Always and Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Han
Pages: 336 (Hardback)
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers May 2nd 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Asian American, Contemporary, Romance
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Source: Purchased w/ Own Money
Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky are finishing up their last year in high school and taking their next steps towards adulthood in this final/(maybe unnecessary) installment of the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series. After breaking up and getting back together in P.S I Still Love You, you would think that nothing could get in between their love, but with adulthood comes new obstacles. Such as getting accepted into different universities and knowing when it’s the right time to have sex. Regardless, the two face a new adventure in their relationship in this final book and it is an adventure fans will either love or hate.
As a reader and a fan of this series, I have to say Lara Jean’s last hurrah did not impress me. The book itself was formulaic in the sense that it started with the happy-go-luckiness of Lara Jean’s everyday life, then a plot twist occurs (not getting accepted to UVA), she has a fight with Peter, they make up, and finally, they reamend the contracts they created in the first and second book. Am I giving away a spoiler? Hardly. The third book was predictable. It was too much of the first and second book. It didn’t have a voice for itself.
Besides the overall plot, the writing itself lacked the finesse and charm from the first and second book. This is a trilogy, yet Han still babies her readers (who are supposedly young adults) and holds their hands throughout the book. On the bottom of page 21, she wrote, “Peter’s mom owns an antique store called Linden & White, and Peter helps her out as much as he can.”
This may be a bit presumptuous, but shouldn’t Han assume her readers know this information? Again, this is a trilogy and that information has been written down in both the first and second book. Even the great children’s novelists such as J.K Rowling and Lemony Snicket trust their readers enough to remember that kind of information. Why is so much of the story recapped? Is it to meet page requirements? I don’t know.
I do know that I was unsatisfied as a reader. Han may have tied the ending nicely with a pretty bow, but the series seemed to be much more powerful when it was a duology.