Always and Forever, Lara Jean is not the type of book anyone should read if they're looking for a grand teenage coming of age adventure. It is the type of book you read just so you can finish a series. The latest and last Lara Jean book is only slightly better than what Mockingjay was to the Hunger Games series.
The previous two books in the series - To All the Boys I've Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You - were certainly not masterpieces of literature, but Jenny Han got pretty sloppy with this last book. My first complaint is about the characters: they were not multidimensional, they did not develop or grow, and I did not want to sympathize with them. Lara Jean simply never grew up. I had hoped for changes on her part and I did at one point think about sympathizing with her when she didn't make it into UVA, however she simply proved to not be deserving of it. Furthermore, Han's attempts to show she was growing up through her drunken idiocy and wanting to have sex with Peter completely failed because that is not what growing up means. Lara Jean was the same as she was in the first novel: selfish and immature. The beloved Peter Kavinsky was also one dimensional in this book. Other than a couple of tantrums, he was the golden boy as usual. The only character in the book who was unpredictable in the slightest was Kitty, but only because the book almost explicitly labeled her that.
Furthermore, there were quite a few characters that were absolutely useless to the plot. I am a firm believer that characters should not be added to a story just so the story can have more characters. Pammy and Lucas added absolutely nothing to the story except to show that Lara Jean and Peter were not losers. These extraneous characters only took up space and had no personality whatsoever.
Additionally, in a relatively short book like Always and Forever, Lara Jean the details must always match up. There were several times that I was unsure of what Han was trying to convey because of confusions between the colleges in the book. All of the time jumps in the book were not too helpful either. There were not enough descriptions about important things that happened. For example, the Korea trip that there was so much build up to was not talked about. I understand that it was meant to create conflict, but it overall did not add to the story due to the fact that it felt like it was forgotten about.
Finally, the ending did not do the book any favors. The best books give you something to think about after you finish, it's the kind of dazed feeling you get, like the book you've just read was so good it was bound to have all been a dream. I did think about this book after I finished it; however, I wasn't thinking very positive thoughts. The Always and Forever, Lara Jean ending gave me a "what the hell??" type of feeling. As the last book in the series, I felt that the ending should wrap things up but instead we as the audience only get that Lara Jean and Peter are finally having sex.
After finishing the book, I felt that while I had grown up since my introduction to Lara Jean in To All The Boys I've Loved Before, she stayed the same and that is why I didn't appreciate the book as I might have a couple of years ago. I personally am disappointed, but I can't help but feel that I expected too much since it does its job well enough as a quick read for bored teenage girls ... at least it has a pretty cover.