This week, Audrey and I finished reading Jenny Han’s Lara Jean book series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, P.S. I Still Love You, and Always and Forever, Lara Jean. We will admit that the upcoming Netflix movie, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, inspired us to read the series. The movie will come out on August 17.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before tells the story about Lara Jean Covey and the chaos that unleashes after her secret love letters are sent out. The second book, P.S. I Still Love You talks more about Lara Jean and her now not-fake boyfriend Peter Kavinsky. The third book, Always and Forever, Lara Jean, is set a year later and outlines the stress of senior year.
Audrey’s take: The whole series is really funny and cute. I read it because I thought that it would be a fluff read, but I realized that you can’t judge a book on it’s title. While it was quick, and at some points, a little fluffy, it was actually really substantive and interesting. Lara Jean was like a real person. Some authors don’t develop their characters well, but Jenny Han did an excellent job. Han also incorporated references to famous rom-coms, which made the books even more lovable. The series was great all around. I gave the series an average four stars because the characters were well developed and the story was cute and funny.
Elly’s take: I must say that I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed all three, especially the first and second books. I would give the series as a whole four out of five stars, even though the third book didn’t quite give me the ending I was hoping for. What I liked most about the series was how much it reminded me of books I read in middle school, especially my beloved Judy Blume books and the Linda Berman series (We Hate Everything But Boys, etc) by Linda Lewis. I have to wonder if Jenny Han, who grew up around the same time I did, read these, too! They had a sweet, nostalgic feel. I felt like Han had a good ear for teenage dialogue, and she dealt realistically with problems facing teenagers, while still preserving Lara Jean’s inherent values. I enjoyed Lara Jean’s evolution and would love for Han to give us a glimpse of her college adventures, but Han says she is finished with the character, so I’ll just have to imagine grown up Lara Jean on my own!