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Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the…

Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before)

by Jenny Han

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In the final book of Jenny Han's "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" series, we find our heroine, Lara Jean, in her senior year of high school and facing some big changes: college choices; her dad's impending marriage (yay, Mrs. Rothschild!); and figuring out the fate of her relationship with her handsome high school sweetheart, Peter K. The plan, of course, is for Lara Jean and Peter to head to UVA together. Peter already has a lacrosse scholarship there, and Lara Jean's acceptance email should be arriving any day. Still, Lara Jean is worried about the possibility of change and if things do not go exactly according to her plans.

I can't remember how I stumbled across this series, beloved to me (a mid-thirties lesbian) and teen girls everywhere, but I do have such a soft spot for Lara Jean. My girl is all grown up now! *sniff sniff* I love this series even more because it's basically set in my hometown, and I get to read about references to Bodo's Bagels, UVA and the Rotunda, BBQ Exchange, and more.

The strength of Han's series certainly centers around Lara Jean. She's such a realistic and endearing character, and she's grown and progressed over the three books. I adore her spirit, her love of baking, and her fierce devotion to her family. Indeed, Lara Jean's family is very well fleshed out, and you can so easily visualize each of her sisters and their poor, beleaguered father. Everyone--even our additional supporting characters--feels like family by now.

The hardest part of this book was that it felt a bit like filler. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad Han wrote a third book, and I'm happy to see what happened to Lara Jean, Peter, and the rest of the gang, but it sort of feel like we were killing time for the sake of killing time. There's no major plot impetus beyond college decisions and Mr. Covey's wedding preparations. It ties back to a thread in the first book involving Lara Jean's mom warning about not going to college with a boyfriend (remember Margot and Josh?), but it's a tenuous thread.

Still, this is a sweet book, and I enjoyed most of it, though Peter didn't always seem like his usual self. (I don't enjoy when "stress" is an excuse for guys to treat girls poorly.) I was glad to see Lara Jean stay true to her Lara Jean self: she's just so fun, spunky, and adorable. Han says definitively at the end that she won't write anymore about Lara Jean and even though I felt like this book was a little bit of fluff, I still felt sad reading that, because darnit, it was Lara Jean fluff, and I love her.

You can find my review of the first book here and the second here.

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  justacatandabook | Jul 21, 2017 |
Lara Jean romances her way through her senior year of high school in the final installment of the To All the Boys I've Loved Before trilogy. Everything seems to be going Lara Jean's way; she has the cutest and most adoring boyfriend, she's on the verge of perfecting her perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, her father is engaged to their next door neighbor, and she has college to look forward to in the fall. There is only one problem, she's on pins and needles waiting for her college acceptance letter to come. When it finally arrives her picture perfect world seems to fray at the edges. What's a girl to do, listen to the head or the heart? Beautifully narrated by Laura Knight Keating who manages to capture the ups, downs and naive beauty of teenage angst and romance. Teens will eat up the satisfying conclusion to this laugh out loud romance trilogy. ( )
  ecataldi | Jul 17, 2017 |

Lara Jean bakes a lot of cookies and hangs out with her super hot boyfriend Peter, whom everyone loves. Repeat....repeat...repeat....

What seems to be missing from this book is an actual plot. The only thing that happens in this book is that Lara Jean and Peter break up and readers have to wait to see if there will be an HEA for these two. And...none of this happens until the last few chapters of the book. I wasn't a big fan of book #2 so this wasn't really a big disappointment for me. I know Ms. Han is a big fan of writing trilogies but I think she should have ended this story at the second book. ( )
  DMPrice | May 22, 2017 |
I love everything about first love. I'm in love with "first love"! I love the innocence of it, the purity, but more than anything I love it when first love lasts forever.

"Always and Forever, Lara Jean" doesn't end with Lara Jean and Peter living together happily ever after, but I'd like to think that their love can weather the storms they will indeed encounter while they're both in college.

The first time I read "To All the Boys I've Loved Before", I was immediately enamored with Lara Jean and the Song girls. I loved Lara Jean's innocence and despite what most people think, innocence of that sort still exist even in a world where Social Media rules and innocence is but a childhood dream. I know because I lived it, even if that was almost two decades ago, but I also see that kind of sweet innocence in my nieces, how shelter they are because their parents restrict a lot/if not all of their social media access and I'm thankful for it, but I also fear the day when they step into the real world and have to face its brutality. Most YA novels are filled with protagonists who are self aware, filled with angst, and "strong". So I was glad that Jenny Han gave us someone who didn't have it all, but didn't want or need it. I was glad that Lara Jean didn't feel the need to fit in or rebel. It's also the main reason I love Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky's love story in the first book, Lara Jean's innocence surrounding their relationship really shaped the relationship into what we witnessed in all three books. We see their relationship blossom in the second book, "P.S. I Still Love You", but more importantly we see Lara Jean grow and become her own person. We witness their insecurities and how it catapults their relationship in a challenging direction; a direction that forces each to face their personal fears in order to find their way back to one another. Heck, I even love Lara Jean and John Ambrose McClaren's "friendship/relationship" in the second book and a part of me was even rooting for them.

In this third installment, "Always and Forever, Lara Jean", we miss about a whole year of Lara Jean and Peter's relationship but it seems as though all's been sweet and lovey dovey with the lovebirds. "Always and Forever, Lara Jean" starts right before spring break of Lara Jean's senior year. College applications have been sent and all the soon to be high school graduates are waiting with abated breath to hear from colleges they've applied to. With college just around the corner, Lara Jean and Peter starts realizing how their relationship will be impacted by the changes that are forthcoming, but the challenges don't really start to take a toll until they realize that the future they've planned out isn't going to work. Will their love weather the storm or will they realize that high school romances ends when college begins?

I love that Jenny Han did not throw in an unnecessary love triangle. I mean I love John Ambrose McClaren, but that semi-triangle already had its day in "P.S. I Still Love You" and wasn't need in this final book. However, I loved that he made an appearance in this book and the fact that he might end up at the same college as Lara Jean, gives a piece of me hope that perhaps my dream of "in another lifetime, another book, Lara Jean and John would have had a beautiful, sweet love story. Also I can't help think that Lara Jean in the future, when she's older (after college and such), will reunite with John and they'll end up together, married with kids, living a loving and sweet life." But despite this, I am rooting for first love. I want Lara Jean and Peter’s love to last forever. I love it when first love succeeds and I'd like to think that theirs will. I mean, during the first book it seems like this love was all one sided, where Lara Jean is in love/infatuated with Peter more, but after the second book and this book, I am convinced Peter definitely loves Lara Jean more. He's just not as vocal or demonstrative about it. He shows his love in a much more subtle way than Lara Jean and sometimes I think that speaks volume compared to grand gestures. Potential Spoiler Although we get that aplenty from Peter in this book (i.e. the Sleepless in Seattle & Sixteen Candles recreations! *Swoon-worthy!*). Peter's also a bit more fleshed out in this book, I feel like I understand why he's the way he is. He comes off as confident, but he's actually very insecure and has abandonment issues (we know it's because of his father). Now I understand why he was so loyal to Genevieve, even when he was with Lara Jean. He doesn’t want to abandon someone he cares about. I also understand his need for love and acceptance from everyone and why he’s so afraid of losing Lara Jean. I think he’s in love for the first time and he doesn’t feel like he’s worthy of Lara Jean and so when everything she does seems to distance herself from him, he reacts badly and pushes her away (again because of his father’s abandonment!). Also, that last scene with them, when Peter describes in detail the first time he ever saw Lara Jean made my heart and body melt into a puddle of goo. It was the sweetest thing, I love when people remember the first time they met their partner. To me that signify they were meant to be together. That's why I know Peter loves Lara Jean more than Lara Jean loves Peter. Also, I'm now convinced that Peter didn't just go along with Lara Jean's fake relationship in the first book out of the kindness of his heart or because he was trying to get over Genevieve, but because he's probably liked her for a very long time and just never had the courage to act on it. Then Lara Jean gives him the opportunity to finally do something and thank goodness for Kitty and her "evilness" because it brought them together. This isn't my favorite of the three and I kind of devoured this book in one night (picked it up at Barnes & Noble at 7 pm and was up until 3 am finishing it. *tired!*) but I loved it. I want more but I'm glad this is the last book, I don’t want to read a book where they’re potentially not together. I’ve already envisioned what their future holds and I like the way things turn out in my imagination. However, I would love a book series on Kitty. I think her character is rife with amazing stories.

As YAs goes, I loved this series and it's one of my "happy place" series when I need a quick pick me up from reality. ( )
  jthao_02 | May 18, 2017 |
I was so excited for the conclusion to this trilogy, that I even pre-ordered this. I loved the first two books and flew threw them in only one day. This one took me a lot longer to push through. I was excited to get back into the characters, but I was just bored. I found myself skipping through this to just get it over.

Yes, I still loved Peter! There really was not much going on with the relationship in the first half. I liked cheering for Peter in the first two books, and now that was gone.

I understand baking was a big deal in the other books, but I feel it was forced into every aspect of this story. It was almost too much. I was over it!

This was more about the father getting married than anything with some other twists and turns thrown in. Overall, I was really disappointed. ( )
  SimplyKelina | May 13, 2017 |
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