Jenny Han shocked and thrilled fans of her best-selling Lara Jean books, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You, when she announced an unexpected third installment of the series earlier this year. The forthcoming book, Always and Forever, Lara Jean, sees our heroine having a fantastic senior year: She’s in a loving relationship with her boyfriend, Peter, and she’s helping to plan her father’s wedding. But when the looming reality of leaving home for college sets in, Lara Jean has to figure out what will happen with her relationship, her family, and herself.
Always and Forever, Lara Jean won’t be released until April 4, 2017, but EW is honored to reveal the book’s lovely cover, below. And beneath that, Han tells us what it was like writing in secret, and why she ultimately decided to return to Lara Jean’s world one last time.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why did you keep this book a secret?
JENNY HAN: I kept the book a secret because I wanted to be sure I could do it, and I also wanted to be sure there was still more story to tell. I worked on Always and Forever, Lara Jean for a few months before I breathed a word of it my editor or agent. There’s something so delicious about holding onto a secret; it’s something just for you. I wanted to keep it mine for as long as I could.
What was the moment when you started seriously considering writing a third book in the series?
Last winter, I was working on a new book, and I just couldn’t figure out how to unlock it. My mind kept drifting to Lara Jean and Peter, I kept thinking wistful thoughts, like, I wonder what those two are up to now. When I finished P.S. I Still Love You, I truly was done with the series. Always, it had been meant to be just the two. But I suppose time and space had made me nostalgic, because they were all I could think about. One night I called up my best friend and sometimes co-author Siobhan Vivian and asked her, would it be crazy if I wrote just one more book? She said not at all. She told me to try and see. So that same night, I started writing, and I couldn’t stop. I wrote until the sun came up.
What did you feel still needed to be explored?
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before begins with Lara Jean’s older sister Margot going off to college, and Lara Jean is the one left behind feeling a little lost. I wanted to see that story come full circle, for it to be Lara Jean’s turn to be the one leaving. What would she do differently? Her world opened up in so many ways in the first two books, so how has she changed and how is she still the same?
What will you miss most about Lara Jean and her world? (If this is REALLY the last book…)
I will miss the coziness of the house and of the family. I’ll miss the starry-eyed way Lara Jean looks at the world. I’ll probably miss Kitty most of all.
What are you most excited for readers to see in this next book?
I’m excited for readers to see her grow up, to make big choices, to take the next steps.
What do you think readers are most excited to see?
I think readers are probably most excited to see Peter K again. After all, he is the handsomest boy of all the handsome boys!
What’s it like knowing a book already has such an extensive fanbase before you’ve even written it? Did you feel more pressure when writing this, or less?
Honestly, I think I felt more pressure writing P.S. I Still Love You. I’ve gotten to write this book in such a luxurious, pleasurable way, first in secret, and then with so much happy anticipation from the fans. To me, this book feels like Lara Jean’s swan song. I see her perched on the seat of a candy apple red convertible, waving to everybody who’s been on this journey with her, taking one last look around before she drives off to whatever comes next.