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P.S. I Still Love These Books

In which we finally find out what happens after To All the Boys I've Loved Before.

P.S. I Still Love These Books

BOOK REPORT for P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before Book 2) by Jenny Han

Cover Story: Feeling Blue
BFF Charm: Big Sister
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: P.S. I Still Devoured This
Bonus Factors: Social Media Scrutiny, Kickass Gram, Tasty Business, Elaborate Tag
Relationship Status: LYLAS

Cover Story: Feeling Blue

Thank the YA gods -- Lara Jean is back! She's looking a little less dreamy-eyed than the last time we saw her, but her outfit and eyebrows are impeccable, as is Jenny Han's enviable handwriting. (And the teacup!) My fave detail is actually a minor one: the first hardcover has pink font on the dust jacket and a pink cover underneath, which switches to classic Tiffany Blue for this one. (JUST LIKE MINDY'S BOOKS.)

The Deal:

WARNING! This is Book 2 of the To All the Boys I've Loved Before duology. Spoilers ahead for Book 1!

Picking up right where the first book left off -- with the rest of Lara Jean's letter to Peter, omg so evil to leave us hanging like that -- Lara Jean isn't exactly having a stellar New Year's. How can anyone even enjoy themselves at a family function* when the contents of your heart are sealed within an envelope?

Besides, none of this was supposed to be real anyway; Lara Jean and Peter were just pretending to be dating. But her feelings for him have turned out to be anything but fake -- as Peter's about to find out when he gets ahold of the letter. 

*I know; for some of y'all, this sentence could have just ended right here.

BFF Charm: Big Sister

I still love Lara Jean fiercely and find her utterly relatable, so I'm not exactly rescinding the platinum BFF charm that I doled out last time around. But I do think she could use more people to have her back unconditionally and to dish out real talk that she might not want to hear, in the absence of her own big sis, Margot -- and minus the shared romantic baggage that the Song girls have. 

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Oh, this one is tough, y'all. Lara Jean and Peter have a lot of ship goodwill with me, thanks to the first book. Plus, fake-relationship-that-turns-into-something-more** has long been one of my fave highly specific tropes. But now that they're actually giving it a real shot, there are obstacles aplenty -- maybe a little too plenty -- which makes it all the more excruciating when there's trouble in paradise.

While some problems are beyond their control, like the social media scandal that erupts (more on that later), others are completely of their own doing, like Peter's blindspot when it comes to ex-GF (and Lara Jean's ex-BFF) Genevieve, and Lara Jean's rekindled friendship with a boy from her past. Which brings up the issue that of course significant others can have friends of the gender that they're attracted to, but there's clearly something amiss if (1) said friend gets treated better than the significant other, often at the expense of the s.o.'s feelings, or (2) the significant other is deliberately being kept in the dark about a supposedly platonic friendship. As exasperating as these lovable knuckleheads' grasps of trust, honesty, and communication can be, it's realistic behaviour for two young people with limited relationship experience. (Even though Peter had been with Genevieve for years, he still only has had one previous GF.)

BUT BACK TO THE SWOON. There's a sort-of new guy vying for Lara Jean's heart, and this dreamboat is totally capable of making readers jump ship -- and understand why Lara Jean's considering the same. I only wish he was brought in even sooner, because CALL ME, [REDACTED].

**Weirdly, I can't think of another good example of this. Maybe I should start watching K-dramas.

Talky Talk: P.S. I Still Devoured This

Simple yet heartfelt, Jenny Han's books pretty much require clearing off an afternoon (or a late night) to finish. (Seriously, I suffer so much from Just One More Chapter Syndrome because of this duology -- even during rereads.) Han also does the smart sequel move by revisiting and expanding awesome supporting characters, like Chris, Lara Jean's de facto non-sister BFF, and Lucas, the love letter recipient that Lara Jean didn't know was gay. 

Bonus Factor: Social Media Scrutiny

Anonybitch is an anonymous spiritual successor to Gossip Girl, and its latest victims are Lara Jean and Peter. OK, so this in itself is obvs not a good thing, but it's def. a bonus factor to have someone social media savvy like Jenny Han to take it on. 

Bonus Factor: Kickass Gram

Lara Jean dedicates herself to a new project at Belleview Retirement Community, which means more of Belleview's resident diva, Stormy. Although Stormy would probably resent being called anyone's grams (or, more accurately, step-great-grams), even if it's a kickass one. 

Bonus Factor: Tasty Business

Pro-tip: do not read this book when you're hungry, for fear of drool stains on your book. I especially like this dessert, due to deliciousness and also reasons.

My cake will be chocolate, because kids and people in general prefer chocolate to any other flavor. The frosting is where I'll get fancy. Possibly salted caramel, or passion fruit, or maybe a mocha whip. I've been toying with the idea of doing an ombré cake, where the frosting goes from dark to light. I have a feeling my cake will be in demand. 

WHY, YES, I DO DEMAND IT. 

Bonus Factor: Elaborate Tag

Feeling nostalgic, Lara Jean's group of childhood friends plays a game of high-stakes tag called Assasins, which supports my theory that games we played as children become even more fun the older you get. (Although there's a more intense, competitive edge to the game that LJ and co. play.)

Casting Call:

Since I've already cast some of the characters and the prominent new character in this book already has a well-defined aesthetic (emphasis on FIIIIIINE***), I'll only make one more addition.

Cloris Leachman as Stormy

... now if only the Fresh Prince would MAKE THIS MOVIE HAPPEN ALREADY.

***For funsies: I'd cast a cross between Brad Pitt and Aaron Tveit, i.e., HANDSOMENESS UPON HANDSOMENESS.

Relationship Status: LYLAS

Book, I'm so glad you came back into my life, because our story was so not over after that first date. Even though the honeymoon period has worn off, my minor frustrations were vastly overshadowed by my happiness from hanging out with you again. 

FTC Full Disclosure: I purchased my review copy from the launch party via Mandy C. (thanks, girl!). I received neither money nor froyo for writing this review (dammit!). P.S. I Still Love You is available now.

Mandy Wan's photo About the Author: Residing in Edmonton, AB, Mandy unabashedly loves YA lit, frozen desserts, and terrible puns.