Jun 25, 2017

Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han


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Title: Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
Hardcover, 336 Pages
Published May 2nd, 2017



Summary: Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding. But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind. When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to? 

I've been a big fan of Jenny Han ever since I read To All The Boys I've Loved Before, so when I found out that she was going to be at BookCon signing copies of Always and Forever, Lara Jean, I was beyond excited. I was happy to begin with because this series was never expected to be a trilogy, so this was a nice little ending that tied up all of the loose ends that I wasn't expecting, and as always, the Song girls are always a delight to read about.

So at BookCon, Emily and I were walking around and just exploring the show floor before some signings, when we came across a short-looking line that didn't require much waiting, and we decided to jump on it just because. We couldn't see what the line led to, because it was around the bend...but it turns out that it was Jenny Han and Morgan Matson doing photo ops with fans, and then they were also serving coffee and cookies to fans, and giving away some super adorable swag and nail decals and stuff, so I got a chance to meet Jenny (and Morgan!) in person, and she was so sweet and adorable and was wearing the cutest outfit, and there entire little meetup was so great to go to, even if it was stumbled upon accidentally! Honestly, it was one of the highlights of the first day of BookCon for me.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing
Morgan, Me, and Jenny!

My boyfriend also took some adorable pictures of my swag and my signed copy of the book that I got at the event, and he takes really great photos, so check it out!

Image Credit: Santiago Rolon

Okay, now onto my actual review of the book itself. This is the final book in the trilogy, and it pretty much covers Lara Jean's senior year of high school. There are college applications (and then, of course, college decisions), prom, graduation, and even a wedding. Her and Peter's relationship seems to be on the upswing, but then something happens that they don't account for (which I won't spoil for you!), and things just get...tricky. Lara Jean, who absolutely hates change -- which I can totally relate to, because I'm the same way -- isn't ready for all of the ways that her life is about to 

As for what I really liked about this book, as always with Jenny Han's books, is that it's an adorable romance. I've shipped Peter and Lara Jean's relationship from the very beginning, even when things were a little rocky between them, and I especially loved how adorably Peter got along with Lara Jean's younger sister, Kitty, and just her family overall. I also see a lot of myself in Lara Jean, specifically with how she loves to get creative and plan things, and, as I just mentioned, how she hates change. I found this book very easy to relate to, possibly because I was in her shoes last year, with college decisions, actually going away to school (rather than only being 15 or so minutes from home, I'm a good hour and a half or so), people she was leaving behind, and all of the common stress and anxiety that just comes with going away to school. So I understood everything that Lara Jean was feeling, and all of the worries that came along with it.

It was just refreshing for me to look back through the senior year feelings and events that happened to me over an entire year ago. It felt nice to revisit them, which is what I really liked. Call me crazy, but I actually miss college applications, getting decisions, yearbooks, prom, and graduation. Today is actually an entire year since my graduation party, so yeah, I can definitely confirm that I miss it. And who better for me to experience it again with than Lara Jean? This book was honestly so adorable and lighthearted (even though it contained some serious moments), and I enjoyed it a lot. I finished this book in less than a day because I kept wanting to read more and more of Lara Jean's final story, and I just couldn't tear myself away. 

By the time I finished the book, I felt satisfied. I'm usually pretty sad when a series is over for good, but I feel like all of my questions were answered. There are no loose ends left untied -- Jenny Han makes sure of that. I closed this book with a feeling of finality and satisfaction, while also feeling just the tiniest bit sad that this series and these characters that I have gone on to know and love are officially moving on. But I'm happy with the way that the book ended. I really am.

There was really only one thing that I wasn't crazy about this book, and that's what kept me from giving this book a little bit higher of a rating. I don't know if it's just something that I'm reading into too much (haha, #bookpuns), or if that was Jenny Han's intention all along, but at times I felt like Lara Jean was a lot less mature than she should be for her age. It just made the story hard to read at times, because during certain scenes I felt like Lara Jean's narrative voice sounded more like somebody who was in middle school than somebody who was about to graduate college and go off into the world as an adult. Maybe that's just Lara Jean's style, because it's definitely consistent throughout the three books, but that's really the one thing about her that I wasn't entirely in love with. 

Overall, I liked Always and Forever, Lara Jean. I feel like Jenny Han wrapped up the trilogy perfectly, and like I said, although I'm sad to see Lara Jean go, I'm glad that we got an extra book out of her adorable world and story. If Jenny Han writes some more stories in the future, you know that I'll definitely be on board to read them.




1 comment:

  1. How did I miss this coffee with Matson and Han when I was at BookCon!!! Sigh. I have always been onboard the Lara Jean and Peter ship, and because I have not heard of any uprisings, I am assuming (hoping?) Han didn't sink it.
    Sam @ WLABB

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