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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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: May 5th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In this coming-of-age romance perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen, scandal and romance collide when an ambitious teen returns to her hometown only to have her plans interrupted after falling for the town’s “bad boy”—a.k.a. her childhood best friend.

Sometimes to find the good, you have to embrace the bad.

Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there.

What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame.

Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed, and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is.

Thank you to the publisher, Razorbill and Netgalley for the e-ARC. All opinions are my own!

I’D CHASE LUCKY TOO.

This was a more mature YA book. That’s what I kept thinking every time I was reading this. The main character was a high school senior and I kept picturing her as a college girl home for the summer. Take that for what you will, I still enjoyed the book.

There’s a lot of depth to this novel. It isn’t a super fluffy YA rom-com. The further I read, the more of the inner story unfurled in front of me. And I really like what I got from it. That communication is critically important to maintaining the bonds we value.

And usually, I hate when communication is clearly an issue and a brief conversation would solve all the problems. Bennett does a great job of not making me feel this way. While yes, I got frustrated with them (mostly Josie’s mother), I also understood the pain and heartache that each of the Saint-Martin women were struggling with. Another highlight, the fact that this was also heavily about a group of women in a family learning how to be together and not let differences tear them down. I liked the way reveals and emotions came out towards the end as the real picture of everyone’s past came to light. Josie took in a lot of information in a small amount of time. Did she make some mistakes? YES. Did she also learn from them? YES. And that’s what really sold this book for me.

The trope of choice for Chasing Lucky was childhood friends. Lucky and Josie knew each other back when she still lived in town, but after moving away, lost touch. Enter Josie coming back, enter cute Lucky 2.0. I, for once, dare say, I liked the way this trope was written. There was good banter, a little bit of angst as they figured each other out again and I felt the connection between them. I WILL ALSO SAY, I have rolled my eyes at love scenes in Bennett’s previous books, this was not the case this time. Oh it was so much better, and so much more realistic. I definitely adored this story a lot more because of it.

I constantly found myself wanting to pick this book up to read it. It was a solid YA book and I love the journey this story took me on. I appreciate the sentiments that were expressed and thought the conclusion was everything it should be.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses; one little detailed fade to black scene
  • Trigger warnings: someone being arrested for destruction of property; a secondary character posting and showing off a nude photo of Josie’s mother and using it for revenge; car wreck (no one is critically injured)

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance / Magical Realism
Length: 400 pages
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel &Friends
Release Date: November 3rd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In this young adult contemporary romance, a girl is suddenly gifted with the ability to cast instant karma on those around her—both good and bad.

Chronic overachiever Prudence Daniels is always quick to cast judgment on the lazy, rude, and arrogant residents of her coastal town. Her dreams of karmic justice are fulfilled when, after a night out with her friends, she wakes up with the sudden ability to cast instant karma on those around her. Pru giddily makes use of the power, punishing everyone from public vandals to karaoke hecklers, but there is one person on whom her powers consistently backfire: Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner and all-around mortal enemy. Soon, Pru begins to uncover truths about Quint, her peers, and even herself that reveal how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed . . . love and hate.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the audio book in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own!

IT WAS CUTE.

Since I read this an audio book ARC, I wanted to mention my thoughts on the audio. I thought the narrator was great and found it to be easy listening. I kept it at 1.5x – 1.75x depending on what I was doing at the time while listening. Definitely would recommend reading it as an audio book if you enjoy that option!

I love Marissa Meyer’s books. I am a big fan of her fantasy books. Reading her first contemporary romance? ALL OVER IT.

This was a cute Beatles-inspired young adult romance. I loved the beach setting and marine ecology aspects. It felt relevant without being pushy and I learned a lot just from the setting alone. There was knowledge of rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing multiple marine animals and the center goes about achieving their ultimate goal of getting these animals back to the wild.

Prudence was our dear main character. Oh, how I struggled with her for 80% of the book. I kept expecting some more character growth from her, but felt it happened too close to the end. She leaned towards selfish and so completely single-mindedly focused that I wanted to jump in the book and tell her what she’s missing. With all of the damage done before getting to some evolution in her character it became a bit of a let down.

Quint was precious. And I’m genuinely amazed he was cool with Prudence being rude to him over and over again. I loved his interactions and banter. Quint had a great back story and was clearly devoted to helping the sea creatures in his care. I loved his nature and passion.

I did love their initial at last they kissed moment. It came at the right time and was sweet. I would have loved a longer ending with more of them because by the time I was really feeling it, the ending had arrived.

It’s overall a fun book and I’m happy that I read it. I love Meyer’s writing and will continue to read all the books by her. I’m also hoping for maybe more books with Pru’s brother, Jude (who I adored) and maybe even her friends? I thought there was some open options for more contemporaries in this world and I would love to read those too.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: very little and light
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: injured sea animals that washed ashore, someone breaking their leg from a fall

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