Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before #2
Published by Simon and Schuster on May 26th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Dating & Sex, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Amazon // The Book Depository
Given the way love turned her heart in the New York Times bestselling To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, which SLJ called a “lovely, lighthearted romance,” it’s no surprise that Lara Jean still has letters to write.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 Times bestseller 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 makes it so amazing.
i enjoyed this book more than the first, but i was still hoping for more.
ugh, i wanted to love this book – i really did! but i felt it was missing that extra umph. i can’t exactly pinpoint what it was, but there were so many scenes that felt a little unfinished. in terms of writing, the pages and paragraphs usually didn’t go into detail about what was really going on. we’d follow lara jean’s trail of thoughts, but it also felt like she cut out some stuff. i’m fairly sure it was the same in the first novel, but i didn’t notice it. because everything wasn’t as descriptive, time moved very quickly. an entire day’s activities can be over within one or two pages. it bothered me a bit how the story didn’t feel very connected, and it was more like, “this happened, then that happened, then this happened, then the end.”
“Dear Peter, I miss you.”
– page 1, first sentence
a lot of people (including myself) were complaining about how lara jean acted immature for her age in the first novel, and i’m glad to say she got better. slightly better. she’s acted thirteen instead of seven, which is a huge improvement. actually, i grew to like and enjoy her childish personality. she becomes a bit more snarky and sarcastic, which adds some humor to the novel. (YAY!) although lara jean is naïve, she’s very much lara jean. i used to think she was easily influenced and changed by others, but no, she’s very much herself. in the first book, i feel like we only got a taste of how some characters were and now we truly know them.
the first half of the novel was really slow. it felt more like an extended epilogue than the start of a whole new book. if we added the first ten chapters to the end of to all the boy i’ve loved before, we could’ve finished it. but, of course, we needed a new cover, more drama, and some other stuff to make things a little more interesting.
“I suppose you can’t hold on to old things just for the sake of holding on.”
– pg. 29
what i really and truly love about this book was the amount of diversity shining through. we get to explore more into lara jean’s korean culture and family traditions, which is beautiful and rare to see in books. there’s also a minor gay character, as well as a feminist. thank you, jenny han, for adding in these tiny details that make the world of a difference!
based on the summary, i knew there was going to be a love triangle. *sigh* i really don’t like love triangles. AT ALL. this wasn’t the worst i’ve seen (echm the selection), but it wasn’t the best either. i think it’s mostly because the love triangle was almost non-existent. it was there, but it was subtle, and i didn’t think it was all THAT important. the summary made it seem like it was the sole purpose of the novel; it wasn’t. (YAY)
overall, i enjoyed the novel but i wasn’t emotionally attached to anyone or anything. the romance wasn’t particularly cute, and i felt like there were some parts that were really exaggerated. i don’t see myself rereading the whole thing, but maybe some of my favorite parts. if you really enjoyed the previous novel, i think it’s worth picking this one up. however, if you thought it was “meh” then i wouldn’t highly recommend putting this at the top of your tbr. it was certainly better, but still didn’t live up to my expectations.
UPDATE: so i went on the tumblr tag and realized my undying obsession with this duology (specifically triggered by this post and this post. SQUEEEE.). although the plot was a little meh, and the writing was a little meh, EVERYTHING ELSE WAS SO CUTE AND GOOD. i hadn’t really realized how much i love this series until i saw all the beautiful graphics and everything. so good, and so adorable. lara jean song is my aesthetic. <3333 CONCLUSION: i have a love-hate relationship with this series.
spoiler-filled discussion beginning! please do not read it unless you’ve finished the book!!
View Spoiler » lara jean and peter’s relationship in this novel was rocky and annoying. the majority of it was… their hot tub video going viral (that was morbid), geniveive being annoying, fight, break up, john thrown into the mix to spice things up, and finally them getting back together. um…????? personally, i thought there was too much going on and the love triangle was NOT NECESSARY. there was enough drama as is with the video and gen and trust issues, but there was a love triangle squeezed in around 60% into the book. if you wanted to focus on the love triangle, then the hot tub video could’ve been less focused on. it was just… too much.
can we take a moment to appreciate john?! i’m totally team john, and not team peter. #sorrynotsorry but john was so adorable and understanding. he shone through peter’s flaws (though peter shone through HIS flaws). i felt more chemistry between lara jean and john though they only had a few moments together. each time, i could feel them in sync with one another and their personalities compliment each other so well. it was beautiful and glorious and downright cruel. why would jenny han create such a beautiful character, and not have lara jean end up with him unless it was to physically hurt readers? (i think that may have been her life goal.) (she succeeded. it seriously hurt.) in another life, i believe lara jean ended up with john. the idea of their relationship seems so everlasting. even after this entire novel, i can still imagine lara jean and peter fighting and ending after/before high school. i could create a super long list of reasons why i like lara jean/john better than lara jean/peter, but i think that would annoy you so i’ll stop here. (but please tell me i’m not the only one rooting for john)
when margo and lara jean first talk about working at belleview, i’d dismissed it as a small fact that wouldn’t be important later. i was sooooo wrong. in fact, many of my favorite chapters are at belleview. (probably because john and lara jean at belleview are the CUTEST.) my favorite side character was definitely stormy. scenes with her are hilarious and filled with life. from the moment she mentioned her grandson, i KNEW it was going to be john. how could it not? my favorite part of the entire novel is when lara jean and john sleepover at belleview. i could not stop smiling at that part.
the family love in this novel was well, lovely. i’d complained about margo in the previous novel, but i don’t think we got to truly see her character until this one. before, lara jean would talk about how margo was precious and perfect, but we’d never see it. now, we can finally see that margo is truly and awesome sister. kitty was fabulous as well. she’s matured with lara jean. the sister relationship between these three are GOALS. it was also the cutest thing how they were all trying to set their dad up with ms. rothschild. *squeal* i love their family.
once they start playing that game with the time capsule, things get interesting. before that, i felt like it was a little unexciting. i’d love to play it irl with some of my friends because it sounds SO FUN. everything else up to that point was a little boring, or maybe that game was extremely exciting. i’d only wish it lasted longer.
anyway, what was your favorite part?
« Hide Spoiler