Summary (from the publisher):
Lara Jean is having the best senior year.
And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.
Life couldn’t be more perfect!
At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks . . . until she gets some unexpected news.
Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Always & Forever, Lara Jean will always & forever put the biggest smile on my face.
I feel like I’ve been saying I’ve been wanting to reread my favorite book in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series forever… which is kind’ve true because this was my first time rereading the book since I first read it in 2017! I totally blame, but am also super grateful for the trailer drop of the Always and Forever, Lara Jean Netflix adaptation for finally motivating me to pick it up. I could tell from the trailer that there are definitely going to be some changes from the book & film, which I figured based on how the movies have differed from the books – for example, the movies take place in the Pacific Northwest and not Virginia, which will be a major factor in Lara Jean’s college decisions. However, despite the changes, I feel that the films do really capture the hearts of the books, and I can’t wait to see Always & Forever, Lara Jean on screen.
One of the reasons why I absolutely love this book is because I relate so much to Lara Jean’s feels leaving high school. I even felt some of the same emotions during my first two years of college – leaving home for the first time, starting new friendships, and trying to figure out how to maintain relationships at the same time. I slightly forgot that much of Lara Jean’s worrying about the future has to do with Peter, but there is a balance between their romance and Lara Jean’s college decisions and love for her family.
What was new this reread was that I actually felt so much for Margot too. Margot is trying to figure out her life as a college adult too, including the very hard transition from being at school and getting to do whatever you want to then adjusting back to life under your parent’s roof. Margot also struggles to come to terms with her dad and Trina’s relationship, since that has changes the family dynamic Margot has always known. As always, Kitty made me laugh with her quick remarks and sarcasm. I know Jenny Han wrote in her acknowledgements that this is her last book about Lara Jean, but I’m still hopeful that she’ll write some sort of spin-off series following a teenage Kitty – which of course would include a life update from what I think would be a soon-to-be college graduate Lara Jean.
Towards the end of my reread, I also picked up more on the idea that Lara Jean wants everything to stay the same as much as possible, like being close to home and spending maximum time with Peter, even when she’s in college. When it comes to the end of high school, she wants everything to be the perfect ending – the perfect wedding for her dad, the perfect goodbye to Chris, the perfect prom dress, the perfect night with Peter, etc. I think so many of us always imagine the way significant moments should play out in our heads, and it was really wholesome to see Lara Jean overcome this feeling and still have so many good memories as a high school senior.
Overall, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before will always be one of my all-time favorite book series. Lara Jean is the most relatable YA character I’ve ever encountered, even now being a twenty-something myself. This farewell book really always be super meaningful to me. I plan on re-watching the film adaptations of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You before diving into Always & Forever, Lara Jean on February 12th, either the week leading up to the premiere or maybe having a marathon that Friday!
If you want more Always & Forever, Lara Jean, check out my review from when I first read the book in 2017.
Have you read the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series? What is your favorite book int eh trilogy? Are you a fan of the movies? Share in the comments!