Disclaimer: This is a review of all 3 books in the series by Jenny Han;
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
P.S. I Still Love You
Always and Forever, Lara Jean
I decided to read this very un-me series after falling in love with the Netflix movie version of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Lana Condor and Noah Centineo play Lara Jean and Peter so well that I really wanted to read more about them, and I was not disappointed. While YA romance is never going to be my go-to, these were mostly enjoyable, fun and heart-warming reads with some cute and quirky characters.
In the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series, Lara Jean Covey is the main character who has never had a boyfriend but has known what it’s like to be in love. So much so that she wrote and addressed 5 love letters to 5 different boys she has had intense crushes on. Through them being sent out ‘accidentally’, she ends up with a pretend boyfriend, Peter Kavinsky as she is avoiding having a conversation with one of the recipients. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to not fall in love with a pretend boyfriend for real. Book two follows her relationship with Peter blossom as another recipient of a letter returns to her life; John Ambrose is seemingly the perfect man, but can you love two people at once?
Book three considers Lara Jean’s decision of which college to attend and whether to stay closer to her boyfriend and family, or move away and risk losing her true love.
Why I like this series
Honestly, this series is a cute, quirky romance series which I think any fan of young adult coming-of-age stories and teen romance would enjoy. Lara Jean is an atypical teenager, preferring crafts and tea to parties and alcohol and she is a fun and wholesome character to follow. Peter Kavinsky brings out a rebellious side of her and allows her to explore the part of her personality which could get her in trouble. Friends Chris, Lucas and Pammy are all brilliant side characters whose lives and personalities are interesting and their support of Lara Jean through everything is amazing.
I also really enjoyed the storyline of the first book, as it is something a bit different and doesn’t always take the obvious path, making it unpredictable and entertaining. This continues in books 2 and 3, although I will say that a sense of a structured plot in book 3 feels lost to character and family development. I did love Chris and Lara Jean’s road trip in this book though. I loved reading as Lara Jean stumbled through making tough life decisions as we all do, often coming across as frustrating, but reminding me a lot of myself at that age.
Family is what is truly wholesome about this series, though. Lara Jean and sisters Kitty and Margot are the Song girls, who must watch out for one another as their mother is no longer around. Their single father is very sweet and loving and this is a family I loved watching in the movie as well as reading about.
Overall, this is a lovely young adult romance series which considers the path less taken and how love and decisions really feel as a teenager. Lara Jean Covey is a quirky, relatable teenager who I would love to see grown up running a bakery with little sister Kitty being a celebrity hair stylist, and older sister Margot travelling the world. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a wholesome young adult romance with a strong familial element and cultural references to Korea.