Warning: This post contains spoilers for To All the Boys I've Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You is officially out on Netflix, which means your group chat is most likely blowing up with a heated discussion as sides form and friendships break under pressure. It's the biggest debate since Bella had to choose between a moody vampire and a chiseled werewolf in Twilight. The question remains: Are you Team Peter or Team John? On the outside, both men seem like equally viable options. They're super cute, very sweet, and they both obviously care about Lara Jean. Of course, that's what makes this decision so hard, and Lara Jean struggles with it throughout the movie.
While LJ makes her choice in the end, as Seventeen editors and TATBILB enthusiasts, Assistant Editor Carolyn Twersky and Entertainment Editor Tamara Fuentes felt there was more to discuss. So, they broke down Peter and John, really laid out all of the boys' best and worst qualities and they believe, that after a lot of deliberation, they can definitively say who Lara Jean should end up with.
Disclaimer: Both Carolyn and Tamara entered this discussion with existing biases. Carolyn admits to being Team John, swayed by his mature demeanor and proven respect for Lara Jean. Tamara, meanwhile, is Team Peter as he has shown that he is a great boyfriend to LJ (and his gorgeous smile and charming personality don’t hurt either).
Who has a better history with Lara Jean?
Carolyn Twersky: OK, I feel like this is a pretty obvious one. Who was Lara Jean’s friend in 6th grade? Who matched her iconic french toast Halloween costume with an equally enviable deviled egg? Who more or less changed his name and started going by John Ambrose simply to have something in common with LJ?! Yup, that’s right, John Ambrose McClaren. They used to hang out at the treehouse together, reading. And where was Peter? Probably kissing Lara Jean’s then-BFF, finishing the pizza and eating all of John’s cupcakes!
Yes, Lara Jean’s technically had crushes on both of them in the past (along with Lucas, Josh, and the easily forgotten Kenny), but something about Lara Jean’s young love for John seems the most genuine. It’s based off more than popularity and good looks (though it doesn’t help that he is super cute). LJ saw past John’s stutter and into his heart, and those feelings were obviously real enough that they came right back the second Lara Jean saw his name on a return address letter head.
Tamara Fuentes: While I totally agree that John Ambrose and Lara Jean knew each other longer, I think how Peter and Lara Jean started their relationship back in seventh grade is much more adorable! It was like fate came between them during that Spin the Bottle game at LJ’s first girl/boy party and the two shared a sweet little kiss that would totally bring them back together in the future.
Obviously, they had to wait a little bit before finally figuring out their feelings for each other (ugh, thanks, Gen). But they found each other in the end and it was the same innocent little spark like when they first shared a kiss. Peter obvs still had feelings for her even years later or else he wouldn’t have come up with the idea of being a fake BF with her. Plus, since John Ambrose ended up moving away and Peter stayed in town, they truly got to know each other better over the years.
CT: Finding love over a game of Spin the Bottle truly is every young girl’s dream, but you (possibly unintentionally) bring up another point that I believe also falls in John’s favor. Lara Jean and Peter’s history, while cute, is complicated. There’s drama, jealousy, and even nonconsensual make out videos involved. While it is definitely possible to get past all of that (what high school relationship is without a little bit of drama?), I question if their love is strong enough.
TF: If it wasn’t, I don’t think they would’ve made it past the first movie. Instead, they decided to give their love a try even though they know that it will probably get complicated now that it’s real. At least with Peter, she knows everything that has happened to him over the years and what he’s been like growing up. With John Ambrose, he’s just showing his good side to Lara Jean when he’s with him. What is he hiding? How do we know he’s not just as complicated as Peter when it comes to things like this? Peter is definitely the safer choice because Lara Jean knows what she’s getting herself into.
CT: True, but love isn’t supposed to be safe! I think Stormy would agree with me on that one. And Lara Jean may know less about John, but I think the prospect of learning about someone, peeling back their layers over time, and finding little surprises along the way is all part of falling in love. Plus, something tells me John is a good guy inside and out, but hey, I could be wrong.
But we are talking about history here! And simply because, in my opinion, it’s way less complicated and way more filled with chocolate peanut butter cupcakes, my vote is for John.
TF: As much as I love Peter K., you kind of convinced me there by bringing up that Stormy would agree that John is the better one of the two with their history. I have to admit, my heart fluttered a bit seeing them together in their cute little costumes as a kid. So in terms of history, John Ambrose is the winner!
Winner: John Ambrose
Who does she have the most chemistry with?
TF: Although John Ambrose might have won the first round, Peter K. totally has this one in the bag! Going back to their first kiss, there was clearly chemistry there from the very beginning, especially if Lara Jean wrote a letter to him right after it. Plus, even their fake relationship started off with a kiss on the track field, proving that Lara Jean was still super into him years later. And who can forget the hot tub scene?! Things were definitely heating up between them and it wasn’t just because of the water. It’s clear that they’re super into each other and the chemistry has been there from the start!
CT: It’s hard to deny that Peter and Lara Jean have chemistry, especially when the first movie was steamy AF, but I need to give my boy John a chance. The first time LJ sees John at Bellevue, it literally knocks her down! And from then on, the sexual tension is pretty palpable. I mean, the second Lara Jean is a single woman, one of the first things she does is kiss John. And that Star Ball scene out in the snow...all I can say is, “wow.”
TF: While John and LJ have totally had some cute moments together, I don’t think they’re as big as her moments with Peter. LJ might have literally fallen in front of John Ambrose when they first met, but that can easily be argued to be due to the marbles on the ground. Plus, the Star Ball scene out in the snow was cute, but as soon as she kissed him out there, she knew that Peter was the one. So does that moment really count as chemistry for them? I don’t think so.
CT: Yeah, I can’t argue with that. Any cuteness of that moment is erased when Peter is revealed to have the greatest timing ever and he arrives at the dance just when Lara Jean needs him. And that final kiss does blow her smooch with John out of the water. The heart wants what it wants, and LJ’s heart seems to want Peter.
Winner: Peter Kavinsky
Who is a better fit for Lara Jean?
CT: OK, I like this one because we’re pretty much just looking at the two guys on paper and no one’s resume looks better than John Ambrose! Former Model UN participant? Check. Bellevue volunteer? Check. Avid reader? Check. Prefers to spend time with senior citizens rather than play flip cup with people his own age? Oh yeah, that’s a check! And the best part? Lara Jean loves all of these things too! Talk about a perfect match!
TF: This one is a little hard when it comes to Peter because they couldn’t be more different, but I think that kind of works in his favor. Even in their fake relationship, Peter made an effort to get to know her and even changed some of his habits to suit her. He started to pick her up before school ‘cause she doesn’t like to drive. He even drove all the way across town to get her the Korean yogurt that she likes. In the second film, he allowed her to drive to the lantern festival without knowing what she had up her sleeve. Peter K. allows her to be her own person despite him liking different things, which I think is so important in a relationship.
CT: I agree, and I will admit, it’s not always ideal to date someone exactly like you, because then how will you grow in your relationship? That being said, in this instance, Peter and LJ are a little too different. Yes, he is a good boyfriend, but he expects things of her that she doesn’t seem entirely comfortable with (going to parties, dressing up to cheer him on during his lacrosse games). Meanwhile, she and John could probably sit at a table and talk for hours about books and politics. You can maybe argue that they are too similar, but like you said earlier, we don’t know too much about John, and maybe he has something up his sleeve that will shake up the relationship just enough. Either way, I think it’s obvious that John is the better fit.
TF: I do have to admit, I felt pretty uncomfortable when LJ dressed up for his lacrosse game, only to figure out that he was seen with Gen just a bit earlier or how he didn’t call her to let her know that he was going to be late for their coffee date earlier. They both have different things they enjoy, but sometimes it doesn’t mesh well. But John and LJ seemed to not skip a beat when it came to being together as soon as they saw each other again.
Winner: John Ambrose
Who would be a better boyfriend?
TF: I feel like this is a tough question since they each have their own reasons why they would make a better boyfriend. I feel like Peter challenges Lara Jean to go outside her comfort zone, but still allows her to be her own person. We see in the first film that Peter isn’t afraid of discussing the hard stuff with her and is completely open to hearing about her experiences. He also didn’t pressure her to have sex with him in the second film, showing he totally respects her and doesn’t want to push her to do anything that she really doesn’t want to do. Plus, even though they’ve already been “dating” for a while, he still planned a special night for her at the beginning of the film for their first official date. Also, he made an effort to get to know LJ and her family throughout the films, making him total BF material with the ultimate stamp of approval from dad.
CT: I can’t argue with any of that! Peter has definitely proved that he is A+ boyfriend material. Unfortunately, we haven’t really seen John in action, so while I would love to assume that he would be a great boyfriend, we don’t really have any proof. Of course, there was that adorable way he almost asked Lara Jean to the dance in sixth grade, but he chickened out before she could see all of his hard work! I may have to give this one to Peter until John can prove otherwise. Up to now, he hasn’t had much of a chance.
Winner: Peter Kavinsky
Who had Lara Jean’s best interests in TATBILB 2?
CT: Lara Jean is lucky, because she really does have two great guys after her heart, which is of course why we are here, fighting about this love triangle in the first place. Of course, I can’t read Peter or John’s minds, so I really don’t know who has Lara Jean’s best interests at heart. Despite that, going off what we know, I have to go with John again on this one. He is such a sweet guy, that much is obvious! When faced with decisions, he seems to always do that right thing, and I can’t imagine him ever hurting LJ in any way.
Peter is not a bad guy by any means. But compared to John, he does come off a little bit worse at times. He kept secrets from Lara Jean, ones that affected her immensely, and for that reason, I think that John may be the winner here.
TF: For this one, I have to fight for Peter K. I think he definitely had Lara Jean’s best interests in his mind. While I don’t think he is the best BF in the world, he did allow her to figure out what she wanted to do and when she broke things off with him, he didn’t fight her on it. She allowed her to make her own decision and follow her own heart. And then, despite them being broken up, he still showed up for her in a time that he knew would make her uncomfortable (driving in the snow). He totally didn’t have to do that, but he definitely cares for her very deeply.
Meanwhile, John Ambrose sometimes feels like he wants to just best Peter, instead of fighting for Lara Jean. Although Peter’s ideas might totally not seem right, he still keeps her mind first, which makes him the clear winner in my mind.
CT: I do agree that John does seem to have this weird complex with Peter, but I think that when it comes to Lara Jean, nothing else matters and he seems like the kind of guy who would do anything for his girlfriend. I’m happy with calling this one a tie if that works for you. I think both of these boys would risk a lot for our girl.
Who does she have a better future with?
TF: I think this ends being the biggest question, especially as we head into the third and final film. While it's pretty sad to know that we only have one more movie with these characters, Lara Jean has a huge choice to make between who she wants to keep in her life. I think for this one, she has a better chance with Peter. They've already been through the hard stuff, which means they can definitely go through anything that life tries to throw at them. It seems like they're both willing to start to work on their relationship together and be each other's biggest supporters. Especially as they head into the next school year and college, this will be extremely important. Plus, as seen in this film, they've learned to trust one another. Since they might not be around each other after graduation, trust will be the biggest thing that will determine whether this will work or not and I think for them it will.
CT: Yes, Peter does claim loyalty at the end of the film, but I'm not so sure how he will hold up in a college setting. As you mentioned, the characters will all be heading away from home soon, so if Lara Jean is going to keep her boyfriend as she enters freshman year, she needs someone who she can really trust, and I'm not sure if Peter is that guy. Even if he is, LJ's paranoia may get the best of her. You saw how she acted when Peter got all of those valentines. There are going to be a lot of girls at college that think Peter is very cute, and that thought may drive Lara Jean mad. On the other hand, I don't think she would have that worry with John.
Not to mention, while Peter may be a good choice for Lara Jean's high school boyfriend, I think that she is soon going to mature past him, and John will prove to be the better fit.
TF: I think Peter has shown a lot of growth this past film, which makes me hesitant to agree that she would mature past him. I think they might be into very different things in college like he might join a frat or sports team, while LJ might be the editor of her school’s literary magazine or start her own book club. But I think you make a good point about Lara Jean's trust. While she might say she trusts him, the safest choice for this would probably be John Ambrose. Not to say that Peter would cheat on her, but her uncertainty with him and other girls might not be good for their relationship. In that case, I think I might have to bow out of this fight and give it to John Ambrose. As much as I love Peter and know he wouldn't do anything to deliberately hurt Lara Jean in the future, it's her inability to trust him 100 percent (like the V-Day cards) that makes me hesitant to say that they could make it work.
CT: Exactly, and while Peter seems like every high schooler's dream BF, John is totally the kind of guy you want date in high school. He's artsy (um, those piano playing skills!), intelligent, probably politically active. Lara Jean may not be ready to date him right now, but trust me, two years from now, he will be the perfect fit.
Winner: John Ambrose
And the winner is....
CT: I'm not going to lie, I'm feeling pretty victorious here. But hey, I always knew that my guy John was grade-A boyfriend material. I have to say, Peter is a great guy, and he obviously is doing something right if he won over Lara Jean's heart, but I don't think this fight is over yet, and I'll be rooting for John until the credits roll on the third movie.
I'm all for LJ doing whatever she wants to do and dating who she wants to date, but I will forever be Team John.
TF: It's a little tough to lose this fight for Peter, but he did end up with LJ at the end so I'll call this even. With Peter being the one who Lara Jean will stick with for the next film, it'll definitely be interesting to see what kind of trouble they'll be facing in the last movie. That being said, I do have to admit that I fell a little bit in love with John Ambrose throughout this movie. So, if John Ambrose wants to give me a call, I'm totally available.
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