Series: To All The Boys I've Loved Before #2
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 337 (TLA Exclusive bound manuscript)
Source: Gifted from Mary (Thank you!)
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?
In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.
This book was one of my most anticipated books of the season, and I'm happy to say I enjoyed it, but it didn't wow me the way I wanted it to. I'll get into that in a moment, though.
Lara Jean is back and it's just as easy to love her inquisitive nature, unique fashion style, and love of her family. Kitty is as blunt as ever and even her Dad is beginning to open up. Plus, she has that weird thing going on with Peter K. that she's trying to figure out. She has a job at Belleview where Stormy, a rather sexy old lady, gives her racy love advice constantly. Her older sister and her are patching things up, there's a dog with an adorable name running around the house, her Dad is taking the steps to being happier. Things are looking good for her. And then her final letter gets answered and someone from her past comes back into her life, and things have to get a little crazy again. I mean, it's Lara Jean, when are things properly normal with her anyway? But with that in mind, she grew a tremendous amount in this book, and I'll forever love her for that.
The main focus of this novel is the romance. After all of her past loves, we need to know who Lara Jean actually ends up with. We find out in literally the last two pages. So the suspense is killer as is everything leading up to it. There's this huge scandal evolving around an important scene in book one that has Lara Jean letting go of her sheltered ways very fast while she learns how to navigate people, mean girls, and even cyberbullying. An interesting aspect to this scandal was the whole sexist reaction to it. People were calling her terrible names, treating her miserably, but nobody bothered with the guy involved and some characters even applauded him. Sexism at its finest, ladies and gentleman, and though it makes me ragey I'm happy Jenny Han explored this.
But back to the romance. There are two guys. It's not much of a love triangle because she focuses on them at different times. But there are two guys nevertheless. One treats her very very well and the other has super passionate feelings for her, but tends to have blinders to the world around him and makes some not so great decisions because of that. It is this character that angered me greatly. I have dealt with being mistreated by people before. Terribly, terribly mistreated, and I've had friends who sit back and let it happen. To put it simply, these people are not my friends anymore. They recognize I am hurting, they recognize that it is not right, but they let it happen anyway. And this situation evoked a lot of really terrible memories in me in that regard. And it made me develop a strong dislike for this character, even if it's not entirely deserved, though it definitely is a little because messing up is messing up. Even if he acknowledged it at one point. Just, agh, it makes me flustered to say the least.
Which, in all honesty, is a great sign of an author, to be able to evoke such strong emotions in me because of my love for literally every character in this book except for Gen--token mean girl and evil incarnate who really just sucks all around and uses terrible familial happenings as a crutch instead of, I don't know, just being a nice person. Anyway, back to the point...My point is that this, overall, was an amazing book, and it's just me and my personal issues that are hindering me from being able to love it to its max capacity. There are mistakes depicting how first love can be hard, there's hard decisions, petty high school drama (as there always has to be!), and, at the heart of it, are two teenagers trying to navigate it together and work their way through some really serious and messed up problems. And I love that.
I just wish the ending was longer. The ending itself was beautiful and satisfying, but also left me simultaneously yearning for more that I probably won't ever get. I was upset that Josh played such a small role in this book, but loved how Lara Jean's family kind of took center stage in his place. And, of course, I wish there was more kissing because kissing is life. But, to set the record straight, I am totally team book number 3! I can't wait for this book to be unleashed on the world, and I can't wait to see what other people think, but it'll certainly be polarizing.