Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship continues, and this time, it’s real.
The first book of Jenny Han’s famous literary series, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” didn’t really live up to (my) expectations. But I still went on to read the second one, to give this story a chance.
I know I mentioned that the other guys from Lara Jean’s 5 letters (Kenny from Camp, Lucas from homecoming, and John Ambrose from Model UN) were “forgettable, and honestly, didn’t really matter in the whole book,” but there’s been a development here in P.S. I Still Love You. Was it for the better??
I will only share my opinions of the book, cleanly divided into 2 different sections: WHAT I LIKE and WHAT I DISLIKE.
Let’s get to it. What about P.S. I Still Love You:
Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?
In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Timesbestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.
WHAT I LIKE:
Interesting Return of John Ambrose MacLaren: …who we thought was already a ghost of Lara Jean’s letters. Right after we see LJ and Peter finally get together (for realsss this time!), Jenny Han leaped at the chance to introduce (or reintroduce) a character for another love triangle. Readers would know that Lara Jean already went to a Model UN conference with hopes of seeing John, in which she did; nothing really happened that time. The point was just to make sure that she meets another one of the guys from her letters. But nothing about them was eventful until now! I like John, but I certainly do not dig his awkward and “hand-me-down” relationship with Lara Jean. He’s so much MORE… he could be so much more for another girl other than LJ! One frustration of mine is the cliffhanger at the end of the book that literally points us to the direction of “INTENSE COMPETITION BETWEEN PETER AND JOHN,” but doesn’t happen in Book 3 (review will be on a separate blog post). I don’t know. I just think John is really charming. He gave the narrative spice this story needs, because if it’s just LJ and Peter, it wouldn’t be able to fill the whole book and we’ll have to settle with their dragging story. John is charming. Period.
Bickering Song sisters: Kitty is probably every big sister’s annoying little sister. She can be overwhelming at times – with her “I-can-get-away-with-anything” attitude, usually line-crossing comebacks, and snappy, and bitchy personality (plus their family is too nice), but you can’t deny that she’s got spunk! Never mind Margot, who is far, far away from home, so the bickering is pretty much between LJ and Kitty. Even with Peter, their funny interactions stay consistent. LJ and Kitty makes for the most relatable relationship in this book.
WHAT I DISLIKE:
Ex-girlfriend Baggage: While I’m happy that LJ and Peter finally set the record straight, and were both on the same page for a fresh relationship, I can’t help but be annoyed (a lot of times actually) at Peter. He carried a typical ex-girlfriend baggage that posed some negative effects in his new relationship. He wasn’t very wary about it, either. Most of the jealousy and conflict were because of Peter’s deception by omission, and him prioritizing the wrong people at this CERTAIN point of his life. The first book made it clear how Gen could be. She’s the girl who got the boy whipped. I think their interactions here proved that again, or else Peter wouldn’t have handled the situation the way he did. Hellooooo, LJ and Peter had an intimate moment in the hot tub (Eek!), then Gen videotaped it, submitted it to a famous Instagram profile (which btw, was pretty much like the Gossip Girl) so the whole school can feast on it, then had it replayed again at one of the school assemblies. Super bitch mode Gen! That was some major and serious BULLYING! Peter knew, and he still sided with his ex. Like, what? The only time he managed it oh so sweetly was during the presentation/assembly. I’ll give that to him. But still, even his unspoken words, and careful actions say a lot. He’s always crawling back to Gen, armed with a lame excuse of “just being there for her,” “protecting her,” and “trying to keep her sane because of a problem that isn’t his to tell.” Umm, okay!
Immature and annoying Lara Jean: I wasn’t fond of her from the very start, and P.S. I Still Love You made me take another step back. She’s so princess-y?? Immature?? Annoying? Her character may not deserve the hate she’s getting from me, but I can’t help it. Lara Jean is very annoying in the sense that she makes teenage readers believe that love is simply a stick-your-gut-out and you’ll-snag-a-hot-guy trick. It’s not. Love isn’t about wanting to feel lost in the moment with another guy when you and your main guy are fighting. Love isn’t about half-loving every guy you see, and saying with certainty that you can definitely be in love with more than one person at a time, then be mad if your main guy isn’t giving you the “respect you deserve.” Guuuurrl.
Absence of Plot: We jump from scene to scene, take a train to drama station, then collect random, and unnecessary plot points to create tension. Is that what this is? Nikka of Goodreads summed up the story (and added some gold commentaries) in her very funny review. I couldn’t think of a simpler, and more accurate summary than this one!
• Lara Jean Song Covey is a fragile, innocent, princess
• Peter Kavinsky is the complete opposite
• they’re dating
• they signed a contract. (be honest all the time; not break each other’s hearts, etc)
• they’re only 16
• Peter still hangs out with his ex-girlfriend Gen (also Lara Jean’s ex-bestie)
• this drives Lara Jean insane
• whenever Lara Jean asks Peter about Gen, he shrugs it off
• Peter gave Lara Jean a poem he claimed he wrote
• it was Edgar Allan Poe’s
• poor princess
• John, one of the boys Lara Jean has “loved before,” wrote her back
• DUN DUN DUN DUN
• the beginning of something terrible (and exciting. yes!)
• Peter never missed a lacrosse game. But for once, he did.
• and it was for Gen
• Peter is shit
• full of it
• Lara Jean and Peter broke up
• the reader (me) is ecstatic
• Peter thinks he’s the king of the world
• he still treats Lara Jean like garbage
• John and Lara Jean started hanging out
• they kiss
• “I think I could be a person who is in love with more than one person at a time.” – Lara Jean
• %!^#?*!%*#?$^*#!?^* !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
• Lara Jean is also full of shit
• Peter professed his love
• Lara Jean fell for it
• poor Johnny left behind
• Peter and Lara Jean ended up together
Hand me the TOTBILB series if we’re back in my Twilight-loving days, and I’d probably rate the two as good! But seriously, it’s not. What is it with Jenny Han and abrupt endings?
The only thing that keeps me going is the amusement I feel every time a character does something stupid, bitchy, annoying, or passable cute. And yep, not forgetting John MacLaren.
Rating: 1.75/5 If you love the series, then fine with me, I’m not judging. But this series isn’t for me (although I’ve continued up to the last book).
If you haven’t read my review of the first book, click here: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before