Jenny Han's 'P.S. I Still Love You' And 7 More YA Book Sequels That Are Even Better Than The Original
Jenny Han should go pro at writing great sequels. I was already so attached to Belly, Conrad, and Jeremiah (though #TeamConrad) from The Summer I Turned Pretty that It's Not Summer Without You , its sequel, already had me in its grips, pretty much in tears from page one. And her Burn for Burn trilogy with friend and co-writer Siobhan Vivian never let up into Fire with Fire. So obviously Han's sequel to To All the Boys I've Loved Before, P.S. I Still Love You is like the Godfather: Part II of her series. (Or The Empire Strikes Back, depending on your pop culture allegiance.) She doesn't even need to have a book three, so I'm cool with ending here.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before followed Lara Jean, who writes all of her crushes private letters that she never mails. Until one day all those letters are mailed out at the same time. Whoops. P.S. I Still Love You (thank you, Jenny!) picks up right where book one left off on a cliffhanger ending, mailing a letter to Peter Kavinsky. But it's not all hearts and rainbows, because another guy comes back into Lara Jean's life who starts to confuse her already confusing feelings.
If you're wondering as I was: Yes, Lara Jean's sister Kitty is back, too, and she's just as awesome as ever.
P.S. I Still Love You just hit No. 2 on The New York Times bestseller list, which proves that I'm not alone in thinking Han's second time is really the charm.
But Han isn't alone here. These seven YA sequels were also even better than the original.
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Even better than: The Hunger Games
The stakes were higher for Katniss and Peeta because they, and you as readers, thought they were finally safe from the Arena. So it was that much more gut-wrenching when the rug was pulled out from under them. Plus, let's talk about that arena: It was bigger, it was scarier, and there was a puzzle involved and that's always a great addition. Then, then you add in Finnick and sassy Johanna Mason, who was so epic she deserved her own book? I'm gonna stop you right there, Suzanne Collins, because you win.
Cress by Marissa Meyer
Even better than: Cinder, Scarlet
By the time Marissa Meyer makes her way to book three in the Lunar Chronicles series, the world has already burst at the seams. Cinder was excellent, and so was Scarlet , but Cress only added and never took away. Now we have three awesome, diverse female protagonists who we feel we know as BFFs, and we are hurtling much faster toward adventure and danger. Plus a little Captain Thorne humor never hurt anybody.
Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Even better than: If I Stay
Do I have to signal an unpopular opinion alert? I KNOW there are people on my side here that Where She Went was even more amazing than Gayle Forman's original story If I Stay , which, by the way, was fantastic. I love the idea of switching point of view to Adam and of making it a "bottle episode" of YA, taking place over the course of 24 hours. You're already mid-heartbreak when you pick it up and Forman manages to eke out some hope amid the gush of tears.
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Even better than: Throne of Glass
Maybe I was just thankful to get to spend more time with kickass Celaena Sardothien, but Crown of Midnight seemed to up the ante for me in the Throne of Glass series. And no shots to Heir of Fire , because that was epic as well, but the second book has my heart. (Though we still have several more books to see which is our favorite of the series, thank goodness.) Crown of Midnight was crazy carefully plotted and exciting, and the world seemed even bigger around you as you really narrowed in on Celaena as a character.
Harry Potter series
Even better than: Every single Harry Potter book was better than the last — and I mean that in the best possible way.
Reading the Harry Potter series was like, as The Fault in Our Stars ' Gus would say, being on a roller coaster that only goes up, my friend. Each book you advanced to in the series seemed better than the one before, the characters deeper, the places more interesting, the drama way enhanced, and the tears shed more vast until it came to its thrilling conclusion in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows .
The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson
By the time you get to the third book in Maureen Johnson's Shades of London series, you are already running full throttle. You can barely take a breath diving into The Shadow Cabinet , but you already feel at ease with the characters and welcome into the world. I say "welcome," if "welcome" also means totally creeped out and white-knuckled tense throughout.
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Reading through the second book in the Grisha Trilogy, Siege and Storm , there's a moment all readers must have: Um, just how is Leigh Bardugo going to pull all these threads together and actually wrap up the trilogy? Luckily, Bardugo clearly knows exactly what she's doing, because Ruin and Rising isn't just a top-notch series-ender, it is a fantastic book in its own right. It is epic, twisty-turny, and you can't possibly turn the pages quickly enough. Having a satisfying ending is hard enough, but making it a great book too is a feat.
Image: Jenny Han/Facebook