Friday, June 12, 2015

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

The follow-up to Jenny Han's To All The Boys I've Loved Before was published at the end of May, and has the same fantastic cover art, design, and story as the first book. P.S. I Still Love You picks up right where To All The Boys I've Loved Before left off, over the Christmas holidays at the Covey household. Protagonist Lara Jean has just decided to try to have a real relationship with Peter Kavinsky, after pretending to date him for months. Lara Jean's younger sister Kitty had sent out five love letters that Lara Jean had written to guys she'd previously crushed on. One of them included her sister's not-so-ex-boyfriend. As a way to convince him she had a crush on him in the past, and not the present, Lara Jean starts a fake relationship with Peter, who has also received one of her love letters. But instead of creating awkwardness between them, Peter sees potential instead. Plus he's just broken up with his girlfriend Gen, Lara Jean's former best friend.

Lara Jean and Peter decide to date for real, but they still come up with a handful of rules and make a contract to guide their relationship:
Peter will not be more than five minutes late.
Lara Jean will not make Peter do crafts of any kind.
Peter doesn't have to call Lara Jean before he goes to bed at night, but he can if he feels like it.
Lara Jean will only go to parties if she feels like it.
Peter will give Lara Jean rides whenever she wants.
Lara Jean and Peter will always tell each other the truth.
The contract mimics the one they made to guide their fake relationship, when Lara Jean was bound to attending a certain number of parties with Peter.

But things don't run as smoothly in their real relationship. Not like in their fake one, when neither was as invested in the other. Now, someone has posted a video to Instagram of them in the hot tub on their school ski trip, and it's much more suggestive than Lara Jean would like it to be. It's become a meme, it's been sped up and slowed down, it's been mashed up with scenes from The Little Mermaid. Lara Jean is mortified, although she has a sneaking suspicion she knows who took the video in the first place. Peter's ex-girlfriend, Gen, who can't let him go.

Lara Jean is incredibly insecure about Peter's relationship with Gen, which seems to be ongoing, even though he's with Lara Jean now. He texts her, hangs out at her house, and embraces her in public. It's not until near the end of the novel that Lara Jean realizes, "I want to say, I never cared about your past. But that isn't true. It's only then that I realize: Peter wasn't the one who needed to get over Genevieve. It was me. All this time with Peter, I've been comparing myself to her, all the ways I don't measure up. All the ways our relationship pales next to theirs. I'm the one who couldn't let her go. I'm the one who didn't give us a chance."

In the middle of her turmoil with Peter, in steps John Ambrose McClaren, the last recipient of one of Lara Jean's love letters. He isn't at all like she remembers. She tells him he's changed the most out of all of their childhood friends. There is major potential between Lara Jean and John, and their connection was more interesting than Lara Jean and Peter's in the novel. There is a fantastic party at the retirement home that Lara Jean works at, where her and John come dressed in costume for a USO themed party - by far the highlight of the novel. And back are the generous descriptions of the cakes, cookies, and cherry turnovers that Lara Jean bakes for Peter and her family.

Jenny Han has said there won't be a third book to follow P.S. I Still Love You:

The book ends slightly indecisively, presenting a conclusion for the present and perhaps a difference conclusion for the future. Jenny Han writes an excellent YA romance, and I enjoyed getting to follow Lara Jean's story for an additional book.

No comments: