When Peter Kavinsky did that swoon-worthy pocket spin move on Lara Jean in To All The Boys I Loved Before, my then-21-year old self felt an overwhelming pang of jealousy.
Why did I not have those same cutesy interactions with a boy when I was in high school? Why didn’t I have a curly-haired boy propose that we become fake lovers?
I too was a Type A high schooler who wore her ponytail a bit too high. I too liked writing love letters (although I thankfully do not have a younger sister who would have sent them). I too had aspirations for a romance that could battle with any rom-com tropes. So why? Why did I not have my very own Peter Kavinsky?
To All The Boys P.S. I Still Love You is the aftermath of the kiss in the field. Lara Jean and Peter are no longer pretending to be a couple. They are now a real couple trying to work their way around their newfound relationship.
“Over the course of the film they go from wanting to never break each other’s hearts and remain in the honeymoon phase to actually growing beyond that — facing problems together, overcoming those problems, even at the point of heartbreak,” says Noah Centineo on an interview over Skype.
The plot thickens with the addition of another cutie into the mix: John Ambrose McClaren (Jordan FIsher), Lara Jean’s crush from camp who also received a letter, is back in town. The contrast between Peter and John Ambrose is hard not to miss. Whereas Peter is the guy who is friends with everyone — the all-around cool guy who plays Lacrosse and wins all beer pong tournaments,
John Ambrose is more of the quiet and supportive best friend type. Peter likes going to parties with the whole school. John Ambrose plays the piano and volunteers in a home. They’re both loveable in their own ways — both ticking a lot of boxes in our ideal boyfriend checklist. So it comes as no surprise that Lara Jean (just like the rest of us heathens) was torn between two lovers.
But this time, It’s easy enough to see the fault in Peter. He seems to have fallen short of the pedestal that Lara Jean has put him in, and she’s suddenly faced with the hardship of steering their new relationship into the right course. And even with Lara Jean’s incessant effort to make things work, they still break up.
She finds out that Peter sent her Edgar Allan Poe’s Annabel Lee for Valentine’s Day, disguising it as a poem that he wrote himself (yikes). She finds out that Peter was actually waiting for Gen in the bathtub back on that fateful ski trip (double yikes). She feels left out and unprepared, inadequate compared to Gen, and to top it all off, confused about her feelings for John Ambrose.
John Ambrose, on the other hand, is nothing if not understanding. While Lara Jean is all dazed and confused about all the happenings in her life, John Ambrose is a steady hand in the midst of all chaos.
He shows Lara Jean what could have been without imposing too much. He backed off when he learned about Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship. He accepted defeat when Lara Jean realized that she had no real feelings for him. And John Ambrose plays the piano. John Ambrose makes Lara Jean laugh. John Ambrose loves without expectations.
So why, Lara Jean, did you have to choose Peter over my boy John Ambrose? Why choose the boy who didn’t even bother to give you a grand gesture for Valentine’s? Why choose the boy who made you feel inadequate? Heck, Peter made fun of John Ambrose’s stutter and ate the last piece of pizza. If that’s not enough of a reason, I really really don’t know what is.
Photos courtesy of Netflix