Title: Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Author: Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, #3
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 2nd 2017
Jenny Han bids farewell to her protagonist Lara Jean in the final book in her To All the Boys I Loved Before series. In Always and Forever, Lara Jean the beloved protagonist is on the brink of adulthood as the end of her senior year approaches. The last year of Lara Jean’s life has been a whirlwind of new and exciting events. She’s been dating Peter Kavinsky for a year, her dad has reentered the dating scene, and her college plans are all but set in stone. Then the unthinkable happens and Lara Jean is forced to rethink her entire future. Suddenly things that she was so sure about like her future relationship with Peter and the university she’s going to attend are no longer a guarantee. Lara Jean must decide who she is going to be, how this will affect her decisions for her future, and who she is able to make room for and who she isn’t.
Lara Jean has always been one of my favorite contemporary protagonists. She doesn’t stand out with her bold personality or wow with her unrivaled genius. She enjoys baking, spending time with her family, and volunteering at a local retirement home. As much as I admire ambitious and sometimes over-the-top characters, Lara Jean has always been more my speed. Sometimes she lacks confidence and has to be pushed out if her comfort zone and these two things make her instantly relatable In Always and Forever, Lara Jean, Lara Jean discovers that even the best laid plans cannot account for life just happening. Lara Jean’s greatest comfort is that her life is predictable. When it isn’t, she will grab on to her hobbies like baking and scrap-booking as a way to feel like she’s in control again. I’m so happy that Lara Jean got to a place where she began making decisions based on what was best for her and her own wants rather than what others were pressuring her to do. The decision she ultimately makes might be Lara Jean’s greatest act of courage in the entire trilogy.
Always and Forever, Lara Jean was a bittersweet novel. I’ve come to really love Lara Jean and her entire world. I love how important her family has always been to her. Lara Jean has always presented herself and her family like a package deal. Her father has been raising her and her sisters alone since her mother’s unexpected passing. The biggest constants in her life have been her wise older sister Margot and her rambunctious little sister Kitty. Han not only taken us on Lara Jean’s journey to maturity, but we also got to see her sisters grow up some as well and see the evolution of their sisterly bond. Kitty will always be a favorite if mine with her I-know-what-I-want attitude, but I loved that we got a Margot arc involving the Covey’s expanding family. Ms. Rothschild was a delightful addition to this unit. How each of the girls felt about their father dating again was very faithful to who these characters are at their core.
Always and Forever, Lara Jean unexpectedly hit me with a wave of nostalgia, reminding me of those uncertain and exciting final days of high school. With this final book Jenny Han has solidified Lara Jean and the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before as a character and series that will forever hold a special place in my heart.