Last fall, I watched and enjoyed the Netflix adaptation of Jenny Han’s first book about Lara Jean, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. A few months later when I read (but did not review) the novel the film was based on—I was pleasantly surprised. The book was even more complex and nuanced than the movie—especially with the relationship between Lara Jean, her two sisters and her father. There is more about her Korean heritage in the book and about her father’s attempts to keep her deceased mother’s traditions alive.
In P.S. I Still Love You, Jenny Han picks up where her first book left off—with Lara Jean celebrating New Year’s Day with her family and with a letter to Peter in her coat pocket—a letter of apology and one that directly expresses her strong feelings for him. Though Peter and Lara Jean’s relationship has changed from “contractual” to romantic, things do not go smoothly. A video of Lara Jean and Peter’s romantic moment in a hot tub (on a school trip) surfaces and goes viral on social media. Also, Lara Jean is having difficulty controlling her feelings about Peter’s continuing relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Genevieve, who claims to be going through a “rough time.” When they were younger, Lara Jean and Genevieve were best friends but now she is basically Lara Jean’s nemesis.
As things get complicated, Lara Jean finds herself distracted by the appearance of John McLaren, one of her crushes from middle school (who was one of the five letter recipients from To All the Boys I Loved Before). It turns out that McLaren had just gotten the letter (long story) and has written her back. As they begin to reconnect, Lara Jean wonders if she can have feelings for two boys at one time.
There are no car chases or potential apocalypses here, but rather a detailed and thoughtful story of one young woman’s first real relationship with all the misunderstandings and moments of awkwardness you might expect. Lara Jean is smart about some things but has a lot to learn about others, and it is a pleasure watching her navigate her way toward adulthood–especially surrounded by a great supporting cast of family and friends. I’m rooting for her and Peter (especially because I have the charming Noah Centineo in my head as I read) but I know that no matter what happens, Lara Jean will be fine.