Always and Forever, Lara Jean – Saturday Discussion

“I guess that’s part of growing up, too–saying goodbye to the things you used to love.” ― Jenny Han, Always and Forever, Lara Jean


Synopsis

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

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?


Reviews

Eden: I know I’m new to the Lara Jean party, but guys I feel like I waited for Always and Forever, Lara Jean for a long time. And let’s be real, it was only a few months. As always, Jenny Han brought Lara Jean to life as the person I wish I could be. Even more, she gave me the massive dose of Kitty that I needed. Thanks for the last of the series, Han. It was worth the wait. 4/5 stars.

Caitlynn: Jenny Han gave us Lara Jean fans just what we needed in this last book. I’m so glad we got to see this year of Lara Jean’s life and I’m so happy with the ending. 4.5/5 stars.

Jenn: When I heard we were receiving a third book for the Lara Jean series I was ecstatic. This book was a good conclusion to the series. I didn’t enjoy it as much I hoped. However it made me nostalgic and I liked it. 4/5 stars. 


Discussion

Jenn: I gave it 5/5. Wait no. I gave it 4/5.

Caitlynn: I gave it 4.5/5.

Eden: I said 4/5. Reason for your ratings?

J: It was a good ending to the trilogy, but it wasn’t my favorite. I don’t think it held up as well to the other books as I’d hoped it would.

E: Yeah, and I was so hyped about this book. I think that’s what played into my– I don’t want to say I was disappointed. I wasn’t disappointed. It just wasn’t all that I’d hoped it would be.

J: About this book as a whole, I posted this thought on Goodreads: “This book feels the same way as end of high school feels: bittersweet and nostalgic.”

E: I agree with that.

J: Throughout the book I was nostalgic over her story as well as my experience in high school. I think those two things combined worked really well together. I kind of wish it would have been more about Lara Jean’s chapter in high school rather than what it ended up being about.

C: Or, you know, talk about the Korea trip a little bit! Like, it was like, “Ok, we’re going to Korea.” Next chapter: “Ok, we’re back.” I would have really liked to have read about that trip! That would have been so interesting! Overall it felt very– she had an end point. She had an end game. She had things that she wanted to touch on and there wasn’t really any Lara Jean to it.

E: Well, I think we got our Lara Jean’s greatest hits with her baking and the retirement home and John Ambrose McClaren. I think she hit some of the things people loved and then she moved on.

C: I almost would have preferred that Han wrote this one right as she was writing the other two.

J: My biggest issue was that it was too focused on ‘the relaitonship. The other two books, yeah they were definitely about her navigating those relationships, but it was more her finding herself in high school. This was only focused on how her relationship with Peter and John and everything was going. So instead of all the growing up we’d seen from her in the other two books, it looked like she regressed and that really bothered me about this novel.

E: And I did not like that our big issue was what will happen with Lara Jean and Peter when they go to college. I think we’ve established what will happen to Lara Jean and Peter when they go to college. The second book was all about their struggles–

J: And that can be a question, but it doesn’t have to be answered. That’s how life goes. As a reader, I don’t need to know if they’re going to stay together or not. What I need to know is where they are presently and what’s going on. It just didn’t feel true to Lara Jean who has worked her but off to get into college that she’s focused solely on her relationship with a guy.

C: I did appreciate that we did find out at the end what happened with their relationship. I mean, we don’t get a glimpse into the future, but at least there was a resolution to the question.

J: It just felt like Lara Jean was going through the motions of trying to figure out how she was going to stay with her boyfriend and nothing else. I didn’t like that. It just didn’t feel like Lara Jean to me.

E: I mean, Jenny Han created this for the fans. When it was originally written it was meant to be a duology. She knew what she wanted. She had an idea. She only came back to Lara Jean’s story because the fans wanted more. She even says in her authors note that it was specifically for her readers. It wasn’t because she had another story for Lara Jean, it was because she knew her fans wanted, maybe even needed, this story.

E Cont.: I liked it, I just got kind of bored halfway through. It wasn’t until the end that it really started getting juicy.

C: I feel like there could have been more romanticized parts. I feel like not enough was delved into enough.

E: I get that. I mean, I don’t care so much about the romance. However, I felt like the ending was rushed. We had a two page resolution to a bigger problem.

J: I think if the entire book had been told the way it’s told in the chapter when she goes to visit the school, I would have enjoyed it more. It was true to Lara Jean and it brought in new components and aspects of her life. That was so strong and I just wish the rest of the book played off that.

E: Also, this book made me like Chris more. The other books I was like, “Chris is kind of trashy,” and this book I just thought she was really cool and not a bad friend.

J: In the other books she was really narrow-minded. Everyone fell into certain categories and Lara Jean is this particular person. In this book we finally see more of her because Lara Jean speaks to her more.

E: Yeah she wasn’t just climbing through Lara Jean’s window for 10 minutes and then leaving.

J: I wish we would have seen more of Chris throughout more of the series after this book. And she ended up being the most level headed person out of everyone.

E: I know! She was the reason Lara Jean even considered another school!

E Cont.: We have to talk about Kitty because she is everyone’s favorite little sister.

C: Yes! I loved Kitty in this. She was just so Kitty. She did such a good job keeping to Kitty’s character and keeping her an individual in this book.

J: The Song sister’s together we’re really well done.

E: Kitty wearing a tux is just so classic Kitty.

C: Of course she wanted to wear a damn tux to a wedding where she was a bridesmaid.

E: Sweet baby Kitty.

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