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Review: Always And Forever, Lara Jean

THANK GOODnEsSd for libraries. I got this nice new book for free as an eBook from my library on overdrive, and it was great. I didn’t have to buy it! And it was lovely! And I binge read the whole series in four days! Also, this will be a long review. Deal with it.

Title: Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Author: Jenny Han

Genre: YA contemporary

Themes: Growing up, relationships and boundaries, trying new things,

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My blurb: The end of high school is just around the corner, and Lara Jean has to start thinking about the future—what university she’ll go to and whether she should stay with Peter. Meanwhile, changes are happening at home and Lara Jean’s beginning to realize that growing up is hard.

I’ve said this in my review of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before but I find this really relatable. It’s so nice to have a biracial main character (I seriously will go for any book with an Indian or biracial main character, honestly), and also someone who likes to stay at home and actually does homework and enjoys things like baking and craft and knitting. Part of what Lara Jean learns from Peter is to come out of her shell, but I like that she doesn’t sacrifice who she is for him, and just tells him to deal with who she is. This book in particular was super relatable because it’s set in Lara Jean’s last few months of high school and the summer right after high school, which I’ve just experienced. Lara Jean’s stress about getting in to university and her feeling of last-ness are all things I also have been through, and I’m sure it’s not a coincidence that this was published in May (Shanti did a post about seasonal reading, btw).

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feat. my current knitting project, a very boring scarf

A lot of reviews complain about how Lara Jean is super immature and juvenile, but I didn’t think so. Like me (and a lot of other people), she sometimes liked ideas (like a super ethereal wedding with flower crowns or her boyfriend’s note in her yearbook being perfect) more than the real thing. Immature isn’t the same as just being a quiet yet strong heroine.

Lara Jean didn’t have sex with her boyfriend, which I really liked. She didn’t want to, which was a smart choice, and again, not that common in YA books. I definitely would be the same.

This book has also been critiscised for talking about too many unnecessary details. But that was one of my favourite parts. A lot of contemporary books skip the mundane parts of a character’s life, but (as Lara Jean says in P.S I Still Love You) the little, mundane parts are what make up a real life. I loved reading about Lara Jean baking or scrapbooking or tickling her little sister or watching Peter play lacrosse, because my ordinary life has those details. (Side note: Lara Jean bakes like ALL THE TIME. I just find it surprising that her father doesn’t lecture her about heart disease caused by eating buttery sugary foods as my doctor parents do. (plus, you know, the price of ingredients but hey whatever doctors make a lot of money))

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Not my best photo editing work, not gonna lie

I could talk about the ending (rather good) and the characters all day, but I want to discuss some of the themes instead.

  • Growing up and leaving home: It’s always going to be hard. But it can also be good, especially when you know you can come back to visit)
  • Family: Basically, sisters are the best, and family should always come first. Spending time with your family is a good thing to do, not dumb like most YA characters believe. I really liked the scenes with Kitty because she’s similar to my little sister. Even when you fight with your family, you always come back together. ❤ ❤ ❤ Also, leaving home means your family changes without you, but that’s okay too
  • Relationships: Change, especially as you grow up. It’s okay to let go of old relationships but still cherish them (like Lara Jean and Genevieve), and it’s also okay to keep the ones dearest to you as you move on with a new chapter of your life. (P.S It’s okay to break up with your boyfriend after high school, but it’s also okay to stay together)

Overall, I really enjoyed the tone of this book, the lovely weaving of themes, and Lara Jean’s loveliness.

176039-ml-1526764Plot: 3/5

Characters: 5/5

Themes: 5/5

Writing style: 4/5

Setting: 4/5

Total: 4.5/5

Have you read this book/this series? What kind of elements make a book an auto buy for you? Which books have you found relatable recently?

 

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14 thoughts on “Review: Always And Forever, Lara Jean

  1. I was a bit meh about PS I Still Love You so I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to continue the series, but seeing your 4.5/5 rating definitely makes me want to give it a try. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❤

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    1. Thank you, Zoe! I felt like P.S I Still Love You was a good ending to the series, but I enjoyed this as well. Hmmm… I think you might like it *shrugs*

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  2. Sounds interesting. I don’t usually do auto-buys, unless it’s from a series that I’m very in love with. It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a good series, though… I don’t know. This doesn’t sound like my kind of book, but I’m glad you liked it!

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    1. I kind of think adult books have fewer series? I don’t know. There’s so many good standalones though. Based on my knowledge of your reading tastes, this would in fact not be your kind of book 🙂

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  3. I really want to read this series, but I haven’t yet. Someday!! I’m glad the last one did not disappoint!! And great review!
    Also, libraries are the BEST.
    I only really auto buy if it’s from a favorite author, but occasionally I’ll buy a new release if a trusted reviewer raved about it and I’m too impatient to wait for the library to get it!

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    1. I don’t know if I have any auto buy books? I try to think carefully about what I should buy. Your strategy sounds really good though. 🙂

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  4. WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME. I NEED THIS BOOK SOOOOO BAAAAD. I NEED IT NOOOOW. But honestly, I 100% agree with everything in your review! This series has a lot of things you don’t normally see in YA — family, biracial character, no sex (!!!), “mundane” everyday life things. SO MUCH MORE. 😍 I’m not one for fluff storied (or so I thought…) but this is definitely one of my favorite contemporaries!

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  5. Yeah, I totally get it. I also love books that “tell me my own story” (could give you a list). and that kind of tells me one of the things that good authors do for us- they show us the world through our own eyes, but seen more clearly, more more brightly, more intensely, sometimes more fearful or terrible or Complicatec- but always our own world. The great reads are books that give us a world we know about, our world not the author’s. And by doing all that they make our world, our lives, bigger.

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  6. Beautiful review, I’m so happy you liked this one ❤ I haven't read it yet but just bought it, so I should read it very soon and I'm excited: I loved the first books in the series and, just like you, I found that it was very relatable ❤

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  7. Glad you liked this! I’ve been wanting to read it for a while, but my library doesn’t have it…😭 But as I’m going to be a senior this year, and I’m visiting colleges this summer, I’m really looking forward to reading about a mc in that sort of high school/college transition mode…like you said. Lovely review!♡
    ~Hermione

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    1. It’s so annoying when your library doesn’t have books! I don’t really buy books very often so I really rely on having a good library. I think you’ll find this relatable 🙂

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