Author: Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before #3
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
First Published: May 2, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance, Young Adult
Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.
But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.
When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?
Graduating high school is truly an event to be celebrated, but it’s bittersweet too with the changes that it brings. It is the end of an era for young people as they say goodbye to youth and start transitioning into adulthood. We grow up, and we grow apart—there are many that end up going their separate ways as seniors head to different colleges or to work. Senior year is a time to reminisce because of the finality, it’s the time that many remember for the rest of their lives.
This book made me feel all kinds of nostalgia about my own senior year, even though I was more of a Chris that only planned on working and moving out of state as soon as possible. Social media makes it easier than ever to stay in touch, but it’s undeniable that folks grow apart as their lives take them in different directions.
I guess that’s part of growing up, too–saying goodbye to the things you used to love.
Lara Jean and Peter are all grown up, with two years of dating under their belt and all of the turbulence that comes with high school romances. They make plans for their future together, even when their circumstances appear to be keeping them apart. They make plans around each other, even if it means compromise, and it brings the question as to what is fair. It was good to see Lara Jean and Peter grow up and mature as they face the possibility of goodbye, without the comfort of home and high school to keep them together.
Was Lara Jean’s mother right about not being that girl that cries over her boyfriend in college? To cut ties so that her college experience won’t be marred by longing for home? This is a question that comes to mind for all seniors with a high school sweetheart, and it is advice that I’ve heard countless times doled out to people close to me. My own high school boyfriend received the very same advice from his dad, who was a year ahead of me. It is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to always be that way.
Always and Forever, Lara Jean ends the story the only way it could, with college on the horizon and hope in the hearts of Lara Jean and Peter. It is a fitting ending to close their high school chapter as they move on from adolescence. I liked the way things ended, bittersweet with uncertainty for the future. It is a wonderful final chapter for all of the characters, the story felt like a long goodbye from start to finish.