Everyone knows that Jenny Han is one of my favourite contempary writers, so when I heard the To All the Boys I Heard Before duology was being extended to a trilogy, I was so thrilled. Then came the title and cover (which I adored!) and I became more and more nervous that this one wouldn't live up to my expectations. This week, I finally completed the trilogy, and I'm so happy to say that the last book in the trilogy lived up to my every expectation, making this one of my favourite contemporary series of all time. As soon as I finished, I knew I just had to write a series review, so here is one, complete with my incoherent ramblings about how much I adore these characters.
(Warning - there may be mild spoilers ahead!)
So, without further ado, here are the reasons why I adore this book so much:
Honestly, Jenny Han may well have written some of my favourite characters of all time. Lara Jean is so sweet and innocent, and has the most amazing sense of humour. Most of all, she feels REAL. She has hobbies, she feels deeply, and she is so insanely relatable. Peter K is cute, and a great boyfriend, but has faults. My favourites of all have to be Lara Jean's family. I adore Kitty, Margot, Trina and Lara's Dad so much. Jenny Han just has a knack for writing family dynamics that I have never seen before. The dialogue is natural, and never feels forced, and Kitty, the youngest, is portrayed perfectly as a child. Even more minor characters such as Josh, Chris and John are fully fleshed out and beautifully portrayed.
One of my favourite things about this book is the romance. It's a slow burn in the first book, but quickly heats up to become one of sweetest love stories I've ever read. It's romantic, but not cheesy, and Peter and Lara Jean's banter is adorable (especially the parts where Lara Jean educates Peter on all things Harry Potter!). All conflicts in the relationship are realistic and don't feel forced, and are pefectly foreshadowed. I also love the way the couple respect each other and take things slowly, which is rarely seen in YA. I love it!
I love the diversity in this story. Learning about Lara Jean's Korean culture and customs from her Mom was so informative for me and I love the way this was integrated into the story. I wish we could have gotten to hear more about Lara Jean's mother and grandmother.
School life is portrayed exactly how I remembered it to be for me in this novel! It brought back all the memories of the cattiness of teenagers and the gossiping and the overwhelming feelings of first love. I love the way Lara Jean was so studious, and I loved her school friends and how different they all were, from Chris to Lucas. The final great part of the school description was during the final book, Always and Forever Lara Jean: the college applications. I related to this part so hard, and the stress, excitement and confusion of applying to college.
One of my favourite aspects of this book is the description of all of Lara Jean's various items of baking. All those cookies and cupcakes and cakes - it's just so amazing and gives the book such a cutsie feel. One of my favourite parts of the final book in the trilogy is Lara Jean's search for the perfect cookie recipe. I was living for all those wonderful descriptions of rich, sumptuous cookies!
- “When someone's been gone a long time, at first you save up all the things you want to tell them. You try to keep track of everything in your head. But it's like trying to hold on to a fistful of sand: all the little bits slip out of your hands, and then you're just clutching air and grit.”
- ““Love is scary: it changes; it can go away. That's the part of the risk. I don't want to be scared anymore.”
- “So I take Peter’s hand; I put it on my heart. I tell him, “You have to take good care of this, because it’s yours."
- “Kitty's always saying how origin stories are important. At college, when people ask us how we met, how will we answer them? The short story is, we grew up together. But that's more Josh's and my story. High school sweet-hearts? That's Peter and Gen's story. So what's ours, then? I suppose I'll say it all started with a love letter.
I love these books so much. Have you guys read them? If not, I hope I have convinced you! Let me know if I have! If so, please leave a comment so we can collectively fangirl ^-^