Reader Review: P.S. I Still Love You – Jenny Han
P.S. I Still Love You: ★★★★
If you caught my previous review detailing my opinion on ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m reviewing the second book in the series so quickly due to the first book taking me rather off guard. The sequel, in ways that I this time did expect, definitely lived up to what I expected of the continuation of the series – though I don’t think it quite lives up to the hype it gets.
The second book starts off pretty much where the first finishes. This time, Lara Jean finds herself caught up in a spiral of having feelings for both Peter and John – another boy who she wrote one of her letters for. Going through the complications of having feelings for two rather completely different boys, Lara Jean finds herself thrown into situations that she doesn’t expect, discovering secrets about the boy she thought she knew so well, whilst also trying to juggle her – occasionally stressful – sisterly bonds.
So, from the start of the book, I could easily pick up on the fact that the tone of the series had been maintained which is effective in the sense that it pulls the reader in. The writing style shows continuity through the series, which is going to be good for fans of the specific tone it creates, and, since the book follows on straight from the first book’s ending, it’s quickly engaging and easy to follow. As well as this, things seem to happen rather quickly in the plot – things get moving at a quick pace, which means the audience doesn’t grow tired of waiting for the next thing to happen. The descriptions are also still good and immersive which allows the audience to visualise and relate to the scenarios that the characters find themselves in rather than being confused and trying to make sense of what’s happening.
As the plot continues, it becomes evident that there is a nice continuation of the sister relationships as the book expands on how the family interacts with each other. From my review of the first book, it’s quite obvious that the sisterly bonds showcased happens to be one of my favourite parts of the series itself, so I was delighted to see that those relationships weren’t tucked away in favour of expanding the romance more directly. I also like the way that the sisters have very different personalities which creates a nice dynamic – it’s nice for the audience to read how they interact and react to each other and towards certain situations. It’s not ‘boring’ to just read casual domestic scenarios because there’s still depth to the scene and the dialogue. For example, the sister conversation about Kitty growing up and living her own life actually made me resonate with the bond between the characters and, in turn, it actually comforted me directly because I was able to relate to the feelings that the character was going through. Once again, throughout the book, I really liked the odd little scenes that seem unimportant – such as baking and card making – because it makes the story feel more wholesome in the sense that the reader still feels like they’re getting a personal insight into the life of the characters. It’s not continuously just drama, drama, drama – sometimes the book and the plot takes a step back and allows the reader to take a breath, and I really like that about the series as a whole.
Another thing that I like about this book and the continuation of the series is that it approaches important topics and makes them known to the reader. This is especially important for younger audiences – which quite clearly are going to be interested in this book – because there are important notes to pick up on. It looks into topics like slut shaming, feminism, and talks of how girls don’t need boys to protect them, so I think there are definitely important takeaways that readers are going to be able to pick up on rather easily. Using the series to get across vital messages – especially regarding society and it’s twisted outlooks in the context of double standards and expectations – is a very good use of exposure and representation for good life messages overall. The series also makes use of its popularity to include representation of LGBT+ characters and characters of different races, which adds depth and general interest.
The book is an easy read, which I expected due to the tone that the first book takes, and, even though it still isn’t my type of story and the premise isn’t all that interesting for me personally, I still felt involved and as if I was interacting with the story directly. I also found that it’s generally a nice story just to get lost into – the diversion aspect is very good and has been achieved rather seamlessly – because it allows the audience to get lost in a story that doesn’t pose issues in their own lives. It’s cheesy, but in a good way because it’s entertaining and easy to get lost in.
Though, I found that the second book also maintains the same cliches and tropes from the same book, though that is indeed something I expected. Due to this, the plot twists aren’t all that surprising – you rather expect the story to go in the direction that it does – but it’s still entertaining and it’s still an easy read to get involved in.
However, I found that the characters of the second book actually bugged me more than they did in the first book. From the beginning, Lara Jean acts like a child – she acts much younger than she’s actually meant to be, which makes it more difficult for readers of a similar age to engage and bond with her personality and characterisation. Peter’s character is also a lot more annoying – he acts like an asshole throughout the book and it’s frustrating that Lara Jean idolises some of the actions and decisions that he makes without just calling it quits earlier on. I think out of all the characters, I prefer Margot and I like Josh – I also think John is definitely the better choice between Peter and himself. Another thing that got on my nerves is that the book is occasionally overly dramatic at times – the reactions seem over the top and it makes the situations seem a lot less realistic and a lot more forced (as if they’re trying to be more important than they are). It also adds to the childish vibe of the book, which gets tiring.
Thanks for reading this short review and I’ll write you later.
If you’re a fan of the first book in the series, then I definitely recommend continuing with picking up the second, as it definitely lives up to the bar that the first one sets for it.
If you’re generally just a fan of the young adult genre and sorting through cute but mismatched teenage relationships, then give this series a shot – just make sure to pick the first book up before this one.