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

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: Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary
Length: 384 pages
Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
Publisher: Ink Road
Release Date: March 10th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Harley Milano has dreamed of being a trapeze artist for as long as she can remember. With parents who run a famous circus in Las Vegas, she spends almost every night in the big top watching their lead aerialist perform, wishing with all her soul that she could be up there herself one day.

After a huge fight with her parents, who continue to insist she go to school instead, Harley leaves home, betrays her family and joins the rival traveling circus Maison du Mystère. There, she is thrust into a world that is both brutal and beautiful, where she learns the value of hard work, passion and collaboration. But at the same time, Harley must come to terms with the truth of her family and her past—and reckon with the sacrifices she made and the people she hurt in order to follow her dreams.

SOME GOOD.

I liked this book. I did, just some main character issues that were hard to continue to look past as the book went on.

Harley was so intensely selfish, the entire book. Everything she did hurt someone around her and she would acknowledge this, but then do nothing to work on changing and growing from her choices. Maybe by the end were some new insights from Harley. By then though, I was over her attitude and her treatment of others.

I did love the circus theme. It’s a small sub-genre I also enjoy. I like the setting and all of the magical acts and characters that come with it. Harley’s coworkers were fun and helped find her footing after she had ran off.

The romance was cute! I enjoyed the slow movement and how it didn’t overtake the story since this wasn’t a romance at its heart. Harley had to learn a lot while she was on her own and did at least get something out of it.

Harley, biracial, often felt disconnected with her cultures and a large family pulling her different ways. I really liked this diversity aspect and conversations she had with herself and others. I loved that by the end she had started to find herself and where she fit in and how she could feel like she was apart of her family.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary fiction
  • Language: some mild
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content warnings: some suicide ideation, and discussion of mental health (anxiety and depression)

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Book Review

Book Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 2nd, 2013
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

SHORT AND SWEET.

I’ve been sitting on this review because I don’t know that I have much to say? Not in a bad way or anything, this was just a very quick, predictable read. Which is sometimes exactly what you’re looking for, and in this case I was!

I love the audio books for Kasie West novels because they fly by so fast. I finished this in a day. I thought the romance was pretty cute. It was an opposites attract/coming from different worlds vibe that I was definitely feeling.

This was another warm and fuzzy West book. I would rank this on the higher side of books by her that I enjoyed. It’s cute and fluffy with no big surprises. I love that this was heavily romance focused, but allowed for growth and development for the characters. I always love seeing great movement from them because it really helps bring the story home.

Still continuing my quest to read all of Wests’ books. I think I have only a few left!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses

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