After getting stuck in a bit of a reading rut earlier this month I needed a nice YA series that I could fly through as a little pick-me-up, and the first books that came to mind were the To All The Boys series. I read them one after the other, and I have to say as the series continued my attention dwindled a bit, but here is a mini review of each of them.
#1 – To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
I absolutely adored this book and gave it 4.5 stars on Goodreads. Having already watched the film at the start of lockdown I knew what was coming, but as always the book was better. I really enjoyed the structure, the short chapters made it a fast-paced read and I flew through it in just over a day. The writing style itself was also really funny.
I loved the dynamic between Lara Jean and her family, the bond between her sisters and her dad was so sweet and you really get a sense of a strong family unit. I also loved Peter K in this book (this will change in the following two reviews) and found it so endearing watching Lara Jean fit into his world, growing in confidence and making new friends.
There was a lot in the books that never made it to the film, and I really enjoyed the fact that even in this charming YA novel Jenny Han included some references to daily microagressions Koreans face (everyone assuming LJ was a manga character at halloween, etc). My only frustration with it was Josh who I found incredibly annoying, definitely a sense of too little too late. I didn’t intend to read all the books one after another, but the main reason I moved onto the next was because of the crazy cliffhanger ending that rounded up this one…
#2 – PS I Still Love You
This book earn 3.5 stars from me on Goodreads. It was a pleasant read but definitely didn’t live up to its predecessor. One of my favourite aspects was once again the sisterhood between the Song girls, looking out for each other no matter what. Stormy was a brilliant character who took more of a prominent role in this book, stepping up as almost a kind of grandmother to Lara Jean, leaving her with little tidbits of advice that we later learn stick with her for many years to come.
Lara Jean seems to find her own a bit more in this sequel which I loved, becoming more assertive and decisive over the things she wanted and what she felt she deserved. I have to say, I really didn’t enjoy Peter K in this one and am definitely one hundred percent Team John-Ambrose McClaren. In my eyes, Peter K doesn’t make a full recovery even in the third book from how he behaved in this one. I just don’t understand why everyone loves him so much after reading the sequels!
I found the lack of communication between Peter K and Lara Jean super frustrating and was generally less hooked on this book than I was on the first, but it was still a respectable sequel.
#3 – Always and Forever Lara Jean
I don’t have all that much to say about this one, it’s definitely the least interesting of the bunch and left me wondering why it had been written. I didn’t hate it, but not much really seems to happen and it just felt a little unnecessary. The only thing I particularly loved about it was the introduction of Trina as a mother figure, changing the family dynamics forever but not necessarily for the worse.
I found it a little predictable and slow moving, and Margot was just the worst. That’s pretty much all the notes I’ve made on it. It was an enjoyable series and I can definitely see myself rereading book one and possibly two at some point in the future. As for the third? I don’t see it happening.
Trigger Warnings: death of a parent / grandmother, cyber bullying