Warning: If you have not read “To All The Boys I’ve Ever Loved Before” and “P.S. I Still Love You” by Jenny Han, do not read this review if you want to avoid spoilers!
I’m back with another book review, and it’s another double book review for Jenny Hand’s “To All The Boys I’ve Ever Loved Before” and the sequel “P.S. I Still Love You!” I heard that the first book was being made into a movie, so I was interested in how the story was in book form. Since I’m reviewing both books, I will be rating them both individually! I would rate them altogether like I have done for past series, but apparently there’s a third book in this series (making it a trilogy) and so I can’t give an overall rating until I read the third book.
“To All The Boys I’ve Ever Loved Before”
Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about, according to goodreads:
“What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?
Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.”
Good news: Lara doesn’t have to constantly deal with all five boys at once, despite what the summary suggests. One of them is gay, so they’re not interested in her anyway, one of them isn’t even in-town because he moved out (though he returns in the sequel), and the third one…well, doesn’t reciprocate the feelings.
But then there are two boys to deal with, which is still complicated. There’s Josh, who was dating Lara’s sister Margot, and then there’s Peter.
And then there’s the fact that Genevieve, a classmate of Lara’s, used to date Peter. Peter needs to make it clear to Genevieve that he doesn’t want to be with her anymore. Lara wants to make sure Josh doesn’t take the letter seriously and make it look like she’s already in love with someone else. So, Peter and Lara start fake-dating for the whole rest of the book.
I wished Lara could be more mature about the situations she got thrown into. She is sixteen, I understand she’s still a teenager, but the way she behaves being so incredibly jealous about Genevieve and Peter’s past relationship makes her out to sound like she’s thirteen years old instead! The lack of maturity, her being innocent to the point of being annoying regarding the situations she’s stuck in throughout the book, made me lose my interest in her really quickly. Innocence is not always a bad thing, like how I liked Annika in the Guardians Trilogy partially for that trait, but I think it has to make sense in the context of the situation. Annika’s innocence made sense in the context of the Guardians Trilogy, because she was a mermaid and didn’t know much about the human world and how they term things as a result—but Lara Jean’s situation really didn’t mesh with her innocence-to-the-point-of-obliviousness, given that she’s a teenager in the modern, present-day world.
I also didn’t like Lara and Peter’s relationship. I felt like both of them were mutually treating each other rather cruelly. Also, the plotline later in the book about rumors spread about Peter and Lara having sex in the hot tub when in reality that didn’t happen was interesting when it got into a whole discussion about slut-shaming, and I thought that would go somewhere, but it just kind of went in circles instead of having an honest, full-out discussion, so that was disappointing as well.
Overall, I’m rating this 1.5 out of 5 stars.
“P.S. I Still Love You”
Here’s the summary so we know what it’s about, according to goodreads:
“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 what makes it so amazing.”
I thought the love triangles were over, but apparently not. Thankfully, Josh is not involved in this one as hugely as he was in the past one (though he does have a lot of drama with Margot regardless, unfortunately). Poor John, once he comes back to town, gets thrown into the drama of bad romance that is Peter and Lara all because of a game (which I won’t elaborate on for plot-spoilery reasons). I felt really bad for John, given how he was so sweet to Lara and even tried to stick up for her while Peter was treating her badly, and I was quite unhappy with the fact that Lara chose Peter, who has treated her badly and has not been honest with her for plot-related (and Genevieve-related) reasons, over John, who was sweet as heck and was honest with her about everything, including how bad he felt about not mentioning to Lara having seen the hot tub video earlier because he wasn’t sure how she’d take it (as well as the whole “timing-is-everything” thing). Given how there is a third book coming out, I hope Lara realizes exactly how bad she and Peter aren’t working and just get together with John already, or at least just break up with Peter.
Coupled with this drama was Genevieve being hugely jealous and trying to manipulate everyone to be crushed by her (especially Lara and Peter), and it’s fair to say that she never had any development from the last book. I was hoping that maybe Genevieve and Lara could have a talk where they end up realizing that Peter isn’t good enough for either of them, become friends again, and then get some kind of revenge on Peter for screwing with them both. This never happened, because Genevieve and Lara were just so caught up in their drama with each other and with Peter.
I also thought the whole ‘Anonybitch’ plotline was going to be a huge major thing and be the main plot, given how it took a lot of presence in the first quarter of the book, but this was quickly dropped. I was disappointed, because I wanted to see more consequences of that. I also noticed there was a lot of conversation involving slut-shaming (like how the rumors were spread about Peter and Lara having sex in the hot tub when in reality that didn’t happen) but I feel like those conversations went in circles like the last book instead of honestly having a full-out talk about it, so that was disappointing.
Overall, I’m rating this book 2 out of 5 stars, only getting that .5 increase from the last book because of John’s existence and the fact that he was a decent guy.
As I mentioned, I will not be giving an overall rating of the books until I get my hands on the third book. I hope this third one redeems itself for all the unnecessary drama from the first two books.