P.S. I Still Love You: A Book Review

Hello!

P.S. I Still Love YouTitle: P.S. I Still Love You
Author: Jenny Han
Published: May 26th, 2015 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 337
Genre: Young Adult / Romantic Contemporary
Source: Library / Hardcover
Series: You bet! Here’s my review for Book One.

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. {Goodreads}

Realistic fiction books being many of my favorites, it’s not uncommon for me to check out contemporary novel after contemporary novel. Although some may wonder if I want more variety in my reading pile, the genre alone is so diverse that I’m rarely bored by my choices; I can try a hard-hitting and darker tale on Monday and switch to a lighter and humorous story by Wednesday afternoon.

Even releases from one author are not always similar, as demonstrated by Jenny Han’s collection of work, where a novel of supernatural revenge and a heart-melting romantic duology are on the same shelf. While the plots of Han’s books differ, one thing links them all together: she knows and writes about the teenage girl like no one else. Han showcases this talent in her newest release and follow-up to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, P.S. I Still Love You, where readers are once again invited into the romantic life of high school junior Lara Jean. It’s well written, it’s engaging, and it’s all sorts of cute. Simply put, the sequel is a winner.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before left readers with a cliffhanger: how would the relationship between Lara Jean and the boy she chooses end? One could dismiss this as a trivial teenage matter, sure, but Han treats Lara Jean’s on-going personal dilemma with care to the development, tackling the controversial matters of slut shaming and high school bullying alongside the actual romance. The first book dealt with the aftermath of Lara Jean’s letters being sent out to her middle school crushes, but, here, Han writes of the reality of a young first relationship: the ups {spending time together with family, laughing over inside jokes} and the downs {the lack of trust and the conflicting schedules}, all while Lara Jean reconnects with old neighborhood friends. I think it’s such an interesting way to frame the story, weaving threads of her childhood with her current life in high school, as this is a story about Lara Jean’s growth into a young woman above all else.

My biggest pet peeve when I read reviews – and I hope I approach this correctly – is seeing a reader lament that a character acts or thinks too young for her age. This opinion is valid, and it makes a good point {there’s a clear divide between a five-year old and a fifteen-year old}, but adolescence is different for every individual; it’s not a “one size fits all” period of time. We as the reviewing body are so quick to protect characters with different beliefs than us, yet time and time again, have I seen Lara Jean labeled immature and too young for her age. Lara Jean may not want to rush her relationship and she may be more naive than other characters in YA, but that doesn’t make her any less of a teen. Regardless, I fell in love with her again as easily as I did in the first novel, and her narration held my interest from beginning to end.

Family is just as an essential part to Lara Jean’s life as friends, and the Song sisters are a memorable group of siblings. Margo, though only present in the first few chapters, offers her older sister wisdom to Lara Jean, and Kitty, the youngest of the three, brings her delightful dry humor to the events of the plot. The stellar family dynamics are completed with Lara Jean’s dad, who, though still saddened by the loss of his wife, remains a heart-warming, caring, if sometimes clueless, parent. Lara Jean’s circle of friends and acquaintances are just as strong of elements in the novel, especially as more background is given to Gen’s family situation and Lara Jean bonds with the elderly at the local nursing home. Furthermore, I like a love triangle as much as the next person, but Lara Jean’s two love interests – charming lacrosse star Peter against first crush and Model UN member John – both serve a purpose other than potential boyfriend.

Both of the books starring Lara Jean capture the messy ties of first love, the close bond between family members, the mistakes of the past and the promise of the future. It’s all too easy to label these novels as two more cute reads – I’ve certainly done it and will likely continue to do so – but Han brings more than just another romance to the genre. Like many contemporaries, it’s the layers in the characters’ stories that has garnered the series so much appeal. I can only hope to see more of Lara Jean, Peter, John, and Kitty in the future, but I will be pleased as punch if I can find just as good of a contemporary novel by another author.

Annnd, since I couldn’t let this opportunity go to waste: P.S. I still love this series.

Need more convincing? Here’s what other reviewers had to say.
“While I really enjoyed the storyline of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, I think I liked P.S. I Still Love You even better! I adore this series and I’m predicting a re-read in the very near future. It’s a light and fun read but that certainly doesn’t mean it wasn’t emotional or hooking, it left a lasting impression” {read the rest of the review at A Sunny Spot HERE}.

“P.S. I Still Love You was not a disappointment, which somehow always seems to happen with sequels. Jenny Han brings up all of what I love in contemporary books. The girly-ness and the love letters and the drama, what could a girl want more than that? Also – gorgeous cover, once again” {read the rest of the review at Maji Bookshelf HERE}.

“The ending to this book tied up this duology so well. It gave much such a satisfying feeling and I loved. Of course, I will probably never get enough of Jenny’s writing and Lara Jean’s world so the need for another book about SOMETHING related to Lara Jean’s world would be freaking fantastic” {read the rest of the review at Next Page Please! HERE}.

Have a lovely start to your week!

Psst. Notice anything different here on Ciao Bella?! :)

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14 thoughts on “P.S. I Still Love You: A Book Review

  1. Love your new blog design, it’s so fun and colourful! Not reading this review as I haven’t read the first of the series yet, but I need to get onto the Jenny Han hype train!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! :) And I totally understand – I hate to read reviews if I haven’t even started the series yet. I hope you enjoy the two books if you get the chance to read them!

      Like

  2. I still haven’t read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before… I really must get on that soon!! It’s good to know that you liked this one, though. Also, I adore your new blog design!! :) Did you design it yourself?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have yet to read this series but its definitely in my TBR! Lovely review! Its a pet hate of mine too when people label certain characters as immature for their age.
    I’ve heard so many wonderful things about this duology and its also great to hear someone talk about more than the fact that is book is ‘adorable and sweet’! Its great to know the sort of topics this book also deals with. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ohhh this is a great review! I really enjoyed this book, this duology, everything! The struggle of having a relationship and going through those experiences-first date, meeting the parents, lack of time for each other-was really great to see in this book and Jenny really handled it well. I really loved the love triangle in this book. It didn’t frustrate me in anyway and I actually really liked John. Jenny really did this cool thing where she introduced a love triangle, and it was really hard to not like the other guy and that is the weirdest thing for me because I have never encountered one of these things! Anywho, glad you enjoyed. Also, thank you for linking my review girl! Appreciate it and WOAH, the new blog design! I love it, great great job on the graphics. :)

    ~Kaitlin

    Liked by 1 person

    • You listed so many of the things Jenny Han did so well in both books. And, I’m in full agreement – I adored John AND Peter. Rarely does that happen with me and a love triangle!

      I enjoyed your own review, so I was happy to link to your post :) Thank you for the kind words!

      Like

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