Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean

 

Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cards on the table: I am an action over romance girl any and every day of the week.

Give me blood and battles and armies. Give me fighting and intrigue. Tales of deception and danger. Of people kicking ass and taking names, usually (maybe even preferably) without mercy. Grand epics or back-alley brawls — I am all about it.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I stumble upon something sweet. Something that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Something that tugs at my heartstrings and has me suppressing high-pitched squee-ing sounds that really are rather undignified coming from a young person in their mid-twenties…okay maybe it’s not that undignified, but you get where I’m coming from.

These are not my usual books.
These are special.

The first book in this series, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, was my introduction to the fictional world of Jenny Han. I remember hearing the pitch for the book and thinking, “Huh…well that sounds interesting.” And when I saw that Jenny Han would be having an event here in my city for the book, I knew it was clearly meant to be: I had to read this book.

Now, putting the books aside for the moment: Jenny Han is a gem. She is a human ray of sunshine that I’m not sure this world truly deserves. When you look up the term “sweet cinnamon roll,” it’ll say: c.f. Jenny Han. I’ve now been to all three events she’s had here for the Lara Jean series and I have left every single one smiling, eager to read whichever book was in my hands, and full of kind words of advice and encouragement.

And then we have the books. Oh do we ever have these books. These charming, sweet tales of Lara Jean and her sisters; Lara Jean and her dad; Lara Jean and all the everyday, seemingly mundane things that can happen to young teenage girl. And yet it’s those seemingly mundane and ordinary things that are the best parts of the story: how everyday life suddenly feels so technicolor. How there’s even great moments that talk about serious teenage topics, without it feeling it was contrived for the purpose of creating drama in the narrative. How family bonds, especially between siblings, are some of the closest and most loyal, even when they’re complicated at times. And how life is sometimes weird and strange things doesn’t always work out the way you want them too.

But we do. We make things work. We carry on. We live our lives and we live them as full as we can, savouring every moment. We live, we laugh, we love.

As always, Lara Jean, Peter Kavinsky, their friends, their families — all of them! — have brought a smile to my face and warm fuzzies in my heart. Thank you.

View all my reviews