I am sad to say that this book was not as good for me as the first one. I still loved the characters a lot, and there were still all these great, small moments peppered throughout the book. Lara Jean’s family continues to warm my heart. Peter continues to be a huge doofus. Lara Jean is a fashion icon.
Some spoilers below, so be warned.
I just thought this book was a little weak. Where the first book had at the center of it the whole hullabaloo of Lara Jean’s letters escaping into the world, forcing her to confront her weaknesses, and falling in love with Peter at the same time, this second one had a much weaker through line. Replacing the letters is first a scandal involving a video taken the night Peter and Lara Jean made out in the hot tub, and released onto the internet (something stolen for the movie, which has me wondering how they’re going to pad the adaptation of this already lacking plotline in movie two, if they stole some of its mojo already), and then a thing with a time capsule Lara Jean and her friends buried years ago, which morphs into a game of Assassin, played for old time’s sake. All of these things were cute, but they didn’t feel to me substantial enough to keep the book very compelling. I read the first book in about four hours. This one took me several days, because I kept putting it down to go do something else.
I did really like John Ambrose McLaren. I liked the way Han used him, but didn’t let Lara Jean off the hook too easily with Peter.
For me, the real emotional heart of this book is Lara Jean’s complicated relationship with Genevieve, which I don’t think gets enough play. Instead, it’s this frustrating mix of Gen trying to pry Lara Jean and Peter apart, Peter not being very smart about Lara Jean’s feelings in regards to Gen and Peter’s realtionship, and Gen and Lara Jean’s feelings for each other being very unresolved. You don’t really get until the end why Lara Jean is so upset, and then it’s sort of just brushed under the rug. In my opinion, Peter’s heart was in the right place, but he did mess up with LJ, and I don’t think the book makes him realize that enough.
I will be reading book three, of course.