Saturday, November 8, 2014

On the Fence by Kasie West

On the Fence
By Kasie West
Published: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Harper Teen
296 pages
5 stars

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.

I loved this book.  So.  Much.  Kasie West writes the best friends romance so beautifully.  This book is impossible to put down, and many people, myself included, have had to stay up until the wee hours of the morning in order to finish it.  Luckily, it's only just under 300 pages, so it doesn't take too long, but it's only been two and a half months since I read it and I'm already dying for a reread.  

I loved the family dynamics in this book.  I've always adored the overprotective older brother character, like all of Rachel's brothers in Crash Into You, and this book comes complete with three older brothers, and one honorary older brother.  There were realistic punishments for breaking the rules, and the characters had reasonable restrictions, so no absentee parents here.

The romance is slow and sweet and awkward, and it bubbles up over the course of the book.  It's about the main character realizing that even though she loves her love interest as a member of her family, she also loves him in a romantic way, even though they never actually use the word 'love'.

Yet another thing that I loved was that the main character realized that she didn't have to change her personality to get a guy to like her.  She can like sports, and play sports, and get all rough and tough with the guys, and that's okay, and there are guys that will like her like that.  I think that's a really important lesson for girls, especially teenagers, that you don't have to change yourself for anyone.

Overall, the one of the best contemporaries I've read in ages.  I would recommend this to anyone that's craving something that they're going to get hooked on fast, and aren't going to be let go, even after the book is finished.  It's the perfect book to get out of a reading slump, and it's definitely on par with the likes of Stephanie Perkins.

Thanks for reading!  Have you read this book?  What did you think?  What's your favorite contemporary (or list if, like me, you can't choose just one)?


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fire with Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Fire with Fire
By Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Published: August 13, 2013
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
517 pages
Book 2 in the Burn for Burn trilogy
4 stars

When sweet revenge turns sour… Book two of a trilogy fromNew York Times bestselling author Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian.

Lillia, Kat, and Mary had the perfect plan. Work together in secret to take down the people who wronged them. But things didn’t exactly go the way they’d hoped at the Homecoming Dance.

Not even close.

For now, it looks like they got away with it. All they have to do is move on and pick up the pieces, forget there ever was a pact. But it’s not easy, not when Reeve is still a total jerk and Rennie’s meaner than she ever was before.

And then there’s sweet little Mary…she knows there’s something seriously wrong with her. If she can’t control her anger, she’s sure that someone will get hurt even worse than Reeve was. Mary understands now that it’s not just that Reeve bullied her—it’s that he made her love him.

Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, burn for a burn. A broken heart for a broken heart. The girls are up to the task. They’ll make Reeve fall in love with Lillia and then they will crush him. It’s the only way he’ll learn.

It seems once a fire is lit, the only thing you can do is let it burn...

These books are so easy to devour.  No, they're not the best books I've ever read, and no, the ideas aren't amazingly unique, and yes, the writing is kind of simplistic, but I can fly through them, they're addicting, and they're full of insane plot twists.  

All three girls have really distinct voices, which makes it very easy to distinguish one point of view from another.

Now, I don't want to say anything further, because I read these books for the plot twists, and even though I'm not a huge fan of the weird, unexplained supernatural aspects, they're still pretty great.  Just know that the ending is absolutely explosive, and you won't be able to stop yourself from gaping.  And if you thought Fire with Fire was intense, just wait til you read Ashes to Ashes.

Thanks for reading!  Have you read this series?  What do you think?


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After
By Stephanie Perkins
Published: August 14, 2014
Publisher: Dutton
352 Pages
5 stars

Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last? 

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart. 

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, √Čtienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

I have to say that this is my favorite of the Stephanie Perkins book.  It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made my heart sing with joy at the same time as it broke it.  I loved Josh in Anna, and the one reference to Isla in Anna made me so excited when I was anticipating this books release for forever.  

*Beware of minor spoilers*

I know that a lot of people don't like this book, which doesn't make any sense to me because I thought it was fantabulous.  I think that I could relate to the problem causing their relationship issues the most.  The idea of not being good enough/not deserving the person that you love breaks my heart, and I think that it's something that everyone questions at one time or another, whether it's romantic or platonic love.  I know that I have.  Also, since both Anna and Lola had pretty high self esteems, I thought it was really interesting to see Perkins explore a character with a low self esteem, because that is something that so many teenager suffer with, and it isn't addressed nearly enough.  I also loved that Isla and Josh were together so early on in the book.  In all her other books, the characters took their sweet old time in getting together, sometimes even waiting until the very. last. page.  *cough, cough, Isla, cough, cough*

Overall, another wonderful Perkins book that didn't disappoint in the least.  I'd recommend this to absolutely anyone.

Thanks for reading!  Have you read this book?  Are you a Perkins fan?