Thanks to the quirks of inter-library loan, I received To All The Boys I Loved Before and its sequel P.S I Still Love You at the same time. Little did I know; my library was doing me a favor because Han’s sequel works best if the reader consumes it immediately after reading To All The Boys. In fact, I feel like Jennie Han encourages the reader to binge read both books back to back because the events of the second book pick up a mere day or two later after the first book ends. Lara Jean’s and Peter’s “will they or won’t they” storyline and cliffhanger from the 1st novel are quickly put to rest at the opening of P.S I Still Love you. They decide that “they will” be a real couple but quickly discover that building a healthy relationship full of trust after starting out as a fake couple is harder than they anticipated.
This is a great place to start the sequel but the execution of the rest of the book is a little uneven. Han sells parts of this story very well, like her subplot on social media bullying and sexual double standards, but other parts fell flat. Specifically, I think she made Peter’s character artificially static so there would be a pretext to sow seeds of doubt in Lara Jean’s mind about their relationship. He commits several actions during the novel that even the least emotionally capable teen would see as problematic but he continues to blithely not register Lara Jean’s reactions to them. This doesn’t track with the character development Peter went through in the last book. Additionally, the introduction of a second romantic interest to give Peter a run for his money felt like a way to plump out the novel more than anything else.
My first impression of P.S I Still Love You was positive. It retained the infectious readability of the 1st novel and I devoured it over the course of a day. However, after I sat with it a few weeks I realized P.S I Love You feels less like a fully realized novel with its own distinct themes and goals and more like an overly long coda to To All The Boys I Loved Before. That said, maybe I am just bitter that there was less of a focus on Lara Jean’s relationship with her sisters in this installation. Regardless, for all the complaining I just did, I would still recommend reading this book to anyone who loved the 1st novel and I fully intend to read the third book.