P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Published by: Scholastic Press
Series: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (#1)
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon
Before reading the sequel, I decided to re-read ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’, which, retrospectively, was a mistake. There’s only so much cutesy, non-consequential writing you can read before it gets sickening.
From the 2 star rating, you can probably tell, we didn’t like this book. I guess, after not enjoying the rest of Jenny Han’s books, it wasn’t a surprise, but part of us wanted this one to be the one to redeem the rest. But…
Lara Jean is the most irritating protagonist we’ve ever read about. She’s childish, whiney and unrealistic. Although her innocent demeanour gave her some originality, and it was nice to read about a tentative character for once, she just didn’t really think about the situation she was in. By the second book, her charm had waned, and we just felt more and more annoyed by her decisions.
BUT the originality is a moot point, when you compared Lara Jean to Lilia from the ‘Burn For Burn’ series, because they are EXACTLY THE SAME GIRL. She has same relationship with Gen and her younger sister that Lilia had with Rennie and her sister. And, thinking about it, the love triangle dynamic with Peter and John is incredibly similar to Belly, Jeremiah and Conrad from ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’.
The saving grace of this book was Kitty, the younger sister. We both loved her in the first book because she was more mature than Lara Jean (that’s not hard) and was willing to call her sister out on things she didn’t agree with. If the whole book was from her perspective, it would get five stars.
So, the blurb let us know that LJ was going to have a second love interest, but he wasn’t introduced until about two thirds into the story (don’t ask me to tell you what happened before that: LJ was just telling us how she liked to fold her laundry, and what her preferred part of chicken meat is.) Because of this late introduction, it felt like John was used to artificially create tension, and push the story to over 300 pages. John should have been the main conflict, instead of recycling old issues from the last book.
Every possible plot point that could have led to tension was resolved within 30 pages every time. The main struggle was the hot-tub video, from the last book, which didn’t particularly add to the plot, only to show that LJ had to get other people to solve all her problems.
What is giving this book it’s two star rating, if Kitty’s character amounts to one, is the game of Assassins. It just seemed cool, and we will probably play it with our friends over the summer. Otherwise…..what else happened?
Our conundrum with this story was: she had two options. If she stayed with Peter, then she’d be constantly worried, comparing herself to Gen, and thinking he was being unfaithful. Also, this book would have meant nothing, because nothing would have changed from the first book. If she went with John Ambrose McClaren (who couldn’t reasonably be called by his first name (why the heck does he need three?!)) who was the better choice overall, she’d be with someone who genuinely liked her, always did, and didn’t have an ulterior motive. Take one guess who she chose.
Peter and LJ’s relationship was built upon a lie and a contract which are never great foundations for a love story. LJ literally says in the book that her relationship with Peter should not be compared with Peter’s relationship with Gen, but every chance she gets, she’ll get jealous and petty about it.
John was literally the perfect guy. LJ genuinely seemed happier in his company. Because of this, we couldn’t comprehend the outcome. Her relationship with Peter was just a rollercoaster of feeling, wondering whether they actually cared for one another, or just thought the idea of them together was good. We both know who we would have chosen, anyway.
Overall, this book gets 2 stars. If Jenny Han had just added 30 pages to the end of To All The Boys I Loved Before, we would have felt better about the series. We just don’t agree with the whole ‘this book is cute so deserves so many stars’ when there were a lot of irreconcilable flaws. Summed up in one word: unnecessary!