On the Fence & Catching Jordan

on the fence by kasie westOn the Fence
Author: Kasie West
Publication: July 1st, 2014 by HarperTeen
Page count: 296 (Paperback)
Genre: YA Contemporary
Goodreads

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she’s spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can’t solve Charlie’s biggest problem: she’s falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Continue reading On the Fence & Catching Jordan

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

ps i still love youTitle: P.S. I Still Love You
(To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2)
Author: Jenny Han
Publication: May 26th 2015 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Page count: 337 (Paperback)
Genre: YA Contemporary
Goodreads

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

Continue reading P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

[Review] Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

anna and the french kiss
Anna and the French Kiss 
(Anna and the French Kiss #1)
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publication: July 16th, 2013 by Speak
Page count: 372 (Paperback)
Genre: YA Contemporary
Goodreads

Can Anna find love in the City of Light?

Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she’s less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year.

But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken —and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s waiting for?

Five years since its first publication date and countless raving reviews later, I finally picked up Anna and the French Kiss because, well, I was in need of a fluffy read and this book did put a smile on my face!

We have Anna who is sent to a boarding school in Paris. Not only did this book seem like a light read, but the setting also intrigued me a lot. I’ve never read anything set in Paris, let alone go to the City of Light, so you can say that I was pretty ecstatic. Boy, from the description Paris sounds like a gorgeous place, with its gray-ish evenings and flickering lights at nights. <3

At first, I found Anna’s voice to be slightly peculiar because some sentences are written in caps lock. I guess to express Anna’s emotion more clearly. But still, the writing seemed weird. I don’t normally come across this much caps lock in a book. (Then again, I myself OFTEN use caps lock so I shouldn’t be saying this -_-) Fortunately, I got accustomed to it gradually and later found it to be rather endearing. I think Anna’s voice is the right mixture of lightness and bitterness, cynical and hopeful altogether.

Étienne is also a really sweet guy and I personally loved the fact that their relationship started out as friendship. They both were such good friends to each other I wish I had a guy best friend like that *dreamy sigh* Additionally, the side characters were so fun to read about, though I wish there had been more interaction between Anna and them… Just because she is the protagonist and Étienne is the love interest doesn’t mean that it’s okay to ignore the rest of the characters, you know…

However, despite being highly absorbed by this book, Anna and the French Kiss didn’t leave me with as much impact as I had expected. The thing that bugged me the most was how complicated Anna and Étienne’s relationship becomes. I enjoyed their friendship, but the evolution into “something more than friends” isn’t quite smooth in my opinion. Stuff they did is pretty messed up as well and to be utterly honest I found some of them a little hard to tolerate. Moreover, there are also unnecessary dramas with the typical high school queen bee, the misunderstandings, how Anna and Étienne weren’t mature enough to be clear about each other’s feelings…

Nevertheless, the book still ends satisfactorily, leaving me eager to start Stephanie Perkins’s other work. Anna and the French Kiss has flaws which didn’t escape me, but on the whole, it gave me a positive impression and I didn’t regret the time I spent on this book at all.

3-stars

 

[Review] A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

A Midsummer’s Nightmare
Author: Kody Keplinger
Publication: June 5th, 2012 by Poppy
Page count: 291 (Paperback)
Genre: YA – Contemporary 
Goodreads

Whitley Johnson’s dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She’s just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée’s son? Whitley’s one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin’ great.

Worse, she totally doesn’t fit in with her dad’s perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn’t even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she’s ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn’t “do” friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn’t her stepbrother…at least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

Filled with authenticity and raw emotion, Whitley is Kody Keplinger’s most compelling character to date: a cynical Holden Caulfield-esque girl you will wholly care about.

It seems like I’m craving for a good contemporary these days, and The Midsummer’s Nightmare is no exception. This book even exceeded my expectation with its sarcastic main character and adequately-paced development.

How the characters are written plays a major role for my enjoyment and I think it was perfectly executed in A Midsummer’s Nightmare. The first page immediately grabbed my attention and it didn’t take long before I found myself fully invested with the story. Whitley’s voice felt raw and real and I was really enjoying her perspective. Having to go through her parents’ divorce at a young age, sure she was such a pessimistic girl in the beginning, but the way Keplinger wrote her character made me able to resonate well with her.

And the thing that had me swooning – the romance. I mean, GAHHH THE CHEMISTRY. THE INTERACTIONS. THE WITTY BANTERS. Love interest that isn’t a complete jerk, nerdy and athletic at the same time. It has everything I ask for a romance. I giggled every time these two appeared on the same page. I grinned as I read their relationship bloomed into something more than they had expected it to be. Such a refreshing read from my tiring school life.

The side characters also felt three-dimensional and the interactions with them also seemed natural. Her friendship with Harrison was note-worthy. I really liked how such a good friend Harrison was, helping her when she was in need. Bailey was like a ray of sunshine, the little angel Whitley couldn’t resist.

And of course, the thing touched my heart deeply – the family aspect. At the start of the story, Whitley’s family was dysfunctional enough. Her mother was always absent in her life and the only thing she looked forward to was the summer with her father. But the last summer before college was different and she was taken aback when she found out her father was getting married. I liked how Whitley’s perspective of her new family changed as time went on and she found herself accepting that they were her new home. Her journey of discovering a new family and realizing something about her other one was definitely the highlight of this book. I think the ending concluded the story well. Misunderstandings were cleared and the confrontation between Whitley and her father made me tear up a bit.

Anyway, I had zero complaints about this book. From beginning till the end, A Midsummer’s Nightmare was purely satisfying. It’s never too late for a summer-y book and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for meaningful contemporary with sassy protagonist and an emphasis on family relationship.

[Review] To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Publication: April 15th, 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Page count: 355 (International Paperback)
Genre: YA – Contemporary
Goodreads


Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her.

They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her, these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

  

Wow. I really REALLY LOVED this book! Believe me, it’s been a while since I last sacrificed my sleep to finish a book and NOT an anime series.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before has been on my TBR for a while. Other than its soft yet attention-grabbing cover, its premise which promises a sweet romance drew me in as I thought I needed something to refresh my mind. It came out as a surprise when I read it, as I found out that this book focused more on sibling relationship instead of fluffy romance I imagined it would be. Not that it was a bad thing, but from the synopsis I sort of expected that the letters would immediately get out and we got to know how the protagonist deals with that. As a result, I was quite impatient in the beginning, wondering why it took so slow to get there and if I had been fooled by the synopsis again.

So our protagonist, Lara Jean. (Honestly, I don’t like her name or names – why two? Why can’t we just call her Lara or Jean? But anyway, I guess her name isn’t so bad compared to the more ridiculous ones in other books LOL. Ignore me.) I really liked her voice! There’s something about the simplicity that made me want to get to know her better and push me to keep flipping the book even though it was past midnight. Her story was ordinary but the way it was told made it extraordinary. Extraordinarily engrossing and entertaining and touching and a lot of things at once I’m probably not making any sense right now.

The writing definitely played a part. To be utterly honest, I didn’t quite enjoy Jenny Han’s other series Burn for Burn, which led me to believe that her writing was dull… But To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before changed my mind because as I’ve mentioned before, I couldn’t stop reading at all. I was completely invested in the characters and the events that I couldn’t care less about sleeping. The writing was extremely readable and it made it easy to digest the story and finish the book. Not the mention the chapters were short as well. I think I like shorter chapters better.

It wasn’t long until I started shipping people together… I highly enjoyed the romance, even though it doesn’t seem to be the main focus in this book. They were so sweet with each other!! Totally a swoon-worthy romance!! But there’s another relationship that goes beyond that – the sisters. I liked how Lara Jean’s bond with Margot evolves throughout the book and how they eventually manage to overcome their issues. The spotlight on sister relationship definitely was a bit unexpected considering the synopsis doesn’t even mention it. It was undeniable a good kind of unexpected though.

However, I felt like the ending doesn’t tie everything up. It could have been more conclusive so personally, I want more. Imagine how happy I was when I discover that there will be a sequel!! Oh yeah!! <3 

I admit that this book isn’t totally perfect. I was quite conflicted about the rating — my indecisiveness made me go back and forth between 4 and 5…  However, there were things that I should take into account.  I laughed. I teared up. I cried. I smiled. It’s been a while since I last experienced a reading journey like this. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before made me feel a lot of emotions. Without a doubt, it came highly recommended from me, especially if you’re dying for a light yet feels-inducing contemporary.