Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Author: Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, #3
Length: 9 hours
Narrator: Laura Knight Keating
Publisher: Recorded Books
Original Publication Date: 2017
Genre(s): Young adult, Romance, Contemporary
It all started with a love letter. Now, Peter and Lara Jean are about to graduate high school. Peter got into UVA for lacrosse, and since Lara Jean has always loved UVA’s campus, all she has to do is wait for her acceptance letter, too. But when something unexpected happens, Lara Jean isn’t sure how her future will play out anymore. She still has so much to look forward to before starting college—the senior trip to New York, prom, graduation, Beach Week… But after that, everything is up in the air, now. Including her relationship with Peter.
I was NOT ready to finish this series. I didn’t think, when starting To All the Boys, I would cherish Lara Jean’s story so much, but I fell in love. Hard. And saying goodbye is always hard to do.
The final book begins with Lara Jean and Peter just…hanging out. I expected some sort of recap of P.S. I Still Love You (not that I needed it because I just watched the Netflix film right before starting this book…), but instead, nothing from the previous book was mentioned right away. No recap. Which would have been really hard had I been one of those people reading this series as it was being published, not after the fact. So, right away, I felt like book 2 almost didn’t happen. I know it did, but a series finale without a recap feels a little weird.
Anyway. I was trying to figure out what this novel would be about. The New York trip? College? Something else? A whole bunch of stuff? I couldn’t figure out what the focal point would be. Book 1 was about the letters and the fake relationship, book 2 was about a breakup and a possible new love interest, and book 3… Well, I came to realize it centered around college acceptance letters, but it’s about a lot more than that. It’s Laura Jean’s senior year. There’s a lot to cram into the story, but it flows seamlessly and remained interesting.
Lara Jean is just as endearing as always, though maybe more so than she is in the second book. In book 2, I had some negative feelings towards LJ and Peter both, because I thought they were both kind of awful to each other and especially rude to John Ambrose. In book 3, Peter really steps it up, which was impressive but I still ship LJ and John, so, whatever. Things do get a little rocky in this book, but I can’t help but love them both regardless. I may be an LJ+JA shipper, but I can’t lie that I love Peter in some ways, and I was rooting for their relationship.
As far as finales go, this was a great one. All these moments in Lara Jean’s life, as well as her family’s lives, get played out and wrap up very nicely. And the way the book ends is SO CUTE. I really enjoyed not only this book, but the series as a whole. This is such a cute contemporary YA romance, and it feels so real and unique despite the fake-dating trope in book 1. And I’m loving the Asian American representation!! Ugh. I’m sad to let go of these characters. At least I have the adaptation to look forward to next year!
Seriously, if you have ever doubted the awesome-ness of this series, this is me telling you you need to read these books!!