Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before #2
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on May 26th, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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.
God – fucking – dammit. I think my review of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before made it exceedingly obvious that I adored that book. I shouted my love from the rooftops. I couldn’t wait to dive into the sequel and have more of the happy shippy feels that so delighted me. BUT NO. THIS. FREAKING. SUCKS.
At the end of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we are left on a pretty exciting and promising cliffhanger: Lara Jean finally admits to having feelings for Peter and maybe they can happen for real. Misunderstandings notwithstanding, he makes her happy, and that’s worth an actual shot. So she writes him another letter – which you soon learn is made of cuteness – but then the drama quickly follows.
It’s not happy times for Peter and Lara Jean. No. Peter is still friends with Gen, his ex and the one-dimensional mean girl who makes Lara Jean’s life miserable. Gen can’t seem to let Peter go, and he lets it slide because of mysterious things happening in her personal life. Yeah, they were friends for a long time, and maybe Gen doesn’t feel that close to anyone else, but if your girlfriend feels uncomfortable with this, you need to AT LEAST meet her halfway. Instead he runs off to Gen the second she calls and leaves Lara Jean in the dark. That’s. Wait. What?
There’s arguably a reason for Gen’s meanness – the personal stuff she’s working through – but it’s nowhere near good enough for Lara Jean to forgive her or for Peter to keep taking her side. Seriously, when it becomes abundantly clear that Gen leaked a video of Lara Jean and Peter making out in a hot tub onto the internet – which looks like they might even be having sex – leading to cyberbullying and actual bullying for Lara Jean? Yeah. No. That shit will never fly with me. Nothing excuses Gen’s total bitch moves in this book.
Peter is almost the complete opposite of who he was in the first book. He’s withdrawn, inattentive, and he pushes Lara Jean away. Lara Jean makes some excuses for him, but arguably when the two are together, they have some cute moments. But there’s so much tension building throughout the story, and it’s untenable. This book pushed me to start to resent Peter (as much as my head didn’t want to), to become tired of Lara Jean’s (rightful) jealousy, and to believe the relationship was absolutely doomed to fail. So much drama. WAIT – SERIOUSLY – I DIDN’T SIGN ON FOR THAT.
And Josh, the other angle on the love triangle in the previous book? Swept under the table and almost never heard from again. But, we couldn’t just let the romantic drama die there, right? NO. Lara Jean has to have another beau come into her life – the last recipient of her love letters: John. John comes out of nowhere, pretty much, and as he lives in a different district, he barely gets any page-time. But when he’s there he’s being the perfect gentleman (seriously, no negative or complex elements to his personality that we know of; completely adhering to Lara Jean’s idealized image of him from three years ago) and he clearly indicates that after so many years, he still has feelings for Lara Jean.
YOU CAN’T MAKE ME SWITCH SHIPS THIS LATE IN THE GAME. Honestly, this guy is here being the quintessential good guy, while Peter’s being a douche, pretty much. You feel such an urge to just say, fuck the douche, Lara Jean, and be with this guy. (EVEN THOUGH PETER FREAKING KAVINSKY WOULD NEVER BE SUCH A DOUCHE.) John may be completely boring, but at least he’s honest with you. But THEN, at the end of the day, Lara Jean decides she’s REALLY in love with Peter, and though they don’t actually talk about any of their ten billion ISSUES and just retcon a lot of shit instead, they stay… together. Seriously. Wut.
This book is for the people who believe that exes can (and should be able to) be friends, that drama is almost a charming part of life, that fighting serves to make a relationship stronger (even if it’s not actually resolved *grumble grumble*), that teenagers do stupid shit – and that that kind of realism is fun to read about. Now I’m not saying that I don’t like any of those things at certain times, but the combination was deadly and completely the opposite of the first book. This book made me confused, sad, and angry, and I expected happiness. The banter disappeared, Peter was no longer swoon-worthy, and all I got was 337 pages of (arguably avoidable) drama. That’s… not what I wanted. Seriously, if all these characters insist on being so stupid and drama-laden, they deserve to all just die alone.