, though much less so than in the first book. It wasn’t that there was a lot going on, exactly, but the dramatic scenes being piled on top of each other made them lose their impact a little.
And, okay, I don’t want to be THAT blogger who has a paragraph-long freakout about one quote, but: “I’m Eponine, you’re Cosette! Don’t make me out to be the Cosette!” For context, this is said by Lara Jean as she confronts Genevieve about a certain thing Genevieve did to her. I’m assuming Lara Jean has not read Les Miserables, because (a) Cosette and Eponine’s situation with Marius doesn’t match up to Lara Jean and Genvieve’s situation with Peter at all; (b) Cosette is not the ‘bad guy’ who stole Marius from Eponine, which seems to be what Lara Jean is implying; he was never interested in Eponine that way in the first place, even in the musical; and (c) Lara Jean and Cosette actually have quite a bit in common. Okay. Rant over.
Once again, the sister dynamics were beautiful. I loved how much Margot, Lara Jean, and Kitty supported and loved each other. Also, shout-out to Kitty Song Covey for being funny and bluntly honest and understanding that few things in life are as important as television.
As with the first book, there’s some adorable romance, and I loved watching Lara Jean and Peter in an actual, not-faked relationship. We get so many books where the main couple just gets together in the end and we don’t really see anything afterwards, so I appreciated that in this case, they got together in the first couple of chapters, and yes, there were some problems, but there were also plenty of cute moments and a happy ending.
This book had a lot of discussion about sexuality which I thought was handled much better than it was in the first book. There’s a subplot in which a video of Lara Jean and Peter making out in a hot tub gets released on the internet, and several characters point out how messed up it is that Lara Jean faces more public scrutiny and criticism than Peter does, even thought they were both in the same situation. Meanwhile, Lara Jean thinks about the possibility of having sex and decides she’s not ready yet and wants to wait. The narrative and the other characters are supportive of her decision; at the same time, ladies having sex is never portrayed as a bad thing. As one character tells Lara Jean, “Your body is yours to protect and to enjoy.”
Of course, Jenny Han’s writing is still amazing. Lara Jean’s voice has the same charm and uniqueness and coziness that I loved in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, but there’s something a little more mature about it as Lara Jean herself grows and matures. Some of my favorite parts of the book were the honest, contemplative passages in which Lara Jean realizes how much her life has changed in the past few years, how she’s still changing and will continue to change.
Pick up. If you liked To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, you definitely need to read this.