Friday, July 28, 2017
Always and Forever, Lara Jean, by Jenny Han
There isn't much of a theme to this conclusion of the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series, as much as a grand housekeeping and capstone of the tale. As a way to once again experience the Song sisters and their family and friends, this is a delightful continuation of a well-loved series. But as a literary work in its own right, it has little new to offer.
Still, I always enjoy Jenny Han's books. She continues to be a master at depicting characters from different generations in a respectful and honest way. Her kids are kids and her adults are adults. No one is perfect, but no one is a straw man either. The subplot involving the tensions between Trina and Margot is particularly noteworthy. Truth be told, neither adult nor child behave well and Han just presents it warts and all. In a similar vein, Lara Jean and Peter's relationship continues to evolve as it is stressed by their impending separation in crowd-pleasing, yet realistic ways. In general, Han doesn't do dull or shallow characters, but instead populates her stories with people of all ages who are believable and interesting.