Friday, May 22, 2015

Review: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han


P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Book Two of the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Copy sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

First, I'd like to express my deepest and most heartfelt thanks to Simon and Schuster, for sending me a hardcover copy of this book weeks before the publication date! I know proof copies exist but I am ever grateful for a copy in general. As with anything I receive from publishers... but especially with this book. I have been dying to read this book (I know I'm not the only one). Just a few more days, people!

Let me tell you, this book did not disappoint me. I saw one other person who had a copy, and she felt slightly disappointed by a certain element or two. I personally didn't feel the same way. Anyway, more on that later.

This book takes place pretty much where To All the Boys I've Loved Before left off. Lara Jean is planning on telling Peter how she really feels. And she does. They decide to really be a couple, and make a new contract with sweet things that honestly made my heart swell. More then half the book is focused on Lara Jean and Peter's relationship. But Lara Jean sees how much Genevieve still leans on Peter, and how Peter still runs to her side, despite them being exes and now friends. When one of the boys from Lara Jean's letters writes back, Lara Jean and him reconnect. Peter is pulling away, and this boy is reappearing. Might Lara Jean be in love with both of them?

Let me start by saying that I will get to the romance in a second. I will say for now, to ease everyone's minds, that it is NOT AS BAD AS IT SOUNDS. I promise. This is coming from me, the hater of love triangles. Everybody take a deep breath.

I'll start with family. I absolutely love the strong sense of family that Han weaves through this duology. Lara Jean is close with her older sister Margot and her younger sister Kitty, and their father. I feel like Lara Jean and Kitty's relationship is really spotlighted in this book, though Margot is definitely a part as well. We can clearly see how the family dynamic works, and how strongly this family is. It's so cute to see Kitty meddle in their father's personal life, pushing him to start dating. Lara Jean wants to see her father happy (not just content), her sister at peace with Josh, and her little sister, well, her little is pretty much happy with messing with everyone's business.

More than half this book is spent focused on Lara Jean and Peter. They are dating for real. They have their ups and downs. A big part of this book is a big part of today's society - someone took a video of Lara Jean and Peter doing certain things in a hot tub in To All the Boys I've Loved Before. It goes viral around the school. I love that Han included this in the book and made it such a big deal, because this is a really important theme of the book. The internet is forever, BUT, you as a girl shouldn't feel bad for kissing a guy. There's a huge double standard that exists, and Han really spearheads this double standard. Everyone tells Lara Jean to be more careful, but no one tells Peter anything. Peter is the one to speak out and people listen, whereas Lara Jean is labeled with certain hurtful terms. This part of the book hurt me to read, but it's so, so important in general.

Lara Jean and Peter have other problems too, like Peter keeps hanging out with Genevieve. He's texting her and talking to her and hanging out with her. But it's clear that he's not dating her or involved with her. But to Lara Jean, just the fact that he's around Genevieve bother her. Do you blame her? Personally, if I were in Lara Jean's shoes, I'd be doing the jealous non-trusting routine too. Genevieve is kind of cruel. I liked that Han had this type of drama in the book - it's real and it's legitimate and every girl feels this way about her man's exes. You can't tell me you didn't/don't. Lara Jean's insecurities are real and called for, in my opinion.

Okay. Let's talk romance. I keep saying that more than half the book is spent on Lara Jean and Peter. They are happy. They are together. They have issues but they talk it out. More than HALF the book, guys. The synopsis implies love triangle but...when I got to around page 150 and saw no hint of Boy #2, I KNEW. I just KNEW that the insinuated love triangle wasn't going to be a real thing. Or it wasn't going to be THAT BAD. Call it faith.

Anyway, Boy #2 is really that - Boy #2. He's one of the five boys that Lara Jean wrote a letter too. I expected this, for Boy #2 to be one of the five boys we haven't already met. Trust me, he wasn't much of a "threat". He stood no chance. Lara Jean is one of those people that falls easily, and she was at a vulnerable spot at this point in time when he enters. Boy #2 had no chance, in my opinion. There really was no "choosing" in the end because there was no choice.

I hope that eases everyone's consciences without spoiling things. The "choice" really is made at the very end of the book, but it's not really a choice. What I'm saying is, it's not as bad as the synopsis makes it seem. Really, it's not. I think Simon and Schuster (or Han) wanted to drum up anticipation and play readers by shoving a love triangle down our throats via the synopsis. Trust me, it's not that bad. 

I love the progression of Lara Jean and Peter's relationship. They are sweet together, they are fire together, they are ice together. They learn to trust one another while they hurt each other. They learn to be careful around one another while they take care of one another. Lara Jean does a fair deal of growing up throughout this duology, and in the end, she does what's right for her.

I love seeing her life come together! Remember in the To All the Boys I've Loved Before how Margot would always be pushing Lara Jean to do extra school things and classes and test prep and whatnot?  Lara Jean starts to do a fun extracurricular type of activity that really makes her grow as a person. It's great to see her have a life outside of her family, school, and Peter.

I also loved seeing how Han portrays the idea of sex. Many YA books feature sex, or characters having sex, etc. Lara Jean isn't ready to have sex. She thinks about it a lot, but she knows that she isn't ready. When that video hits the virtual world and everyone thinks she and Peter had sex, she freaks out. I like the message here about sex here - it's okay to not be ready. It's okay not to be having sex at this age. It's okay to say no to a boy. If he cares, he'll want it, but he'll wait. Good for you, Peter. Good for you, Lara Jean, for knowing what you what and sticking to it. I think it's great that this perspective on sex is shown - it's your choice. A lot of YA books have the female protagonist having sex at some point in the series. In this series, Lara Jean isn't ready, and that is okay. It really is.

Anyway. In the end, I was really, really pleased with this book. I think there was a good amount of drama, romance, family, and general societal themes that made this book highly authentic and highly enjoyable. This book really captures a teenage/young adult relationship, from the jealousy to overthinking text messages to low blow insults/jabs. Han really did a wonderful job with this duology, and while I'm not a contemporary fan, I can safely say that this is one of my favorite YA contemporary series.

What I Did Not Like:

I think the only thing that I didn't like is something that very well may have been out of the author's control (or perhaps she wrote it herself, who knows) - the synopsis. The "love triangle" really is NOT THAT BAD. I even hesitate to call it such. I think it was a media thing, to build the anticipation. I'm not trying to spoil things but... readers will be happy with this book. Promise.

Would I Recommend It:

I would highly recommend this book and To All the Boys I've Loved Before. I can guarantee you I'll be rereading this series over and over, as well as pushing it on everyone. I'm not even a YA contemporary fan! You saw this whole week how I struggled with contemporary. I read five YA contemporary novels in a row and this one is the only one I actually enjoyed enough to say that I would recommend it. So. There's that.

Rating:

4 stars. A solid 4 stars! I didn't love it as much as I loved To All the Boys I've Loved Before, but this book (and series) is definitely worth buying! Even if you're not a fan of YA contemporary (like me), you'll enjoy the series. And this one, this conclusion to the duology, was well worth the wait! Despite the horribly written synopsis. Definitely give this book a chance, guys!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

34 comments:

  1. I am so excited for this one, and your solid 4 star review definitely makes me more excited :)
    Can't wait to get my hands on this next week!

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    1. YAY MILKA! I hope you love it! Only a few more days to go :D

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  2. YAY :D One star more for this one, lol ;) I'm so glad you loved it sweetie. Hmm. I'm curious about it now. But not that curious, lol. I shall not read it. But hoping that maybe one day I will want to :) Will see. Anyway. Gooorgeous review Alyssa. <3

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    1. I know, one more star! Good way to round off a meh week of YA contemporary. I understand, Carina! And thank you!

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  3. Great review, Alyssa, it's made me even more excited for my copy to arrive!

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  4. I haven't read the first by I am def going to read it. I am super excited about going to her book launch next week! I'm glad you liked it and I hope I do too! Have a great holiday weekend lovely!!
    ❤️Britt

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    1. You should! Like right now! Or whenever you get the book. Thank you so much, Britt!

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  5. Glad I read your review on this one instead of just the blurb b/c I would have most certainly blown it off since I don't like love triangles.

    It sounds like a cute, but realistic coming of age story.

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    1. I know! That's why I kept saying over and over that the synopsis isn't the greatest (pretty much what I said). I hate love triangles!

      And yup, quite authentic, in my opinion!

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  6. I have the first in this series on my TBR. I have read so many positive reviews. It sounds like the first one is hard to live up to, but I am glad that you enjoyed this installment as much as you did. I look forward to reading it.

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    1. The first one was soooo good! This book is really good too, though I loved the first one more. I hope you love the series, Suzi!

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  7. YAY! So excited and relieved about the not-really-love-triangle!!
    I cannot wait till I get my hands on this one!!
    Great review!

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    1. I know right?! I was so anxious while reading the book! Well, I was enjoying it, but I was also anxious! lol

      Thank you! Happy reading, Pili!

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  8. Yayyy a four star! Super excited for this one! When I first read the synopsis I had big NO thoughts cause love triangles are just icky but hearing you say it's not a love triangle makes me go hooray! And I probably let out a breath I didn't even know I was holding :P (Sorry, I just had to use that lol)~ Peter and Lara Jean <3 <3 Alyssa <3 <3

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    1. ME TOO! I almost considered not reading this one, stopping while I still had positive thoughts about the book. But definitely read this one! LOL I hate that phrase hehehehehe... I hope you love this one, Eileen!

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  9. I like a book that dares to be different when it comes to sex, the cover would have grabbed my attention. Good review. Hugs...

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    1. Me too! Very different perspective than most YA books out there these days. Thank you so much, Ro!

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  10. After all the amazing reviews of the first book and now this one, I think this series is the one I need to read next!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

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    1. I know! The first book was sooooooo good. This one is really good too! I hope you enjoy the books, Missie :D

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  11. I obviously have been dying to get my hands on this and would read it no matter what, but I'm so glad to see that there isn't some long, drug out, melodramatic love triangle. So glad. I was very worried about that.
    Also, I'm super glad to see you broke your three star streak!

    Mandy's Books and Beauty

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    1. YAY! I'm glad you are of that opinion! That's definitely good, because I think you'll like it. And OMG YES FOUR OUT OF THE FIVE BOOKS WHERE THREE-STAR READS :O This one definitely deserved more than three stars!

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  12. AHHH I NEED TO START THIS SERIES. Everyone’s talking about, it’s crazy. I love Jenny Han’s other books so I’m sure I’m gonna love it. Glad that you did! Love your review (although I must admit I only read bits and pieces ‘cause I didn’t want to accidentally read any spoilers, lol!) :D

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    1. YAY! You should! I actually haven't read any of Han;s books besides this duology, but this was one heck of a start, for me! And that's totally fine! I'm generally good about keeping these vague but if you haven't read the first book, then yes, there would be spoilers for book one :)

      Thank you for stopping by! I appreciate it.

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  13. I always look out for your reviews because they mention romance and more importantly clearly discuss love triangles! I've also noticed several times where a synopsis goes on about a 'triangle' when it doesn't materialize and clearly it was all done for hype bc the publisher thinks it will be a draw (no thank you!). That said, I haven't read this duet and I don't think its for me. I still think some aspects would be hard for me. Though I love the family focus and what you said scout sex and media here. All of those elements are compelling. Thanks for a very thorough review!

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    1. Awww, thank you, Lauren! I really appreciate it! And I definitely think the love triangle was pushed into the synopsis for media's sake - the publisher was probably trying to drum up even more attention to this book, and anticipation. SO ANNOYING, especially since I personally thought the love triangle wasn't really a love triangle at all. If Han had made this book longer, it might have been, I suppose.

      I know you are also highly picky with love triangles and/or the insinuation of them (like me), but you might enjoy this series, Lauren! Especially since there are no more after this one.

      Thank YOU! <3

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  14. I feel like I am basically the only person on the planet who hasn't read Jenny Han yet. And that is definitely mostly because of all the synopses. I'm just not interested in the love triangle I know is in The Summer I turned pretty. And I was SO CLOSE to buying To All the Boys I've Loved Before a few weeks ago, but then I read the synopsis for this one and decided to turn away because of the love triangle, so it's nice to hear it's not really a love triangle at all!

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    1. Hey, this duology is the first two books I've read of the author! I probably wouldn't read anything else by her, but this duology was really great. Don't worry about the love triangle! It's a whisper of an idea, and not REALLY a love triangle... in my opinion.

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  15. Yaaay four stars for this read, I read the previous book and I really did like it except the ending annoyed me, I'm glad you could enjoy it though! <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

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    1. I hope you like this one, Benish! I know what you mean about the ending lol. Thank you!

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  16. It's a pain when publishers try to hype up a non-existent love triangle. :P But I guess it's better than the alternative--them never giving us a heads up on love triangles. That would be bad. Great review!

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    1. Seriously though! I wouldn't say this one was non-existent, but it definitely not as existent as the publisher wants us to think. But that is sooooooo true...

      Thank you!

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  17. Thanks for this positive review. I've been on the fence whether or not to read it. I think I will now.

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  18. Most women don’t know this... but even if a man is attracted to you or even says he loves you...

    ...chances are he still feels something is missing.

    Because there is a secret, emotional need hidden within his heart that he craves more than anything.

    And in most cases, is not being met.

    The problem is, if it’s not being met, his attention will inevitably wander until he finds a woman who can give it to him.

    Maybe one in a thousand women knows how to do this instinctively, and they usually rise to unbelievable levels of influence and fame.

    But most women, or men for that matter, don’t even know it exists.

    On the other hand, when you have this 1 simple secret...

    You won’t believe the shocking effect you have on the men in your life.

    Here’s a video I discovered that shows you exactly what I’m talking about:

    Here’s how: ==> He’ll give his heart to the first woman who does THIS... ]

    Best,

    Ana

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