Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han | Book Review

So, if you’ve been following me on Goodreads, you’ll already be aware that I’ve been reading this book for half my life (okay, so maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but three weeks is still a long time!). I’d like to make it clear that the amount of time it took me to read this book, should be no reflection on the book itself but rather highlights the ridiculous amount of stress I’ve been under for the past few months with uni, work and survival. In fact, this is actually one of the highest rated books of 2017 so far (still not a 5 star, but darn close).

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is one of my all-time favourite series, and I loved being able to delve back into these characters and see more of the beautiful relationships Han has created. I’d definitely recommend this series if you haven’t picked it up already – it’s fantastic. I’m really sad that I’ve closed the final chapter of their story – here’s hoping Jenny surprises us again and makes it a quartet!

Because I love this series so much, I want to get the negatives out of the way early – so let’s do this.

First of all, I’m not sure if this is because I’ve gotten older, or if it’s because I study English now, but I just wasn’t a huge fan of Lara Jean as a character in this installment. To me, she didn’t feel like a 17-year-old. In some respects, especially in her relationship with Kitty, she seemed a lot older, but in others, she just appeared a little immature. I understand that this naivety is a huge part of Lara Jean’s character, and has been from day one, but I just noticed it more this time round and thought I’d point it out.

Secondly (and my final negative point of this review)… John Ambrose Maclaren. If you haven’t gotten around to reading this one yet, and you’re expecting some more of your favourite love-triangle, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Yes, Mr Maclaren does make an appearance, but to me it felt like he was included to appease fans, rather than for any actual storytelling or plot purposes. He was nostalgic to read about, don’t get me wrong, but he just didn’t add anything to this story.

For my loyal readers, it will be no surprise that I make comment on family dynamic. However, it may interest you to know that it’s because of this series that I notice it at all. The Song girls have one of my favourite relationships in literature – they bicker and they argue, but they’re always there for each other in the end – it feels very authentic when compared to my own relationship with my siblings.

Similarly, I love that this story acknowledges the difficulties of an LDR, but still decided to let the characters give it a shot, rather than just throw in the towel. As someone who’s been in an LDR for almost a year now, I totally understand Lara Jean’s feelings on the matter, and really sympathised when she talked about wanting to be a part of Peter’s daily life, not just an evening afterthought. It was just approached really well. In fact, unsurprisingly, I loved every element of Lara Jean and Peter in this novel (as always). Jenny Han has this uncanny ability to write the dreamiest boys and the most beautiful romance possible.The above sentiment goes for

The above sentiment goes for Dr Covey and Trina’s relationship too. I’m so happy he found someone in this installment and that their relationship seems as lovely and as happy as our main protagonist’s. I didn’t realise how much I wanted this to happen until it did, but it was good for him to get a little bit of resolution.

Without any spoilers, I will just say that the series ends really nicely. The last few pages really tie the whole thing together in a bow and makes me really content (a feeling I rarely get at the end of a trilogy – when I’ve committed so much time to characters and a story, it must end exactly as I pictured, I’ve earned that!)

Overall, I gave this novel 4/5 stars (probably verging on a 4.5). It wasn’t as good as the first or second books in the series, but it was a fitting end to a great series, and treated me to the same fuzzy feeling that Jenny Han’s writing always seems to give me. I’d highly recommend getting your hands on this series (and this book) if you haven’t gotten around to it already, especially with summer coming up. It’s the perfect piece of light reading for the beach or the park on these long summer days.

What’s your favourite summer read? I’m looking for some ideas to take on holiday next month! Let me know in the comments!

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