Book Review

Book Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 391 pages
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Classic movie buff Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online by “Alex.” Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new arch-nemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever-it-is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

In this delightfully charming teen spin on You’ve Got Mail, the one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

I LIKED THIS ONE.

This was a cute read, tackling some difficult topics, and really giving me the dreamiest ending. The audio was a great way to read this too!

I liked Bailey as a protagonist. I am very much like her, with dodging awkward conversations and the like. She was quirky, knew herself, and really grew over the book. Enter dreamy Porter and we have a sweet match. I adored Porter. With his banter and softness. Oh goodness, I was smitten right off the bat.

Everything was predictable and cheesy, and that’s something I occasionally need from a book so I didn’t mind. Yes, the romance-y sections still make me cringe a bit, but I found mostly less in your face as Bennett’s newer books [sidebar: I’ve read 3 of her newer books and came back to this back list one].

Maybe towards the end the unbelievable way Bailey was the last person to know about Porter was a bit ridiculous, but I don’t think this would have had the same umph at the end if it wasn’t dragged out a bit. I remember anxiously waiting for her to see him so things could finally start clicking together.

I liked the friendships and most of the side plots. Getting to know her Dad better, making new friends (and learning to be a good friend), allowing oneself to let go of the past. Lots of good nuggets even amongst the comical.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / heated make-outs, nudity, little detailed closed door scene
  • Violence: shark attack, physical altercations
  • Trigger warnings: underage drug use/addiction; shark attack, attempted armed robbery

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Book Review

Book Review: Adorkable by Cookie O’Gorman

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 332 pages
Author: Cookie O’Gorman
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: March 31st, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Adorkable (ah-dor-kuh-bul): Descriptive term meaning to be equal parts dorky and adorable. For reference, see Sally Spitz. Seventeen-year-old Sally Spitz is done with dating. Or at least, she’s done with the horrible blind dates/hookups/sneak attacks her matchmaking bestie, Hooker, sets her up on. There’s only so much one geek girl and Gryffindor supporter can take. Her solution: she needs a fake boyfriend. And fast. Enter Becks, soccer phenom, all-around-hottie, and Sally’s best friend practically since birth. When Sally asks Becks to be her F.B.F. (fake boyfriend), Becks is only too happy to be used. He’d do anything for Sal–even if that means giving her PDA lessons in his bedroom, saying she’s “more than pretty,” and expertly kissing her at parties. The problem: Sally’s been in love with Becks all her life–and he’s completely clueless. This book features two best friends, one special edition Yoda snuggie, countless beneath-the-ear kisses and begs the question: Who wants a real boyfriend when faking it is so much more fun?

CUTE AND QUIRKY.

A quick young adult contemporary romance. Filled with friends to lovers and fake dating.

I found this to be a really easy and fast read (I listened to it as an audio book). The characters were fun, definitely high school, and made me laugh and roll my eyes.

The romance was without a doubt my favorite part. It’s usually hard for me to be smitten with a friends to lovers trope, but I adored Becks. He was precious, angsty, and I love a soccer player so all good things. I thought Sally was a mostly charming heroine. A bit aloof and clueless at times, but didn’t find her overly annoying or anything of that nature.

What I did find annoying was Sally’s best friend, Hooker. Holy cow, she would NOT leave Sally alone and it was infuriating. I would hate to be continually put on dates, at 17, JUST because I haven’t dated anyone yet. Who cares? Maybe Sally didn’t want to date? Nobody, especially her best friend (and also her Mom was in on the blind dates) should be forcing her to meet all of these guys. It’s her choice and I couldn’t handle how ignorant Hooker was.

There were a lot of pop culture references. A lot. Most landed well, but at times I felt they were forced and putting them in didn’t enhance the story. A cute, and quick read, and at least a nice change of pace from the heavy books I’d been reading.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some mild/strong
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs
  • Violence: physical alteraction

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: You Have a Match by Emma Lord

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary
Length: 320 pages
Author: Emma Lord
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: January 5th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the beloved author of Tweet Cute comes Emma Lord’s You Have a Match, a YA novel of family, friendship, romance and sisterhood…

When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it’s mainly to give her friend and secret love interest, Leo, a nudge. After all, she knows who she is already: Avid photographer. Injury-prone tree climber. Best friend to Leo and Connie…although ever since the B.E.I. (Big Embarrassing Incident) with Leo, things have been awkward on that front.

But she didn’t know she’s a younger sister.

When the DNA service reveals Abby has a secret sister, shimmery-haired Instagram star Savannah Tully, it’s hard to believe they’re from the same planet, never mind the same parents—especially considering Savannah, queen of green smoothies, is only a year and a half older than Abby herself.

The logical course of action? Meet up at summer camp (obviously) and figure out why Abby’s parents gave Savvy up for adoption. But there are complications: Savvy is a rigid rule-follower and total narc. Leo is the camp’s co-chef, putting Abby’s growing feelings for him on blast. And her parents have a secret that threatens to unravel everything.

But part of life is showing up, leaning in, and learning to fit all your awkward pieces together. Because sometimes, the hardest things can also be the best ones.

Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own!

ADORED THIS.

You Have a Match is the parent trap, found family, summer camp mash-up I didn’t know I needed. I loved this so much. Emma Lord is cementing herself as an auto-buy author for me. After loving Tweet Cute, I’m so happy I got a chance to read her next book!

I absolutely loved all of these characters. There were weaknesses and strengths. So much growth, and seizing opportunities and finding your future path. It was such a perfect young adult book. Watching Abby cope with learning about her new sister felt raw and real. Abby and Savannah conquered a lot because they realized they truly wanted to be in each other’s lives. Trapping their parents together was such a gem and seeing how the adults worked out their prior conflicts enhanced everything. I honestly couldn’t peg down the full story until it was revealed and I love that it remained a well-timed mystery.

The side story romance between Leo and Abby was PRECIOUS. Such a sweet friends to lovers that definitely had me shipping them from the beginning. I love where it fit in because it never over shadowed the main plot. It clearly was meant to be on the side and it appropriately remained there.

There was just so many little things that added together to make this story what it was. I felt like I learned more about myself just from reading it. Wanting a place to belong, understanding that our parents aren’t perfect, finding that sister you didn’t know you had, and falling in love. Incredibly heart-warming and intensely charming, You Had a Match needs to be on your TBR ASAP.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs

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Book Review

Book Review: What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Marisa Kanter
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: April 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Can a love triangle have only two people in it? Online, it can… but in the real world, it’s more complicated. In this debut novel Marisa Kanter explores what happens when internet friends turn into IRL crushes.

There are a million things that Halle Levitt likes about her online best friend, Nash.

He’s an incredibly talented graphic novelist. He loves books almost as much as she does. And she never has to deal with the awkwardness of seeing him in real life. They can talk about anything…

Except who she really is.

Because online, Halle isn’t Halle—she’s Kels, the enigmatically cool creator of One True Pastry, a YA book blog that pairs epic custom cupcakes with covers and reviews. Kels has everything Halle doesn’t: friends, a growing platform, tons of confidence, and Nash.

That is, until Halle arrives to spend senior year in Gramps’s small town and finds herself face-to-face with real, human, not-behind-a-screen Nash. Nash, who is somehow everywhere she goes—in her classes, at the bakery, even at synagogue.

Nash who has no idea she’s actually Kels.

If Halle tells him who she is, it will ruin the non-awkward magic of their digital friendship. Not telling him though, means it can never be anything more. Because while she starts to fall for Nash as Halle…he’s in love with Kels.

REVEAL TOOK TOO LONG.

I finished this in a day, a testament to the quick-readability of a contemporary. And I enjoyed the first half, but started to find myself more annoyed as I went on.

Why you ask? Halle.

What started out as an honest mistake/nervous moment, quickly became something dragged on WAY TOO DANG LONG. I was cool with it up to a certain point because I love a good reveal moment, but all my hopes were dashed. It felt like a missed opportunity and a severe lack of communication between close friends.

Without that glaring issue, this book was pretty adorable. I loved the bookstagram / cupcake combination. It was fun to have elements I am currently immersed in. Nash and Halle were also cute themselves when they got to hang out and really get to know each other.

I thought that Halle DID learn a lot of about herself and her actions in-person and online. This really had some great aspects for a younger audience. It was clearly heavily geared towards them (as YA usually is).

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses / heated make-out

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