Edna Lopez-Rodriguez ‘20/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
The story follows Lara Jean Song Covey, a Korean-American girl who loves to bake and writes letters to all of her past crushes, but never sends them. Lara Jean’s life changes forever when she finds out the letters she never meant to send have been sent. This successful series was meant to be a duology with the sequel P.S. I Still Love You concluding Lara Jean’s story.
However, a year after the final book was published, Jenny Han and Simon & Schuster announced that a third Lara Jean book would be published in 2017. The surprise shocked readers but made them even more excited to see what was in store for Lara Jean, her sisters, and her charming boyfriend, Peter Kavinsky.
Always and Forever, Lara Jean picks up during Lara Jean’s senior year of high school. Lara Jean is ready for college and has everything planned out. She knows exactly where she wants to go, who she wants to go with, and what she wants to do. Everything seems to be falling into place until Lara Jean finds out that her future plans might not be possible after all. This leaves her questioning her relationships and her future.
Lara Jean might have great baking skills, but nothing about this book is sugarcoated. Jenny Han successfully engages her readers with her lovable and quirky writing style while also tackling mature subjects. To put it simply, everything about Lara Jean’s senior year story felt real. Han was able to capture the anxiety and pressure that comes from picking the right college, leaving old friends, and going to new places while also including strong family dynamics and an adorable romantic relationship. This snapshot novel gives justice to a true high school experience.
Lara Jean’s relationship with Peter Kavinsky blossoms into a maturity level not seen in the previous books. In the first book, Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky were sixteen and seventeen and just figuring out what loving someone can be like. Now, they’re older and trying to see if their love is strong enough to withstand distance, and finding ways to improve their relationship. Both characters demonstrate great character growth as they move forward into a new stage in their lives.
The Song sisters also have very notable appearances throughout as their sisterly bond continued to strengthen. All the sisters had their own spotlight and demonstrated great depth and strong characterization. Even though this story started out as a cute romantic tale, it developed into something deeper that celebrates family, friendship, and love. Readers are able to grow alongside both of them as the characters tackle real life obstacles. From long distance relationships to the addition of new family members, Always and Forever, Lara Jean illustrates these subjects beautifully, leaving readers with a bittersweet feeling with just the right amount of nostalgia.