By Ivy Rodriguez
Here it comes: the time to say our goodbyes to Lara Jean Song Covey and all the people she’s brought into our lives (more importantly, Peter K.).
I read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, the first book of this series, a few years back and remembered how much I liked it. It was cute and fluffy, a great reminder of how it was like to have crushes when you’re still really young. Plus, Jenny Han did bring us Peter Kavinsky, that boy we all knew and had in our lives: the popular one, the handsomest of all the handsome boys in school.
When the second book came, I may be one of those who felt a bit disappointed, just because it sort of fell short of the delight the first book gave. So naturally, when Always and Forever, Lara Jean presented itself to me, I was a bit hesitant.
I asked myself, do I still want to dive back in to this world and give it another shot?
I did. And the good news is: I am so glad to have done it.
Always and Forever, Lara Jean takes on Lara Jean’s senior year. So that means dreading the results of her college applications, prom, and whether or not she and Peter K would stay together. They have a plan, of course, but we all know that not all plans push through. As I was breezing through this book, I just had to pause because ooof, can’t Lara Jean catch a break? What a tough year she’s been having!
Then again, they say hardships are good for character building and my god, did Lara Jean grow up or what. The book for me was a bit slow until its 60-70% mark, and this is where I started rooting for Lara Jean the most. Honestly, I dived back to this series for Peter Kavinsky, because the boy can deliver a swoon fest, but nothing beats the pride I felt for Lara Jean when she finally listened to all the things her mentors (Margot, her late mom, Stormy, the women in her life basically) had been telling her all this time.
And when she did it, it was swift and certain: decided like an adult that she is becoming. I think everyone who’s been with Lara Jean from Book 1 will be extremely proud of her.
But we still have our Peter, and that torturous question that has been looming around the entirety of this book: will they stay together?
Peter and Lara Jean were skirting around the idea, making vague plans on how they can make it work, throwing words like “we’ll figure it out.” I can’t tell if I’m sad or jealous of their naivety, but towards the end, as much as I am all for Lara Jean going off to pursue her own path without thinking of Peter to hold her back, I can’t help but root for the boy and for them.
I’m still in a puddle of emotion because not only did this book gave me enough reasons to swoon for days, but it also left a great message that I think young girls would appreciate. I’m not a young girl, but hey, it’s never too late to hear some things that could help you with your decision-making.
Always and Forever, Lara Jean screams bittersweet, and it is the perfect piece to cap off the series. Now that’s how you say goodbye to your readers.
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Ivy Rodriguez likes to read Young Adult and Contemporary Romance novels. She works for the music industry by day and spends most of her nights with fictional friends.
[Thoughts and views expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not expressly reflect the views of Fully Booked. That said, we love our authors anyway.]