Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2
Publisher : Simon & Schuster
Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary
Page Count: 337
Synopsis : Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?
In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing. (From Goodreads)
Rating: DNF @ 47%
CW: Ableist language, aromisia, suicide joke, slutshaming.
Thinking about this book again to review it makes me mad. After finishing To All the Boys I’ve Loved before, which I enjoyed but didn’t fall head over heels for, I was looking forwards to this one, because even with a love triangle (which I only like in certain circumstances) and having minor issues with it, I still thought it was cute and sweet and a really fast read to pick up when you’re looking to not overexert your brain. But this. This book did not only fall flat for me but it also was a mess in more ways than one. I’m going to stop rage typing now and break down all the things I didn’t like in the half of the book I read.
The writing is just like in the first book, pretty good, simple to read and easy to follow, But just like in the first book it was heavy on the ableist language which was harder for me to look past this time because I virtually had next to nothing in the rest of the story to keep me going. In addition to that, there was glaring aromisia which honestly pissed me off to no end, and here is the quote:
“The non-dating type? What kind of type is that? A little mushroom who sits at home in a semidark room growing moss?
Let’s not forget the slutshaming undertone, which wasn’t really condoned in the book but never really challenged either. Lara Jean was so pressed on showing how “proper” she was that she often threw people who do things differently, “more scandalously” under the bus. Besides the undertone, there was this judgmental sentence directed at a grown woman that rubbed me the wrong way:
“I mean, sure she’s nice, but she wears so much makeup and she’s always spilling hot coffee all over her cleavage and shrieking like a banshee.”
I mean? Do I really need to explain why that’s wrong? But what took the cake for me and made me be sure I wouldn’t be able to sit through the whole book was a suicide joke that threw me off so bad, I’m going to put the quote next so please if you might be triggered by such content, skip over it but i’m putting it on here for the sake of transparency (highlight text to read it):
“I’d have slit my wrists if I was a teenage girl spending all my beauty years at a damn nursing home.”
Now that I’m done ranting about the writing, onto the plot. Keep in mind that I’m only reviewing the bit I read, and up until 47% the love triangle with the guy from Lara Jean’s past isn’t introduced yet, but from what I heard it’s hella unnecessary. Anyway. In my honest opinion, there wasn’t much of a plot, and I read almost half the book. I know, what you’re going to say: “But Fadwa, don’t you always say you LOVE character driven stories?” Yes. Yes I do. But I need to actually care about the characters to be able to hold on to their arc development. And there’s wasn’t much character development if you ask me, so that didn’t help in making it a character driven story either.
There were exactly two things I liked in this book. The first one being a little passing discussion around how a lot more harshly girls are judged on their sex lives than boys are. Which, albeit very binary-centric, I really appreciated because I feel like it’s not something often acknowledged in books. The second one is, to no one’s surprise, the sisters’ relationship, it felt so authentic, because it’s far from being perfect but the three of them still have each others’ backs no matter what and it just warmed my heart. But like the title said, I would’ve needed a lot more than that to actually finish the book.
As previously mentioned, I did not care for the characters, they felt stagnant, there was no evolution to their arc from book one which made me lose interest in them very quickly. I also felt the book was a bit off balance, it was similar to the first one but also lost the sweetness I loved about that one. Lara Jean and Peter didn’t have any chemistry as a couple, we rarely see them interact, and most of the time they do interact, they’re talking about Genevieve. And here’s the thing I didn’t get the obsession with Genevieve, and why the author made that girl envy and jealousy such a big part of the story.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fool. I know those things are real, they exist, girls are wired to compete with each other for boys and that is something that’s hard to overcome and step out of. And I honestly hope that by the end of the book it was resolved, because if it was put there just to be put there, I can’t get behind it. There’s just too much of it. Lara Jean’s thoughts were consumed by the girl. And I understand that, because she’s Peter’s ex and he spends a lot of time with her still (what’s up with that???) so she feels insecure and needs reassurance in her relationship which, in my opinion, Peter failed to give adequately, which only made the proeminence of Genevieve in Lara’s Jean’s thoughts worse. And I really disliked that. Like I said, I hope it’s resolved by the end of the book, but I didn’t read that far and wouldn’t honestly hold my breath for it to happen. (If you’ve read the book, please let me know)
I’m going to stop this review here because I need to keep some ranting energy for other reviews and I also think I circled around everything I wanted to discuss. I get that the Korean-American representation in this book is important, lord knows I rarely see myself in books, so I get it. And if you want to read it go ahead and do it, but I just needed to put the problems the book has out there because I didn’t really see anything about them from other people.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read P.S I Still Love You? If so, what did you think?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.