🌻 To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1 – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Content/Trigger Warnings: Ableist language, slut shaming, suicide joke, cheating/implied cheating, adultery
“People come in and out of your life. For a time they are your world; they are everything. And then one day they’re not. There’s no telling how long you will have them near.”
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?
Synopsis from GoodReads
Lara Jean wasn’t expecting to truly be this in love with Peter. When things get more than messy, Lara Jean is forced to look deep inside herself to figure out what she really and truly wants. Scandalous videos, time capsules, dream boys from the past, and snowy kisses – P.S. I Still Love You is about to deliver all the things that can really happen in a small town with a girl growing up and walking her own path.
Okay friends, let me be honest for a minute. I think I’m the odd one out because so many of my trusted friends really loved this book or swears this is the best book of all three. However, I think I was expecting so much more from this book. I can’t pin point the exact thing because it feels like a number of little things added up to me rating this book somewhere in the middle. It just really felt like it was missing something, an extra umph, if you know what I mean.
For starters, don’t think I disliked this book. There were some many parts and moments that I feel in love with. For example, when Kitty takes Lara Jean’s side and supports her sister or the moment Lara Jean and Kitty have a heart to heart during Kitty’s birthday party. There were so many heartwarming, sweet moments scattered throughout this entire book. I really loved them. I even loved the parts where Lara Jean’s sisters rallied to her defense with the leaked video. I love a good moment between siblings where they rally to each other.
I think what I really and truly loved in this book was the amount of diversity we see shine through. We, as the readers, get to explore and see more into Lara Jean’s culture and family traditions. It’s such a rare, but beautiful thing that authors should do more often in their books. We also get a minor gay character. Thank you Jenny Han for adding that character and making them appear more frequent in this book!
“So much of love is chance. There’s something scary and wonderful about that.”
And let me take this moment to say this… Team John Ambrose McClaren. I love a character who is romantic, appreciates a girl for who she is (flaws and all), acts like a gentleman, and loves a good homemade cake, but has the class to back it all up and throw down when others want to be jerks. I loved him, I adore him, and I regret nothing by choosing him over Peter. He was the real V.I.P. of this book and his character made everything feel more entertaining, more interesting. I think he was the only character that I felt an attachment to in this book. Plus, he hand wrote letters back to Lara Jean. And there were some really good moments with John Ambrose and Lara Jean that made me all soft and swoony. I just really loved his character.
Aside from all this good, those little things that were bothersome were really hard to forget. My two biggest issues are the ones that bothered the most. For starters, Peter’s attitude and how he handled a lot of situations. There were moments in this book had me going, “Did you really just do that? Did you really just act like that?” I let a lot of his behavior slide and convinced myself he was just being protective or jealous, but for me, it reached a point where I was over it and I just wanted to wash my hands of him. The second issue I had was that one little scene with Genevieve’s father and Anna Hicks. Something about an older man with a daughter and a girl the same age as man’s said daughter gives me icky vibes. I don’t want to get into details, but it gave me little tingles of creepy. Everything else that followed were minor things like the beginning feeling like an extended epilogue, Lara Jean leading John Ambrose McClaren on, Kitty coming off as an un-supportive sister, Lara Jean badgering Josh about his new girlfriend, etc… it all just added up to an un-fun time and I didn’t like it. It was annoying and it felt like filler to fill the void in the empty space until something suspenseful or drama filled happened. Not my cup of tea.
Overall, I did like this book, but there were very problematic things that happened in this book that completely turned me off from reading it at certain points. I definitely have to say that John Ambrose was a huge highlight for this book and probably one of the most exciting things that has happened (in a positive light) that has left an impression with me. Otherwise, parts felt dragged out or like a lot of fluff has been added just for the sake of having things happen. However, as someone who did enjoy the first book, I would recommend picking this book up. There are truly some wonderful moments just like the first book had that will make your heart all soft and mushy. On the the other hand, if you’re someone who really didn’t enjoy the first book or thought it was just “meh” then I don’t recommend reading this book anytime soon. It definitely had great moments just like the first, but it definitely leaves you with a desire for more than what you actually get.
“If two people are meant to be, they’ll find their way to each other.”