Tag: Young Adult

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

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To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han is a short novel that is easy to get into and finish in a few sittings. It is a realistic fiction and romantic read, and has a contemporary style to it although there is a sequel to it called P.S. I Still Love You. This book is a perfect mix of the ups and downs of the everyday life of a teenage girl, and about how the choices and decisions made by her and the people around her can affect her life. Family, friends, high school, and relationships ties this book together to form the story of a girl who writes secret love letters.

Lara Jean Song is content with her life. She is very close with her older sister Margot and her younger sister Kitty and she attends high school and receives good grades. But she has a secret—she writes love letters. She writes down all her feelings and declares her affection for every boy she loves, and she hides them in hatbox where nobody will ever find them. Her secrets are safe and her life is as normal as it can be. Or so she thought. When her older sister, Margot leaves for university, thus breaking up with her boyfriend Josh, Lara Jean finds that her feelings from the past are resurfacing because Josh was one of the boys she wrote a letter to. One day while she is at school, Peter Kavinskyanother boy she had a crush on—approaches her and asks her about the letter he received. Lara Jean is confused, but then she realizes that her hatbox is gone and her letters were mailed. When Josh confronts her and asks her about the letter, Lara Jean doesn’t want to ruin whatever feelings her sister and Josh had left. Peter had just broken off with his girlfriend so in desperation, Lara Jean asks Peter to be her fake boyfriend. She explains to him that she doesn’t like him anymore but she actually likes Josh, but she knows that she can’t have Josh because she wants Margot and him to get back together. Peter agrees and together, they become a “couple”. But as time passes on, Lara Jean’s thoughts become muddled and she realizes that her feelings have started to change. But will she be able to find courage, be honest, face jealousy, and vanquish rumors before what she has is lost?

After finishing this book, I couldn’t wait to get the next book because I loved it! Lara Jean is a protagonist filled with creativity and life, she is really cute and her remarks are sassy and hilarious. The interactions between her and her family and friends are both touching and funny, some moments I found myself smiling or even laughing out loud! I would recommend this book to people who like romance and comedy or want a quick read to get them out of a reading slump (as it did for me!).

Unrivaled

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For me, Alyson Noël’s books are either a hit or a miss, go one way or the other. I never know what to expect when I read books written by her. Sometimes, they go amazingly and I can’t help but squeal about the summer-related story that has captivated many readers. Other times, I am so disappointed (specifically with her fantasy novels) that I just have no other choice but to DNF them. It’s been a few years since Alyson released a new novel, and when I heard about Unrivaled, later seeing its cover, I knew I was in for a good read. Well, it sucks to say, I was completely wrong. I seriously didn’t like this one. Unrivaled was just a catty book full of complaints, gossip and drama that I couldn’t care less about because I cannot relate to the story or lifestyle of these spoiled teenagers living in Los Angeles, having “the time of their lives.” Would I even recommend this to fans of Private by Kate Brian? No, because at least that story was realistic. This is no way realistic unless you’re a heiress and live like these characters do.
This was a chore to read. I barely was able to finish it. I skimmed the last fifty pages or so and found out that WOW, nothing changed! This was just a snoozefest that had no passion in it. It seemed that Alyson was basically struggling her way to write this novel and make it entertaining. Normally, I don’t mind these kinds of books because I like drama. I have read books by the author of Gossip Girl and enjoyed those tens of thousands of times more than I enjoyed this one. WHY DIDN’T I LIKE IT, UGH. I really wished I enjoyed this because it has a gorgeous cover and it looked interesting. I didn’t see almost any good in it.
The only positive I was able to see was the beginning of the book. I liked the beginning of the story, and the twonice, promising quotes that kind of spoke to me were found in the beginning. I wanted to read about the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles, California, a city I have always wanted to visit and fall head over heels in. (It may happen soon, who knows?!) Alyson gave readers a hugely negative image of Hollywood and the tourism image. I don’t feel naïve enough to believe it because we had a group of nasty characters, but you know, it could be true.

“For Madison Brooks, the boulevard was everything she’d dreamed it would be. Maybe it didn’t look anything like the snow globe she’d had as a kid, the one that showered small squares of golden glitter over a miniature version of the Hollywood sign, but she never expected it would” (2).

You see, I found that quote on the second page. After a few chapters, things plummeted down. I WANTED THE BEAUTIFUL MALIBU CALIFORNIA SETTING WITH NICE PEOPLE, SURFING, AND THE GOOD LIFE. Not clubbing. That’s not my kind of thing, whoops. Also, there was a big focus on Layla, who sticks as one of the “normal” protagonists, and her gossip blog. Adding to all of the boyfriend-girlfriend drama occurring in the book, this is an addition. Wow.

As mentioned before, the characters were nasty. Madison, Aster, Tommy… they were all trying so hard to impress each other even though they had no brain cells in them. Honestly, they made the worst decisions and I would never do the things that they did. Mateo and Layla were the only reasonable ones, and I found that was true because they were normal. Ugh.

“LA was a town of actors and storytellers, populated by those more comfortable playing an imaginary role than being themselves, and the prize always went to the one who faked it best” (136).

Unrivaled is a book that perhaps people who enjoy books with no plot would actually love. I remember it being one of my most anticipated reads this year, and I just wanted to love it after grabbing it. The gorgeous cover is the only good part, aside from two normal characters and a nice beginning. Otherwise, I wouldn’t waste my time reading this at all. It was as if I were forced to read it, and I still don’t know why I continued.

The Unexpected Everything

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The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson | noun | 1. a book that is the pure definition of summer and everything that it holds. 2. a book that features tons of cute dogs where readers grow overly attached to them. 3. a beautiful story of friendship, real love and all of the good stuff in life.
Morgan Matson is my favourite contemporary author of all time, residing with John Green in my golden shelves of awesomeness (one day, I vow that I will actually possess this shelf), but if you know me, you mostly likely already knew that. The Unexpected Everything was probably my most-anticipated read of the year, and it definitely reached its expectations, though a tiny bit on the lower side. As usual, Morgan’s writing drags, just like mine tends to do when I’m in school, writing an essay and I discover that I can’t stop overdosing on words. That’s exactly what happened in this case, and what has happened with every single book by Matson. When I first saw the page count, 517 pages made me feel giddy, overly excited. Honestly? How could a YA novel that is all contemporary-romance stem towards a 500+ page count? You have to be an amazing writer, which Morgan is, but you also have to have this idea that doesn’t get boring and that could progress into this greater page count.
The Unexpected Everything was expected for me to enjoy. I just knew that I would love it. Dogs? A nerdy-cute love interest? A girl who’s smart and obsessed with school? A book that is written throughout a period of a whole summer? These all looked like things that I would love about this book, and it seriously is true. This was such a good read. Now, I don’t know how I would be able to live a summer like our protagonist, Andie, had, because that was just chaotic (and awesome at the same time), and as always, I just loved the mentality and extra moral that Morgan adds to her stories time after time.
Before we get to anything, we NEED TO discuss the puppies/dogs. I actually never had a clue that Morgan’s story would revolve around dogs. At all. I just thought the cute dogs on the cover huddled around the model (who is supposed to be Andie) were just a nice addition. EVERY DOG MENTIONED, I WOULD JUST GO BACK TO THE COVER. Guys, you see the adorable, big, fluffy white dog? THAT IS BERTIE. NOT “BIRDIE” (that made me laugh out loud honestly), but Bertie. He is the cutest thing on Earth and I seriously was so overly-attached to him that I want to name my future child Bertie. (Even if I have a girl) Bertie is “Clark’s dog,” without stating any spoilers. I love him. And Clark. But especially Bertie.

“Books were everywhere. Not in haphazard piles—there was absolutely nothing about this place that seemed haphazard—but there were floor-to-ceiling built-ins on all sides of this very large room, and they were absolutely rammed with books. It was the kind of room—big couches, comfy chairs—that you would expect a TV in, but I didn’t see one anywhere. All I could see were books” (116).

I would also like to thank Morgan for appreciating books. A big theme of this story is booknerds and loving books in general. Our protagonist, Andie, never really reads unless it’s school-related (HOW DARE SHE?!), but once she meets Clark, secret book-nerd/author, her appreciation grows. Morgan also adds in excerpts from what would be Clark’s books, which I also formed a bond with. Man, this author just makes readers bond with everything/everyone!

Basically, this story is so relatable. Not about dog-walking or the romance between Clark and Andie, but because of Andie herself. I LOVED HER. Andie is the daughter of a Congressman, who is a single father after Andie’s mother died from ovarian cancer. She loves school, plans on going into pre-med, is looking into internships, plans everything out, has her life planned out, and has a great group of friends who always support her. It sounds perfect, right? Her internship fails. Her father doesn’t act like a father. Her relationships only last three weeks. Her summer job is dog-walking. I loved how Morgan looks at imperfections and creates the summer of a lifetime (with many flaws) for Andie and her friends. Friendship was a hugely important theme of this story, and I loved how tight-knit Andie’s group was. Toby, Bri, Palmer, Tom and Clark all had their own personalities which made this a really fun read. I couldn’t just pick my favourite character. They were all astonishing.

As Morgan had in every book of hers, especially Since You’ve Been Gone, romance is a big factor, but not everything. That is why I like to call Morgan’s stories real and inspiring, because they closely live up to the lives of teenagers. BUT THE ROMANCE WAS REAL. Candie, Ark, whatever ship name you would like to provide the two,t hey were perfect for each other. Clark was just the happiest, most hilarious fictional boyfriend of any heroine and I just loved how awkward he was and how quickly he did become comfortable with Andie.

Cheers to the father-daughter relationship and how Matson keeps implanting the fact that Andie’s life isn’t perfect. I must admit, I hated Andie’s dad for the first half of the book, but he kept making me smile and laugh. I have to praise that precious relationship, you know?

“We said our good-byes and headed out shortly after that. I got into the Mustang, running my hand over the steering wheel for just a moment before checking the time and realizing I had to get going. There was someone I needed to meet” (516).

So at times, this book dragged. It became boring and I just wanted that boring phase to get by before the good stuff came around. There were those every now and then, and I honestly wanted this book to be perfect, and to be honest, it wasn’t fully. But I still loved it. IT’S TOO LONG, ALTHOUGH I LOVE MORGAN’S WRITING. If this were fantasy… that’d be a different story.

If only I had a summer like this… *sighs* Cheers to dogs, Bertie, romance, pizza, scavenger hunts, road-trips to tell someone you love them, Diet Coke and fantasy novels! As always, I am so impressed with Morgan Matson’s work and this is the reason why I read contemporary-romance: to get in a specific mood. Now? I need to go to the pool and kind of wash my brain a little because it hurts. Five-hundred-and-seventeen pages in a row (basically) does hurt your head.