Title: Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Author: Jenny Han
Published by: Scholastic UK
Publication date: 4th May 2017
Pages: 325, paperback
Genre: young adult, contemporary, romance
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?
It’s been a while since I read the previous two books in this series, and I was really looking forward to reading the conclusion to Peter and Lara Jean’s story. I was able to get really stuck into this book, as Jenny Han’s writing style is really light-hearted and fun, so I read this in just a couple of days! (also, there may be a few spoilers in this review, which you can read if you wish by selecting the highlighted font!)
I really liked the theme of change throughout this book, which was presented in a number of ways, Lara Jean preparing for college being just one. I thought, especially since Lara Jean has always been a character who was preferred to be in the comfort of her own home, where things seldom changed, this allowed a lot of character development to be shown on her part. Which was a positive for me, as I did at times find Lara Jean to be a bit immature, and her wholesome image is not very realistic, so it was nice to see some development (although on the whole, I do like her character, and have grown rather attached throughout the trilogy).
Another thing I really enjoyed was Lara Jean and Peter’s love story; by the third book, their relationship has come a long way, and there is that perfect balance between portraying them as completely in love, and in a comfortable, semi-domestic relationship. I do think that, given the ending, all the build up of tension between them (as Lara Jean out of the blue seems to find more faults with him) was slightly unnecessary, but it ultimately did not detract from the story. And although there was a lot of focus on Lara Jean having to choose between Peter and her preferred school, that too, was resolved by the end of the book.
The thing I may have loved most about this book was seeing the development of all the characters. So often the secondary characters in YA seem to remain the same, even as the main character develops throughout the series. I loved that we got to see how Margot and Kitty grew up and changed too, as well as seeing how their family dynamic changed even more in this third and final book.
This was a wonderful conclusion to this trilogy, tying together any and all loose ends. Jenny Han’s stories and writing is adorable and I really enjoyed delving back into this story one last time.
(Thank you to Scholastic for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)