Monday, December 11

Let's Talk 2017 Sequels: Two Reviews, One Discussion

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

Ever since Judge Crevan declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with Carrick, the only person she can trust. 

But Celestine has a secret—one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground. A secret that has already caused countless people to go missing. 

Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save just herself or risk her life to save all Flawed people.

There were exactly two sequels I was the most stoked for this year: Always and Forever, Lara Jean and Perfect. The latter, a much-needed closure to the first book, Flawed, and the prior an unexpected treat from the author, a final addition to the To All the Boys I Loved Before series. So how much did these two sequels satisfy me? Were they worth the time, energy and emotions invested? Let's find out! 

The Plot

It's some time since we last met Lara Jean, and she is now in the weird phase where she knows exactly what she wants to do with her life and yet she doesn't. Decisions are waiting to be made and do these decisions take her even closer towards Peter Kavinsky or away from him? Does she let her head govern her decisions or her heart? Can she somehow strike a balance and get the best of both worlds? This is the core plot of the story, but there's also much more happening in the Song/Covey household, like the impending wedding of the girls' father. 

In Perfect, we meet Celestine North again and she's on the run, with Judge Crevan slowly but surely catching up on her. Will she succeed in bringing justice to all the Flawed people or will she fail? Can she trust the right people just enough to carry out what she sets out to or can't she? Most importantly, will she be able to put everyone before herself and be the face of all the injustice being meted out on the Flawed or will she falter in the face of this daunting task?  Things get properly exciting this time around and we are taken on an exhilarating ride along with Celestine as she goes about doing what she does best: kicking ass. One problem I had in this book though involves self-harm and I'm pretty disappointed in how it was incorporated in the story. I do no spoiler,s but you'll get what I mean if you've read the book. Do you think it was necessary, what Celestine did? I definitely think not. It feels like the author included that just for the sake of the shock factor and it just feels so wrong. Do let me know what you think, if you've read this book already!

The Writing

Writing, in my opinion, is the forte of these two amazing authors, and this is exactly what makes these books as appealing as they are to me.

 As always, Jenny Han manages to enchant one with the very ease that she weaves together a compelling story. When I first heard of a sequel coming up for this brilliant series, I was in two minds. While on one hand I was incredibly excited, on the other, I did have slight reservations about what more exactly the author could offer to this already pretty perfect series. On reading this one though, I realized that this was a sequel I didn't even realize I needed. While things ended on quite a closed note in the second book, there still was a lingering feeling, a longing, to know more about how things would turn out for these lovely Song girls and everyone else. Things come full circle in Always and Forever, Lara Jean, and the author deserves all the praise for keeping the original magic of this series intact. 

I've always loved Cecelia Ahern for the touch of magic she always sprinkles throughout the books. The writing is always so exquisite and never fails to pull me in. This time, though, I was sorely disappointed because this book didn't feel like Cecelia Ahern at all. There were a few issues with the pacing as well, but the writing by itself was also lacking. Things were more exciting this time around, but not as impactful as in the first book. While I was very much interested in how things would turn out, I just failed to be as emotionally invested as I would have liked to in the story- and that's a pity because the first book was all kinds of awesome in that department. The writing still sufficed enough to keep me hooked, though, so I wouldn't say it was completely a problem per se. 

The Characters

We meet the Song sisters, Peter Kavinsky and everyone else again (for the last time, I must add. AH MY HEART!!) and things have never been better. It was super good to see how everyone had changed, and I loved how Lara Jean had matured over the years. She's come so far since the first book and I'm so happy. I can honestly say this book has some of my most favorite characters and relationships, and I'm glad I got to spend time with them all again. It was both nostalgic and exciting, and I may even go so far as to say I loved them the best in this book. 

While in Flawed we saw Celestine turning victim, here we witness her being molded into a true fighter and it was amazing! I loved that she was strong and kickass, and most of all human, and I wouldn't be lying if I said I wanted more YA protagonists like her. Carrick was amazing this time around (we didn't really get to know him in the first book), and I particularly loved seeing how Celestine and Carrick developed throughout the story, both individually and as a couple. I also loved seeing more of Celestine's mother, and she was just fantastic- yay for supportive moms! We meet a whole lot of other characters- some old, some new- and they were all so brilliantly fletched out that even the most insignificant characters made an impact. 

Final Thoughts

To wrap it all up, I'd say I'm glad both these books happened. Perfect was very much needed, and even though Always and Forever, Lara Jean was a surprise addition to the series, it still provided us the closure we never knew we needed. 

What are some of the sequels you were most excited about this year? Did you manage to read them by now? If yes, did they fulfill all your expectations? Let's talk in the comments below!


  1. I can't think of any sequel at the top of my head except from The Ship of Dead by Rick Riordan which I'm currently reading at the moment. Riordan has yet to seriously disappoint me so I hope this one isn't the one *fingers crossed*

    1. It honestly sucks so bad when a favorite turns out to be a dud- I hope it worked out great for you! xx

  2. Totally agree on Always and Forever!! I was so sad to see the series go but it gave me the closure I needed and left me with a warm fuzzy feeling inside. I just might reread the series soon!

    1. IKR??? I've been wanting to reread the series for so log now but there's also this humongous pile of books I need o get to asap so...ugh.

  3. I would say that Always and Forever, Lara Jean was my most anticipated sequel of the year, and it did not disappoint. Like you said, Han was able to capture the same feeling with me, even though I thought that a third book was unneeded! It just might be my favorite of the series, and I loved seeing Lara's growth. She is so much mature now than she was in the first book!

    1. Jenny Han is so gifted and I'm so, so glad I discovered her this year (FINALLY, I KNOW!!!). Lara Jean sure went through a lot of growth and I loved it! <33

  4. I'm so happy to hear that about Always and Forever. I was also really hesitant to get on board, but hearing so many people talk about how great it is, I decided to buy it. I haven't read it yet, but I am looking forward to visiting Lara Jean and co one last time.

    1. OH DO GET TO IT SOON! If you loved the first two books, I guarantee you'd ADORE this one! xx


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