Book Review

Book Review: Kisses and Croissants by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: April 6th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Seventeen-year-old Mia, an American girl at an elite summer ballet program, has six weeks to achieve her dreams: to snag an audition with one of the world’s best ballet companies. But there’s more to Paris than ballet—especially when a charming French boy, Louis, wants to be her tour guide—and the pair discover the city has a few mysteries up its sleeve.

In the vein of romances like Love and Gelato, this is the perfect summer adventure for anyone looking to get swept away in the City of Love.

TAKE ME TO PARIS.

This was such a sweet YA read! I loved seeing parts of Paris and truly felt transported there. The writing was perfect for this and I was swept away into this story of following passions and having a summer romance.

Speaking of the romance, it was adorable. Louis and Mia were super cute and I would easily watch this movie. Louis was kind and this contrast to Mia that I loved. They both learned things from each other throughout the book and there was a realistic conflict and resolution that I am always here for.

A big focus was Mia and her ballet school. I LOVE books about dancing and this was no different. She went through some self discovery and was able to stand up in her own way. I really wish I could have watched the actual ballet scenes including Swan Lake (another point for this needing to be a movie!!).

The ending took me for a loop, but I ultimately thought it made both characters stronger and confirmed a lot of emotions and desires. There was such hope and light for it all that it gave me plenty of warm fuzzies. Definitely reminiscent of Anna and the French Kiss vibes (but, a whole different story!).

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: car accident resulting in injury/hospitalization, alcohol consumption

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Made in Korea by Sarah Suk

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Sarah Suk
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 18t, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Frankly in Love meets Shark Tank in this feel-good romantic comedy about two entrepreneurial Korean American teens who butt heads—and maybe fall in love—while running competing Korean beauty businesses at their high school.

There’s nothing Valerie Kwon loves more than making a good sale. Together with her cousin Charlie, they run V&C K-BEAUTY, their school’s most successful student-run enterprise. With each sale, Valerie gets closer to taking her beloved and adventurous halmeoni to her dream city, Paris.

Enter the new kid in class, Wes Jung, who is determined to pursue music after graduation despite his parents’ major disapproval. When his classmates clamor to buy the K-pop branded beauty products his mom gave him to “make new friends,” he sees an opportunity—one that may be the key to help him pay for the music school tuition he knows his parents won’t cover…

What he doesn’t realize, though, is that he is now V&C K-BEAUTY’s biggest competitor.

Stakes are high as Valerie and Wes try to outsell each other, make the most money, and take the throne for the best business in school—all while trying to resist the undeniable spark that’s crackling between them. From hiring spies to all-or-nothing bets, the competition is much more than either of them bargained for.

But one thing is clear: only one Korean business can come out on top.

IT WAS FINE.

I really liked this on audio and recommend that avenue if you love audio books like I do! Easy listen and quick to move through.

The unique setting with high school businesses is what initially drove me to pick this one up. It was one of my favorite parts of the book. I think it would’ve been cool if my school had offered opportunities like that. This was a unique high school contemporary plot.

Wes was my true hero. He was adorable and such a cinnamon roll. I love his shy self, and also the side of him that learned to stand up for his passions and choices. He exhibited the most growth over the story and his relationship with Valerie was precious. Valerie I struggled with because she was intensely stubborn until almost the very end. By then I was over the whole scenario and it created some unnecessary drama. It felt like enemies to lovers with only one person thinking they were enemies.

Lots of great learning topics too. From sibling rivalries and demanding parents, and having to prove yourself over and over again. I liked a lot of these conversations too because it felt true to the YA nature of the book and reminded me of many things I went through in high school too.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: a grandparent with Parkinson’s

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: From Little Tokyo, with Love by Sarah Kuhn

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 432 pages
Author: Sarah Kuhn
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 11th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

If Rika’s life seems like the beginning of a familiar fairy tale–being an orphan with two bossy cousins and working away in her aunts’ business–she would be the first to reject that foolish notion. After all, she loves her family (even if her cousins were named after Disney characters), and with her biracial background, amazing judo skills and red-hot temper, she doesn’t quite fit the princess mold.

All that changes the instant she locks eyes with Grace Kimura, America’s reigning rom-com sweetheart, during the Nikkei Week Festival. From there, Rika embarks on a madcap adventure of hope and happiness–searching for clues that Grace is her long-lost mother, exploring Little Tokyo’s hidden treasures with cute actor Hank Chen, and maybe…finally finding a sense of belonging.

But fairy tales are fiction and the real world isn’t so kind. Rika knows she’s setting herself up for disappointment, because happy endings don’t happen to girls like her. Should she walk away before she gets in even deeper, or let herself be swept away?

FANCIFUL.

I enjoyed this one! I don’t necessarily think it was intensely memorable or compares to some of the recent YA contemporaries I’ve read, but it had some charm and good moments.

The addition of Disney princess aspects was cute. Her cousins have princess names and the whole vibe of the book reads with different takes. I noticed Cinderella the most. It added a *magical* (no actual magical realism) touch to Rika’s quest.

One of my favorite aspects was Rika’s anger issues. That’s not something I’ve seen a lot of in young adult novels and I love the way it was approached. Many of the conversations made my teenage self feel seen. Rika may have struggle with it at times, but the support of those around her helped her see the strength of her passions. Other conversations such as stereotypes, being biracial, racism and fitting into the Asian community were also addressed.

For the romance, I was initially smitten. But the intense speed at which this flew had me trying to slam on the brakes. It went too fast, and took a turn I couldn’t get behind. Very sweet overall at least. Henry and Rika communicated well and really did lift each other up and I did love that.

It was an enjoyable read and one I would recommend!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to one closed door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: racism, colorism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, parental abandonment, panic attacks, teen pregnancy (recounted)

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

ARC Book Review: Long Story Short by Serena Kaylor

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Serena Kaylor
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: July 26th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Growing up homeschooled in Berkeley, California, Beatrice Quinn is a statistical genius who has dreamed her whole life of discovering new mathematical challenges at a school like Oxford University. She always thought the hardest part would be getting in, not convincing her parents to let her go. But while math has always made sense to Beatrice, making friends is a problem she hasn’t been able to solve, so her parents are worried about sending her halfway across the world. The compromise: the Connecticut Shakespearean Summer Academy and a detailed list of teenage milestones to check off. She has six weeks to show her parents she can pull off the role of “normal” teenager and won’t spend the rest of her life hiding in a library.

Unfortunately, hearts and hormones don’t follow any rules, and there is no equation for teenage interactions. When she’s adopted by a group of eclectic theater kids, and immediately makes an enemy of the popular—and, annoyingly gorgeous—British son of the camp founders, she realizes that relationships are trickier than calculus. With her future on the line, this girl genius stumbles through illicit parties, double dog dares, and more than your fair share of Shakespeare. But before the final curtain falls, will Beatrice realize that there’s more to life than she can find in the pages of a book?

In this sparkling debut from Serena Kaylor, Long Story Short is a YA rom-com about a homeschooled math genius who finds herself out of her element at a theater summer camp and learns that life—and love—can’t be lived by the (text)book.

Thank you to the publisher for an eARC.

ABSOLUTELY LOVED.

I had a few friends rave about this book so I was sufficiently hyped by the time I picked it up, and it did not disappoint. LST was incredible and I’m in awe at this debut.

I resonated with Beatrice so much. I love that she was a socially awkward heroine, who knew what she wanted, but needed a few more steps to get there. I appreciated that true support from her parents and how walking into the summer camp beautiful friendships grew. I LOVED the friendships and how supportive they were. And also how they showed making mistakes and apologizing. There’s room for growth in a safe space. Beatrice changed leaps and bounds, and yet still remained at her core, herself. The anxiety rep was one of my favorites too. I liked the approach to it and the openness of speaking to a therapist as well. The combination made for the best kind of read.

The romance (because we know I’m a sucker for romance) was perrrrrfect. The angsty hate to love vibes were off the charts. The banter and swoony moments, and gosh dang THE HANDS TOUCHING. A small hand touch moment IS THE BEST DANG THING. I don’t know how many times I started chanting, kiss kiss kiss. I was on the edge of my seat with Beatrice and Nik and it was everything I love in a YA romance.

This setting took me by surprise too. I’m hit/miss on summer camp books. Clearly this was a HIT. I was even enjoying all of the Shakespeare stuff too! And that Shakespeare line battle? GOLD. I think I could probably go on forever about my new found love for this book (and author). Read it. Read it. Read it.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: underage alcohol consumption, panic attack (on page), depictions of anxiety

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph