I finally did it! I finished the Lara Jean trilogy by Jenny Han! It’s been quite a while since I finished a series, and I credit audiobooks with this recent development of mine. I listened to all three of these books, and you can check out my reviews of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You if you’d like.
I must admit that I have mixed feelings about this final installment in the trilogy. To try to sort through my thoughts, I’ve written a pros and cons list:
+ PROS +
- I really like the relationship between Lara Jean’s father and their neighbor. Han is realistic about its effects on the family, meaning that not everything is rosy and positive. While Kitty adores Trina and Lara Jean is happy that her father is in a relationship after so many years, Margo comes home from Scotland to find that she feels like a stranger in her own childhood home. The family dynamics in this book are complicated and messy, just like they are in real life. It’s refreshing to read something more reflective of reality than a lot of fiction is, especially in the young adult genre.
- I was not expecting to feel so many emotions while reading this book, but BOY OH BOY was it emotional. Reading about Lara Jean’s last few days of high school made me feel quite nostalgic, but more so about college than high school (I wasn’t a huge fan of high school…). Han perfectly captures the excitement of graduating, the nerve-wracking uncertainty of the college application process, and the invincibility you feel on that last day of school.
- This next point may be considered a spoiler, so you have been warned… but I’m glad that Lara Jean and Peter didn’t end up having sex. That scene felt so forced and out of place. Han showed that it’s not necessary to lose your virginity before you go off to college–and it should never be in the context of trying to mend a relationship.
– CONS –
- Okay, I’m just going to get it out there: I’m not a huge fan of Peter. Honestly, I Think Lara Jean deserves someone more thoguhtful and caring than Peter, but that’s just me. I was secretly rooting for John Ambrose McClaren in this saga, but unfortunately that ship never sailed. And the ending? So, so sudden and idealistic.
- This third book lacked so much of what I loved about the second book: What happened to the friend group that met in the tree house? Or the boys Lara Jean was writing letters back and forth with? And Stormy and everyone else living at Belleview fell off the face of the earth until suddenly Stormy was dead? Particularly in Stormy’s case, it felt like Han had forgotten all about that plot line until two-thirds of the way through this book she was like “well, I have to wrap it up somehow!” It felt like the core of this story was missing.
Overall, I did enjoy Always and Forever, Lara Jean despite my conflicting feelings about Lara Jean’s relationship with Peter and how certain elements of this series seemed to be forgotten. I’m so glad I read this entire trilogy–so, so, so much better than Han’s earlier summer trilogy, in my opinion (you can read my review of that here.) Would definitely recommend!
Have you read this trilogy before? What do you think of Jenny Han’s other books? Are you a fan of Peter? Let me know in the comments section below!