Review: Always and Forever Lara Jean, Jenny Han

This review does not contain any spoilers for the previous books in the series. Read with no fear.

The story of Lara Jean is one of these stories that many readers and bloggers loved, and others did not really see the appeal in. I am part of the first group here. As a contemporary lover, I could not not fall in love with this story and, from the first book, I was charmed by the Covey family, Lara Jean’s old spirit and everything else going around it all. Obviously, I was eager when I heard there would be a third addition to the series, and I wasn’t disappointed after closing the last page of this book: on the contrary, I felt satisfaction, a bit of melancholy and sadness but overall, I felt good.

A BITTERSWEET STORY ABOUT ALL OF THE “LASTS” OF HIGH SCHOOL

β€œI guess that’s part of growing up, too–saying goodbye to the things you used to love.”

πŸ’­

Lara Jean’s story isn’t one to read if you’re looking for non-stop action and terrible dramas of sorts. This series of books, and the last one, would not deliver for sure. On the slow spectrum of contemporary books, this story, especially this latter book, is more of a life story than an epic journey ; however, how often do you encounter book you can actually relate to this much because it just feels like the way your life is? (Certainly not mine, as I left high school a bit long ago now, but still, RELATABLE).

In this last book, Lara Jean is on her senior year of high school, eagerly waiting for her acceptance letters to university, in love with her boyfriend Peter, surrounded by her sisters– one physically here, the other by Skype connections as she is studying in Scotland –, her father and the new woman in her dad’s life. Obviously, things will happen, life decisions will be made, everything will be changing and going not according to the plan because life seems to be that way for so many people.

This last Lara Jean book perfectly delivered all of the feelings about this particular period of life. If my experience was a bit different, as I didn’t go to high school in the USA, didn’t have prom and a different kind of process to go to university, I could relate and thought that the author perfectly grasped the feelings of that period of uncertainty, stressful moments of life-changing decisions, being on the verge of such a big change and everything else that goes with it. Filled with melancholy, sadness, questions of leaving people behind or not, leaving everything you have ever known… This story was a bittersweet goodbye to teenagehood, as well as a bittersweet goodbye to the Lara Jean series and story, which is something I loved so much and made me tear up a little bit, I will admit it.

 

A STRONG, RELATABLE CAST OF CHARACTERS

πŸ’­

What makes this story and series so strong, is the cast of characters. As in any contemporary, characters are the most important thing, and Jenny Han built someone just so relatable – for me – that I couldn’t help but root for her from page one, and feel for her until the very end of the story. Lara Jean is, for me, one of the most relatable characters in young adult contemporaries. She bakes. She reads. She goes home and stays in her pajamas and care about baking the perfect cookie. She’s so, homey; and why aren’t characters more like that? I wonder, because I loved her, and being this way did not make Lara Jean boring in any single way, on the contrary. I felt for her even more because she felt so…normal.

Family bonds in this story are so strong they made my heart burst with happiness. They are very strong and a major part of the story: sister bonds, the presence of the new woman in the father’s life, changes, growing apart, distance, everything is taken into account and explored in the relationships. Lara Jean’s fathers is one of the greatest parent in young adult books, if you ask me: he is HERE (so that’s already something major, am I right?), but he also is everything a dad should be: caring, understanding but also worried, angry and everything else. He is a PARENT, basically.

SWEET AND REALISTIC RELATIONSHIP

πŸ’­

β€œI don’t want to forget any of this. The way he’s looking at me at this very moment. How, when he kisses me, I still get shivers down my back, every time. I want to hold on to everything so tight.”

I obviously can’t NOT talk about the love story, as it is a major part of the book as well. Peter and Lara Jean’s relationship grew from the first book to something natural, genuine, adorable and overall really sweet. I appreciated how they understood each other, how caring Peter was for Lara Jean. There were flaws, moments of misunderstandings, obviously, struggles, as in any relationships. The struggles growing stronger as the decisions to go away for college approached, the feelings growing and the dilemma surrounding each of them and the future of their relationship. Everything felt overall realistically handled, which I really enjoyed.

OVERALL

Always and Forever Lara Jean, was the perfect, bittersweet ending to this series. It was a quick read and it wasn’t perfect, at times obviously I got annoyed at the misunderstandings and everything else happening, but Jenny Han perfectly captured the melancholy and feelings of the β€œlasts” of high school. Definitely a series I would recommend if you love young adult contemporaries.

Final rating:Β  4 drops!

Β Do you want to read Always and Forever, Lara Jean? Did you read the series or would you be interested in reading it? Share your thoughts in comments!


Jenny Han, Always and forever, Lara Jean, Β Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, May 2nd 2017.

Β goodreads-badge-add-plus-fad3b68d35050280ea55d50f17c654b5

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 familyβ€”and possibly the boy she lovesβ€”behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. πŸ“š |🌍 | πŸ’ž Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

65 thoughts on “Review: Always and Forever Lara Jean, Jenny Han

  1. i read the series and totally loved it. oooh, peter kavinsky ❀ ❀ ❀ the feels nostalgic to me – from high school to relationship. even my guy friend loved this book. :—)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, I had that nostalgic feeling as well while reading this series! ❀ And Peter is such a great character and bookish boyfriend ❀ Thank you so much for your sweet comment ❀ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t got to this one yet, but I will. I have adored the Lara-Jean series. I think it’s so clever the way Jenny Han weaves serious issues (if I remember, the second book was a lot about slut shaming) into such a sweet story. Lara-Jean has always been adorable to me, and even though our personalities are very different, I have rooted for her since the beginning. Reading about all the change (even thinking about it, honestly) makes my heart hurt though. Like you said: bittersweet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m so glad you’re going to read that one soon. It is SO interesting and well-done, how the author manages to talk about important issues with such a light and sweet book, I love it. I hope you’ll love it as much as I did! Reading about all the change made my heart hurt as well, but it was still a good and relatable read. ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I just read the first book in the series and found it quite slow, but like you said I think my expectations weren’t accurate. These books, from what I’ve read and heard, are about the progression of normal life and the ways in which it beautiful and painful and lovely. Awesome review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much, Annie! I’m glad you agree – these books definitely aren’t filled with action and everything, they’re just…well, they feel like life πŸ™‚ thank you! ❀ Do you think you'll give the rest of the series a shot?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is one of the first contemporary series that I liked (although I’m still not a huge fan of contemp). I read the first one a while back, but never got the second one. I think I might give it another go though!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, what a wonderful review, Marie! I still have to read this book, but I’m really looking forward to it! Lara Jean’s story has been so cute and adorable, and definitely relatable! I LOOOVE the family dynamic and could not agree more about this whole series being a “life journey”! Great review again, Marie! πŸ™‚ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH thank you so much, May! I really hope you’ll want to give that one a try, it is SO adoable and relatable. There are many contemporaries out there, but not too many feel as relatable and as, like our own lives, than that one. Thank you! ❀ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Marie!

    Great review and thanks for sharing!
    I’ve heard good things about Jenny Han’s books though I haven’t had the chance to read them yet. That’s great to hear that you enjoyed the book. I might give it a try πŸ™‚

    I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award:
    https://sophiexli.wordpress.com/2017/07/21/100-followers-and-the-versatile-blogger-award/
    Though I would not be surprised at all if you’ve been nominated for this one already πŸ™‚

    Cheers,
    Sophie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh this makes me so happy! I didn’t re-read the books before getting into that one but I didn’t feel too lost ahah, thankfully. I really love how relatable this series is and the characters are adorable ❀ I hope you'll love that ending πŸ™‚ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. How are you feeling regarding the characters for the movie? I know there’s alot of mixed feelings regarding the casting but I am happy with Janel Parish because she was so good as Mona as PLL I think she can do a great job! This book will be on my next book haul for sure! After I read the books I’ve got sat on my shelves from ages ago aha!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. For now, I’m feeling… okay with it, I think? There has been TONS of mixed feelings indeed and I don’t even dare speaking up, but…I’m more of a “wait and see” kind of person. I really liked Janel in PLL as well and I’m curious to see how she does in that one πŸ™‚

        Like

  7. YAY MARIE. I loved Always and Forever, Lara Jean SO much. It was my favourite of the trilogy, and it was just so… I don’t know. I felt like Lara Jean would be okay in the end, no matter what life and college throws at her. I’m so happy you liked this one. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES! I got the exact same feeling, that everything would be okay and it all felt bittersweet and right, in the end. I loved that so much ❀ Thank you so much! ❀

      Like

  8. This was such a lovely review. I got some tears just thinking about what you said up there — “A BITTERSWEET STORY ABOUT ALL OF THE β€œLASTS” OF HIGH SCHOOL”, because it will also be the last of Lara Jean. *sob*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you, I’m so glad you enjoyed this! ❀ It's so sad that it is the end of Lara Jean,but it was such a lovely series, one you can re-read for sure a lot πŸ™‚ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  9. YES this was such a fantastic and cute conclusion and I loved that we got another book. Lara Jean was a lot more grown up in this book and I was so thankful to have one last hurray before the series ended for good. I’ll miss the characters a lot but hopefully Jenny Han has something else she’s working on! Thanks for sharing Marie! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, I was glad to have a bit more of Lara Jean just as well with this last book – it was a perfect ending to the series πŸ™‚ I’ll definitely look forward anything Jenny Han does next as well; Thank you so much, Anisha! ❀ ❀

      Like

  10. Great review for this book Marie. πŸ™‚ ❀ I haven't actually seen many so far for Always and Forever Lara Jean which strikes me as a little weird because I feel like so many people on WordPress were talking about how much they loved the first two in the series.
    I still need to get around to reading this one, but I have a copy on my Kindle ready to go. I'm really glad you enjoyed it. I know you were a massive fan of the first two books so I wouldn't want the last one to be disappointing, also I'm very glad to hear Lara Jean's family played a part in this story, that they're still a close family, because I loved that dynamic in the first two books. πŸ™‚
    Again great review! πŸ˜€ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much, Beth! Strangely, I was thinking the same thing – I have heard tons of good things from the community about the books, but have read like, two reviews about that last installment. I think it was really a great ending, which makes me a bit sad it’s not as hyped as it could be.
      I hope you’ll love it as much as I did, Beth! ❀ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right! πŸ˜€ I guess not many people have gotten around to this one yet. It’s weird because talking about hyped books earlier I haven’t seen too much hype for this and I did think it would be everywhere. As long as it’s a great ending right?
        Thanks Marie ❀ I hope so too! πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Same! I thought that one would be EVERYWHERE and I was surprised by how little I heard about it. I guess we’ll be hearing more of it now that there is a movie? πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  11. This review is wonderful!! It makes me want to read the book. I actually put it on hold at my library at one point, but there are like ten people waiting before me. Someday I will read it though!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I was a bit meh about To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before so I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to continue the series, but seeing your 4/5 rating definitely makes me want to give it a try. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m really happy to hear that πŸ™‚ If you’re ever feeling like reading a sweet, quick contemporary story, I’d recommend all the books for sure. The family is so fantastic in this story ❀ Thank you so much, Zoe! ❀

      Like

    1. Ohh, why are you feeling a bit hesitant, if I can ask? πŸ™‚ I thought that last book was really good, bittersweet for sure, but a great ending to the series and goodbye to the characters! πŸ™‚

      Like

      1. Ohh, I get it :/ I thought that it was a good ending to the series, though, it was a nice way to wrap everything up with Lara Jean and Peter for sure. I hope you’ll give it a chance someday πŸ™‚

        Like

  13. I’m mainly a reader of fantasy (hence the name of my blog, HA), but I’m trying to be daring and branch out into some contemporaries and this trilogy is first on my list! I have heard so many great things about them and I can feel my heart reaching out (let’s face it, I’m here because of the delicious food mentioned in the books….at least, people TELL me there’s food, but that might just be to get me to read them.) All silliness aside, I loved this review, and I hope to read these soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohh I’m glad to hear it! I’m trying to get more and more into fantasy so maybe we can trade recommendations πŸ˜›
      I hope you’ll read and enjoy this series as much as I did – it is filled with love, realistic characters and YES delicious FOOD πŸ˜› Thank you so much! ❀ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Ahh I’m so glad this was satisfying- cos I love Lara Jean!! And I love how this addresses that feeling of change you get at the end of high school. and I’m so so glad to hear that the characters and family dynamic (especially the sister relationships) continue to be so strong in this book!! That was always my favourite thing about this series! I’m really looking forward to this now!! Awesome review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES – well if you love the family dynamics in this series, you will still enjoy that one a lot. It’s one of the best things about this series for sure, and something that’s missing in some contemporaries. I love how strong the family ties are ❀
      Thank you so much! ❀ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I am so happy that you enjoyed this one! I think that this is one of my all time favourite series. It really is just a perfect contemporary. Family is my favourite theme in YA and Han really knows how to write about it. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m SO happy you love this series as well! I agree – it is so great to read about such a beautiful, close and overall great family ❀ Thank you so much! ❀ ❀

      Like

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