Relationship: Lara Jean Song Covey and Peter Kavinsky (Lara Jean/Peter, or Covinsky)
Fandom: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (movie, 2018)
Where to Watch: Netflix
Time Investment: About 2 hours, allowing for essential pausing and rewinding
Recommended for: Teen rom-com connoisseurs and/or anyone with a fondness for the fake-relationship romance trope
Let’s be real: You don’t need me to convince you to watch To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (TATBILB) and discover the wonders of the Lara Jean/Peter ship (a.k.a. Covinsky). No, you’re already FULLY on board with both. How do I know? Because if you’re at all interested in contemporary romance, you’ve almost certainly seen this movie, an instant rom-com classic that is itself based on a beloved YA book trilogy by Jenny Han.
I say all this with a high level of confidence backed up by the fact that rapturous reviews of the movie and its smokeshow stars Lana Condor and Noah Centineo basically broke the internet in the days and weeks following its debut on Netflix. Oh, and also because the streaming giant, which is notoriously stingy with viewership data, has let it slip that To All the Boys is one of its most watched–and re-watched–original movies of all time.
So, yeah, you’re here because you’ve already watched, and you’re obsessed, and the sequel P.S. I Still Love You (currently filming in Vancouver) simply cannot arrive soon enough.
I can relate, so I’ve taken one for the team and immersed myself in the film
one two three more times to bring you the definitive list of the top 10 underrated Lara Jean/Peter K. scenes that you should totally watch again. You know, for REASONS–like picking up the subtle nuances you may have missed while you were (understandably) too focused on that epic hot tub scene or on Peter adorably saying “I love you” first. And just in case this list won’t tide you over, stick around ’til the end, where I’ve also compiled some of my very favorite fanworks for Covinsky so far, including fic, vids, and sources of fan art.
Now, in the immortal words of Lara Jean Song Covey: “Let’s do this.”
#10: Peter tries to let Lara Jean down easy…again
After Lara Jean shocks the whoa whoa whoa’s out of an adorably befuddled Peter K. with that whole tackle-kiss-and-run incident, he tracks her to the Corner Cafe. Allegedly, his purpose here is to gently remind her that it’s “not gonna happen” between them. But, honestly, this scene deserves more attention, ‘cause how many guys do you know who would spend an afternoon chasing down a girl they DIDN’T have a thing for just to tell her that she definitely SHOULDN’T get her hopes up about starting something with him because he and his girlfriend JUST broke up? The dude doth protest too much, is what I’m saying. Peter also seems legit disappointed to learn she wrote letters to more guys than him. Still offers to drive her and her bicycle home like a proper gent, though.
In summary: Aww puppy! You’ve already got it bad.
#9: Lara Jean apologizes for jumping Peter
The very first time Peter drives her home, after their inaugural Corner Cafe convo, Lara Jean attempts to write a proper ending to this awkward chapter in their relationship. She politely thanks him for the ride and apologizes for the sneak-attack kiss, clearly hoping they can never ever bring it up again. This moment is where their story starts to get very interesting, however, if you’re paying close attention.
Instead of letting the matter drop and going about his merry way, you see, Peter takes this opportunity to pry into Lara Jean’s love life (the one he supposedly wants to extricate himself from, remember) by asking what she’s going to say to Josh about his letter. Unsatisfied by her answer of “I’ll have to tell him the truth,” Peter presses her: “Yeah, but what is the truth? Do you like him? Do you not?” You know, like a totally chill, unconcerned, objective third party with absolutely ZERO skin in the game. Sure, Jan.
Too bad he gives himself away with a transparently unhappy expression when she responds that how she feels about Josh is not his problem. It’s no coincidence that he devises the fake-dating scheme in the wake of this conversation, either, let me tell you.
#8: Lara Jean joins Peter, his mom, and his brother for dinner
You’ve gotta wonder: How exactly does Lara Jean find herself at the Kavinsky family dinner table, hmm? Was it “in the contract” for some strange reason? Did Peter and Lara Jean plan for word to get back to Gen and Josh that things were becoming meet-the-parents official? Or did our boy simply mention the name “Lara Jean” one too many times in casual conversation at home, triggering his mom’s spidey senses about a new girlfriend she needed to meet, pronto? The possibilities are endless, deliciously so.
In any case, dinner happens, and it’s going swimmingly right up until Mrs. Kavinsky puts her foot in her mouth by mentioning Lara Jean’s mom. Awkward. Peter’s visibly upset as he reminds his mom that Mrs. Covey passed away when Lara Jean was young; In fact, he’s more sensitive about it than LJ herself, who quickly recovers and replies gracefully. What touches me the most about this scene, however, is what this interaction signifies: Peter had taken special pains to brief his mom on acceptable conversation topics before the meal.
I’m just sayin’: He’s sure putting a lot of effort into this fake relationship, and now we’ve got receipts.
#7: Peter and Lara Jean fight in the hallway just like a real couple
Nothing says “we’re just pretending” like an unscheduled jealous outburst, am I right?! Yet here we are. Peter finally loses a bit of his cool when he spots Lara Jean talking to Josh between classes. Despite his own meetup on the bleachers with Gen that very afternoon, which Lara Jean rightfully calls him out on, he has the nerve to tell LJ she can’t talk to Josh anymore because what would people say?
Suddenly the two are having an all-too-genuine argument, venting their pent-up jealousy, resentments, and insecurities. It’s not part of the plan, but they can’t help themselves, blowing their ~platonic~ arrangement wide open. “You don’t even post about us on your Instagram,” Peter huffs at one point, and it’s ridiculous until you realize it actually does bother him. As does Lara Jean backing out of the ski trip. “It’s in the contract,” he insists, as if Gen weren’t already as desperate to take him back as he could have possibly hoped when they started this whole thing. As if the trip wouldn’t be the perfect chance for them to reconcile, if that’s what he truly wanted.
This telling scene doesn’t just confirm that LJ has realized her real feelings; it exposes Peter’s, too.
#6: Peter (re)meets Dr. Covey and a bromance is born
Poor Lara Jean. She’s not even sure what she feels for Peter yet, and here he is, in her kitchen, impressing her dad in minutes with his winning smile and respectful manner. The girl is outmatched and outgunned on this particular front, because this is most-popular-boy-in-school Peter on full display. You can practically hear her grating her teeth as Dr. Covey reaches out to shake Peter’s hand after exclaiming over how tall “little Peter Kavinsky” has grown, and things only go south from there.
Once her dad learns that Peter’s there to pick up LJ to take her to his friend Greg’s party, promising not to keep her out late and seeking their permission to go, the traitor immediately consents, ignoring her protests. (Though Lara Jean misses the exchange, even Dr. Covey’s quiet warning of “No drinking, no drugs, no hands” to Peter is delivered in a friendly way, and he responds in kind by throwing up his hands with a peaceable “you got it.” Men.)
Sure, Lara Jean may not exactly appreciate this budding bromance now, but it’s nevertheless a very, very good sign that Dr. Covey approves of Peter, as it paves the way for a real relationship between them in the future…you know, if that’s a thing they might actually want. (Spoiler: It’s what they want.)
#5: Peter wins over “little LJ”
Lara Jean’s sisters mean the world to her, so it also bodes well for Peter (and the Lara Jean/Peter ship) that Kitty quickly warms to him. Katherine Song Covey’s a tough nut to crack, but Peter takes her initial frosty attitude in stride, confident in his ability to charm virtually any girl or woman. Sure enough, quipping with her about Korean smoothies and confirming he’ll be driving her to school every day does the trick. When she says he can call her Kitty, he leans over to LJ and whispers “Progress” like any real boyfriend might.
Does a fake boyfriend need to worry about how his fake girlfriend’s family feels about him? No. Does this stop Peter? Also no! And yes, for those keeping track at home, this is the first scene where Peter refers to himself as Lara Jean’s boyfriend, at which point she nearly spits out her smoothie in shock. THEY CUTE.
Lara Jean can tell herself she’s worried about Kitty getting too attached all she wants, but she’s clearly not immune to the pleasures of having him around either and that’s that on that.
#4: Seventh-grade Peter argues “you can’t cheat the bottle”
Listen, we’ve all been sleeping on this middle-school-kiss flashback and it MUST STOP, because it says so much about our favorites! In the books, Lara Jean and Peter’s first kiss happens while they’re alone on a couch in someone’s basement, but the movie’s spin-the-bottle scene is pretty freaking sweet too.
Shy and nervous at her very first boy-girl party, back when she and Gen were still BFFs, Lara Jean doesn’t know how to react when a game of spin the bottle pairs her up with Peter. But little Peter Kavinsky has no such reservations and eagerly leans forward to kiss LJ, calmly dismissing Gen’s hiss of outrage with some infallible logic: Them’s the rules. Yes, sure, the kiss is chaste and over in the blink of an eye, but Peter nevertheless examines Lara Jean’s reaction closely, because, um, HELLO? HE’S ALWAYS LIKED HER LIKE THAT!
Lara Jean may have been the one inspired to write a love letter afterward, but Peter was equally affected by their first kiss, period.
#3: Lara Jean and Peter get domestic AF
Bringing your fake girlfriend home for dinner is one thing–it’s a stretch, but not impossible, to believe that could be part of the act. Cleaning up the kitchen together afterward, though? Where no one’s watching and there’s no reason to be anything other than yourself? C’mon!
Their domesticity doesn’t end there, either–as she hands him the last few dishes to load into the dishwasher, their light-hearted banter about Owen and Kitty evolves into an honest-to-goodness heart-to-heart. Lara Jean and Peter exchange confidences about what it’s like to miss their mom and dad, respectively, and take turns complimenting each other. “It’s actually really nice having someone to talk to about this stuff,” Lara Jean says. “You’re a good listener.” And Peter replies softly: “Yeah? Why thank you. You are too.”
Just when you think: NOW KISS, they look away awkwardly, still in CONCEAL DON’T FEEL mode. That’s fine, though, because A) We love being tortured by our ships and their UST, and B) They unwittingly gave us exactly what we needed–proof that they’re absolutely perfect for each other, even (especially) when they’re alone together, the contract momentarily forgotten.
#2: Peter IMMEDIATELY shuts down the hot-tub gossip
Peter’s hottest moment is not what you might expect. It’s not when he’s moodily waiting for Lara Jean in the hot tub, or smoothly pulling her into his arms for a sexy makeout sesh. I mean, don’t get me wrong, those things ARE extremely hot. They just pale in comparison to the epitome of hotness: Peter K. leaping to his lady love’s defense the instant he understands (thanks to Chris) that she’s being bullied over a video of them kissing in the hot tub on the ski trip.
He’s one of the most popular guys in school, which carries a lot of clout, and he doesn’t hesitate to use it to shield Lara Jean and threaten anyone who dares try to hurt her. Oh, and then he runs after her to apologize. That’s a real man right there, and further evidence that he does indeed deserve a real chance with our girl Lara Jean. Swoon!
#1: Lara Jean (finally) reads Peter’s love letters
Look, as sweet as it is to see Lara Jean confess that she likes Peter (“and not in a fake way”) out on the lacrosse field, nothing compares to her reading the compilation of his daily notes. Why? Because–plot twist–it turns out that he has been confessing his deepening feelings to her ALL ALONG, IN REAL TIME. He “loves having a smarty pants fake girlfriend”! “It’s so cool how we can talk to each other about real stuff”! “You looked really pretty today!”
Dude basically poured his heart out to her! Every day! For weeks! Tell me what could possibly be more romantic than that. No, wait, YOU CAN’T. That’s because whole movie has been building toward this moment of Lara Jean realizing that for all the fantasizing she’s done about falling in love with the perfect boy, the reality is ever so much better.
Peter Kavinsky loves Lara Jean Song Covey, and she loves him back! It’s immensely satisfying to watch, and that’s why it’s easily my #1 pick for the best underrated Lara Jean/Peter scene.
Honorable Mention: Lara Jean watches Peter and Kitty’s pillow fight with heart eyes
What can I say? Lara Jean/Peter are clearly MFEO, and not just because Peter thoughtfully moves the popcorn bowl out of the danger zone, though that definitely helps.
P.S. Want MOAR? If you haven’t already read Jenny Han’s To All the Boys trilogy of novels, I highly recommend starting there–you’ll simply adore scenes that didn’t make the movie, including Lara Jean and Peter’s antiquing road trip and an inside joke about fruitcake cookies. Once you’ve devoured those, the fandom awaits…
- Tumblr Tags to Track & Blogs to Follow:
- Fic Recs:
- “i knew from the first time, i’d stay for a long time” by gracelessheartlines
- “let me spin and excite you” by still_i_fall
- “If I Find Somebody, I Hope I Find You” by erinn_bedford
- “spark, meet tinder” by amillionsmiles
- Vid Recs: