BOOK REVIEW: All These Things I’ve Done (#1) by Gabrielle Zevin

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Star Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: That ending was just…not acceptable. Book 2, please. 
Published on/by: March 29th 2012 by Pan Macmillan (first published September 6th 2011)
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 352 pages
Synopsis provided by Goodreads:

Sixteen year-old Anya becomes the head of a mafia family after her parents are both murdered by rival gangs. Although Anya is embroiled in the criminal world, she is determined to keep her brother and sister out of the mafia family, but her father’s relatives aren’t so keen to let them go. When Anya’s violent ex-boyfriend is poisoned with contaminated chocolate – chocolate that is produced illegally by Anya’s mafia family – she is arrested for attempted murder and sent to the notorious jail on Manhattan Island.

Eventually she is freed by the new D.A. in town, who believes she has been framed. But this D.A. is the father of Win, a boy at school to whom Anya feels irresistibly drawn, and her freedom comes with conditions. Win’s father wants to be mayor, and he can’t risk having his ambition jeopardized by rumors spreading that his son is seeing a member of a notorious crime family. Anya knows she risks the safety of her family by seeing Win again, but the feeling between them may be too strong to resist…

REVIEW

Oh god. First book I’ve finished in MONTHS (followed by Midwinterblood), and although it took me a while to get through it (reasons: school, just didn’t feel like reading, etc) I actually really enjoyed it. It was, for lack of better words, unlike anything I’ve ever read. I loved the Mafia daughter theme this book had as well as the voice. Anya was a great character and the setting (a 2083 New York) was kind of peculiar but interesting at the same time too.

Reading the blurb of this book; I was prepared for the worst romance ever. The blurb made me anticipate something SO cheesy and THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is why this book has been on my shelf for THREE years. Glad to say that the book was most definitely not the blurb as it had more than just high school romance like Mafia family politics (which I honestly expected to have more blood), and was, as a result, definitely not that cheesy.

The main character, Anya, was a great character. She was level-headed and not at all a Mary Sue and I think her voice was the strongest aspect of this book. (And I have to say; I LOVED the love interest, Win. Swoon, ok? Ok.) However, I felt like the book had a lot of plot holes and unanswered questions. Judging from the various italicised comments throughout the book, it’s easy to see that Zevin aimed for this book to be told in a journal-ish form (which I liked) but at the same time I felt like it didn’t really hold up and seemed very out of place. I also felt like after the 40% mark of the book, it got a little messy and aimless and I found myself WAITING for some action, and alas there was none… until the last 10% of the book (which I enjoyed thoroughly). Another thing that kind of irked me was how painfully obvious some mysteries were revolving the tainted chocolate and Leo’s involvement with The Pool. For a smart and resourceful girl like Anya, I would have thought she could put two and two together much quicker than she actually did.

Overall, it wasn’t a perfect read, but it was an enjoyable one. Definitely picking up the second book because there are SOOOOO many things I want to know, especially after that sad (but O.O) cliffhanger. TO THE BOOKSTORE, I GO!

PS. The story takes place in 2083, and Anya’s dying grandmother was born in 1995. Countless of times I’ve imagined myself as poor ole Galina, bedridden and on life support. *shudders*

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BOOK REVIEW: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

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Star Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: WHAAAAAAAAT? O.O
Published on/by: April 22nd 2014 by Square Fish (first published October 6th 2011)
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 288 pages
Synopsis provided by Goodreads: Seven stories of passion and love separated by centuries but mysteriously intertwined—this is a tale of horror and beauty, tenderness and sacrifice.

An archaeologist who unearths a mysterious artifact, an airman who finds himself far from home, a painter, a ghost, a vampire, and a Viking: the seven stories in this compelling novel all take place on the remote Scandinavian island of Blessed where a curiously powerful plant that resembles a dragon grows. What binds these stories together? What secrets lurk beneath the surface of this idyllic countryside? And what might be powerful enough to break the cycle of midwinterblood? From award-winning author Marcus Sedgwick comes a book about passion and preservation and ultimately an exploration of the bounds of love.

This is quite possibly the oddest book I’ve ever read. Nothing really made complete sense until the middle part of the book and when that final chapter of a jigsaw puzzle clicked into place, BOOM, I was blown away.

REVIEW

This book is so intricately crafted; a story told within seven different tales. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed to see, upon starting the book, that it was told in a non-chronological way (because I imagined something else entirely) but ultimately, I was proven wrong. It was such a refreshing way of telling a story and I felt that in a way, it made both main characters, Eric and Merle so much more richly developed. Other than being told in a non-chronological order, I should mention that in each chapter, these two main characters, Eric and Merle embodies different people, which was interesting because at first, we are introduced to the two of them as potential lovers, and by the end of the chapter (which was horrific, btw) I found myself rooting for them, only to read the next few chapters where the dynamic of their relationship changes drastically from mother and son to even brothers and sisters!

Honestly, it weirded me out at first. I went from *SHIPPING* to *UM INCEST*, but that feeling was lost very quickly because the bigger goal of the novel became more and more obvious. It was really a novel about the various kinds of love and the sacrifice that can come with it; a novel that Sedgwick delivered with GORGEOUS writing. Totally recommend this if you enjoy a very refreshing way of storytelling, delivered with beautiful and haunting prose.

BOOK REVIEW: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

 

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Eleanor and Park

Star Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: Um…okay. Not what I was hoping for. 
Published on/by: February 1st 2013 by Orion (first published April 12th 2012)
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 328 pages
Synopsis provided by Goodreads: Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book – he thinks he’s made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor… never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

REVIEW

Oh no. I’ve put off reviewing this book for a month now because honestly…I’m still unsure of what to rate this book. My initial rating was 4 stars, because I was too afraid to rate it less than 4 stars. Rainbow Rowell is an acclaimed author, and having bought both Eleanor & Park and Fangirl a year ago in anticipation to join the bandwagon, I guess my expectations were a little too unrealistic.

I expected to love, love, love this book. You have two misfits in high school falling in love? In the 80s? Sign me up. That is my JAM. Everyone knows and loves Rainbow Rowell, everyone has read and loved a Rainbow Rowell book and I think that triggered something in my brain to make me feel like I have no other choice but to love it too, you know? And I know, this is entirely on my own doing. Nobody forced me to impulsively rate it 4 stars at all! It’s just that I felt that I should have liked it more than I really did?

And with that said, I am officially rating this 3 stars. If I’m adhering to the goodreads scale description, I’m definitely on the “it was okay”–which is 2 stars, because that’s how I felt. I did not love/like it very much nor did I hate it. I think I’m just very indifferent towards it. However, 2 stars, for me is a little too low so my final consensus is that this book, for me, is a 3 star read– it was ok.

Wow, I spent so much time explaining my rating that I haven’t even started to defend myself yet! So here goes nothing…

This book was like a cake with icing, without the cake. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sweet tooth. Love icing. But it’s nothing without the cake, and unfortunately I felt like this book didn’t have the depth that I hoped to see and feel. Despite the lack of ‘feels’, I really enjoyed the pacing of the book. The writing is easy to follow (sometimes a little too easy, lol), but it wasn’t slow in the slightest and I quite enjoyed that it was told in third person. So many YA’s are told in first person nowadays, in an attempt for readers to relate better to the protagonist, that I think the skill of being able to make such a relatable character through third person so much more special. However, because it was told in third person, I thought the alternating ‘views’ were quite unnecessary, and in result it was slightly choppy and messy.

Another aspect of the book that I liked was the contrast between Eleanor and Park’s home life. I was able to fully see the dysfunctional and abusive environment Eleanor’s home life was and I think that was the strongest point of the book; seeing the dynamics of her household. It was heartbreaking and frustrating to watch and I felt for Eleanor, I really did.

Now, on the aspects that lacked for me…

The time period was almost unnecessary. I don’t think it was fully explored and it sucks because Rowell could have pushed this book to its full potential. The subject of race could have been delved into much further and I honestly felt like showcasing all these races were just tools for ‘Ooh, lookey here! Diversity!’ It just wasn’t enough for me, especially since the book was set in the 1980s. I also thought the book played on a lot of stereotypes regarding Park’s mother and Eleanor’s two African American friends. For a book that avoided exploring the depths of racism and equality of the 80s, in an attempt to make Park just like any other boy, they sure did make Park’s mom and Eleanor’s friends sound like cookie cutter typical Asians and African Americans. Seriously. I liked that Park’s mom’s background was explored but there was almost zero development on Eleanor’s so-called friends. I felt like they were just there, and nothing else.

And that brings me to the biggest issue I had with this book–the romance. I can say with full conviction that the relationship between Eleanor and Park could have worked better as a friendship. Well, in my opinion. I just didn’t get it. I didn’t get why they liked or thought they loved each other. Seriously. This was insta-love in full effect. I think Rowell tried to avoid the label of insta-love by making them hate each other’s guts in the beginning (also for no good reason) but she pretty much failed because just one day after, they suddenly want to bite each other’s faces off and hold hands and undress each other and whatnot. It was just so sudden and at first, I thought it was really cute. I mean, lust. Who hasn’t experienced lust? But soon, I just thought it was really, really annoying. Especially after Park was convinced he was in love. What followed were wrinkles. Lots of them. From the cringing. The reasons why they liked each other was just so vague and unexplored and I felt like the book served the romance on a plate and was like, “Eat this. We have nothing else on the menu, so you best be eating or you’re gonna starve!”. SERIOUSLY. I know it’s a weird analogy but as soon as the romance kicked in, I felt like this is all the book had to offer. I know it’s a story of first love and coming-of-age experiences and whatnot, but it just felt like the romance was trying so hard and there was no where else that I could escape to find any other redeeming aspects…well apart from Eleanor’s home life BUT IT’S SO GODDAMN DEPRESSING! To sum it up, I know that their feelings for each other was supposed to provide an escape for Eleanor but I just felt that it was contrived and overdone and slightly unrealistic.

So yeah. That was my review/ramble and I am probably going to put off Fangirl till the disappointment wears off.

SUMMER LOVIN’: Books I’ve Devoured!

Summer Lovin Collection

With Fall approaching (I’m not even sure if it’s already here!), I’ve decided to compile a short list of the books that I feel were stand-out to me in the season of Summer! I’ve read more than three books, mind you, and while I did like a lot of them, I feel like these three were simply engrossing and they are the books I still think about, weeks after reading them. I’ve done a proper review for only one of these so naturally, I won’t yap on and on about that particular book but for the other two, I have yet to write reviews so I’m going to treat this post like a collection of mini FIVE-STARRED reviews 😉

1. Insurgent by Veronica Roth

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Blurb provided by GoodreadsOne choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

MINI REVIEW

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Fun, fun, fun. This book was an absolute blast, and I cannot for the life of me understand why it’s the least favourite of so many people?! This was the best instalment in the trilogy, in my opinion. It had so many conspiracies, new characters and twists and turns and it was just so enjoyable to see Tris transform into someone I never thought she would. Granted, her actions and mentality were a little annoying because of what happened in Divergent but I thought they were warranted for and it created a more vulnerable side to Tris.

Another reason why I thought this book was infinitely better than the first and third was the constant appearances of Uriah. Yes, Uriah. I. Love. Uriah. I think I even love him more than Four? Described as the devilishly handsome jokester, he lightens the scene with his easy humour and grin. How could you not love Uriah, right? To sum it up, this was definitely a blast to read as it kept me up late at night and was definitely the strongest in the only trilogy I read this summer! 🙂

2. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

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Blurb provided by Goodreads: Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs – the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor’s only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother – who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

MINI REVIEW

I’ve been saving this book for years. And when I say ‘saving’, I mean I bought it several years ago and kept it on my shelf, hoping for that one special day where I felt ready to crack it open. I know, I’m making reading sound like some kind of invigorating religious experience BUT I KID YOU NOT, this book was a very big deal to me because 1) I have never read a single bad review of this book and 2) I loved loved loved Melina Marchetta’s previous book, ‘Saving Francesca’.

To get straight to the point: I loved this book. This was grief, loss, love and friendship done right. It was realistic, heartbreaking and raw. A story within a story; I was so, so, so engrossed with the tale of Taylor Markham and her Jellicoe school friends and their intriguing “turf war” games with the Cadets and Townies, intertwined with the mystery and history of the five friends twenty years ago who shaped the dynamics between these friends and Taylor’s broken family life.

This book touched me to the point where 30% in, I promised myself I would re-read it again before the year ended because even though I flew through this masterpiece, I know there is more to absorb and savour. Having re-read ‘Saving Francesca’ a couple of times, I know I won’t have trouble re-reading Jellicoe Road as Marchetta writes beautiful prose. This book definitely made my Top 5 favourite books of all time.

3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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Blurb provided by GoodreadsLou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

MINI REVIEW

I’m going to try and write this mini-review/gushy commentary without crying. This was the last book I finished and I swear to God, I spent so many hours upon finishing it, just thinking about everything that had happened. I was a Jojo Moyes virgin, and now I am not. And my God, reading her book was a magical experience. This was my first chick-lit in a while and I’ve only ever been exposed to Sophie Kinsella and the odd Cecelia Ahern. I didn’t realise how much I missed reading from a perspective of an adult since starting this book.

It’s about a 26 year old girl, Lou Clark, who is pretty much going nowhere. Sounds harsh, no? But she’s pretty content with what she has–the semi-detached seven year relationship with her boyfriend Patrick and her job in a cafe. Until said cafe closes down and Lou is out of a job and in a scramble to help out with her family. So, she takes a job as a carer to a 35 year old quadriplegic, Will. Will, who is so incredible infuriating, and thoughtful and intriguing. I have to say, Will Traynor is one of the most interesting characters I have ever read in my entire life. In this book we explore the beliefs and attitudes of people, people who were comfortable with what they had until what they had was gone. Will has only been a C5/C6 quadriplegic for two years. Before that, he was a rich attorney living in London, with a gorgeous supermodel-like girlfriend and a love for travelling and extreme sports until they day of his accident… Everything changes, obviously. Not only in his environment but something in himself changes and he can’t seem to shake it off.

I’ll just say that I started this book with the knowledge of what was going to happen in the end, but it didn’t stop me from crying and loving everything Jojo Moyes had done. This book is not a conventional romantic love story, heck, I don’t even think it should be described as one! This book is a story about choices and how we see ourselves and how we have the power to choose what defines us. This book will remain with me for a very, very long time.

 

And so, that was a cluster of mini reviews on the books that I’ve enjoyed the most this summer! I’m not sure if this will be a seasonal thing, seeing as it’s summer all year round where I live but, hey! Who knows right? School has just started and I’m trying to get back into the swing of things–studying, reading, reviewing and more 😉

Blog Tour: Tortured Souls (#1) by Kimber Leigh Wheaton

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Star Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Published on/by:
 June 29th 2014 by Sea Dragon Press (first published June 28th 2014)
Format: eBook
Page Count: 227 pages
Blurb: 

Sometimes Rest in Peace isn’t an option.

Kacie Ramsey sees ghosts—and it’s ruining her life. Her mother left, her father blames her, and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t keep the ghosts away. Now a new power has emerged. Nightly visions of grisly murders and a relentless predator draw her to the brink of insanity.

When the phantom appears at a party, Kacie’s longtime crush, Logan, saves her. He invites her to join the Orion Circle, a group of supernatural hunters with chapters in schools all over the country. Through the Circle, Kacie learns to embrace her spiritual powers, and for the first time in her life she feels in control rather than a victim.

But the Foxblood Demon will not give up so easily. A demented serial killer in life who trapped the souls of the thirteen children he murdered, imprisoning them within the walls of his mansion. Now in death, he plots his return while drawing power from the pure souls of the children. He recognizes something in Kacie he’s never seen before—a medium powerful enough to provide a vessel for his tainted soul.

Kacie can’t ignore the tortured souls of the children crying out to her every night. With Logan at her side, she will fight the Foxblood Demon. But can they banish this powerful phantom, or will Kacie lose not only her body, but her eternal soul to the monster.

Amazon * Goodreads

NON-SPOILERY MINI REVIEW:

What do you get when you have a sweet, relatable main protagonist with insane spirit powers, a kind and swoon-worthy love interest and a weirdo serial killer? You get oodles of fun, that’s what. This book was extremely enjoyable with comical secondary characters and plenty of spooky spirit encounters to keep you on your toes. I really loved the interactions and the fact that the characters were not perfect and had flaws too. The pacing of this book was great and I found myself speeding through the pages which I feel is essential in a good book. While I enjoyed the banter and the pacing, I do have to say that I wasn’t too keen on the development of the romance, mainly because it was a pre-existing crush and so we didn’t get a lot of build-up and explanation about their attraction with each other in the beginning. Overall, it was really fun and I’ll definitely pick up Book 2 of ‘The Orion Circle’ series!

GET THE TORTURED SOUL EXPERIENCE IN A PLAYLIST!

I’ve been listening to this playlist while reading the book and I can say with certainty that I’m pretty impressed that each of these songs fit SO WELL with the story.

  1. Iridescent by Linkin Park
  2. Without You from Rent
  3. When I See You Smile by Bad English
  4. Whisper by Evanescence
  5. Criticize by Adelita’s Way
  6. Through Glass by Stone Sour
  7. Silent Lucidity by Queensryche
  8. Home by Daughtry
  9. Heaven nor Hell by Volbeat
  10. Die Trying by Art of Dying
  11. I’ll Follow You by Shinedown
  12. Nightmare by Avenged Sevenfold
  13. Enter Sandman by Metallica
  14. Hero by Skillet

Check out the playlist on spotify!

GIVEAWAY!
$25 Amazon Gift Card
1 Signed Print Copy – US Only
5 sets of signed bookmarks – US only
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: A copy of Tortured Souls was given to me by the author for an honest review!

BOOK REVIEW: Insurgent (#2) by Veronica Roth

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Star Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: BETTER THAN THE FIRST + CAN I MARRY URIAH?
Published on/by: May 1st 2012 by Katherine Tegen Books (International First Edition)
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 529 pages
Synopsis provided by Goodreads: Tris has survived a brutal attack on her former home and family. But she has paid a terrible price. Wracked by grief and guilt, she becomes ever more reckless as she struggles to accept her new future.

Yet if Tris wants to uncover the truth about her world, she must be stronger than ever… because more shocking choices and sacrifices lie ahead.

NON-SPOILERY/GUSHY REVIEW:

I don’t even know why I’m writing a review on a book I read about two weeks ago. But then again, I don’t know why I’m writing a review on a book EVERYONE and their grandparents have read. But alas, I kinda have some things to say and after finishing Allegiant last night…boy, do I have some things to say.

Insurgent was even BETTER than Divergent. It delivered on all the emotional goods and really broadened the Divergent world as well as provide for great developments between friendships, romantic relationships as well as family dynamics. There were twists and turns, shocking revelations as well as conflicts. Lots and lots of juicy conflicts. I devoured this book in a matter of two days, which goes to show you how much I loved it. 

I wasn’t apprehensive starting this, despite all the reviews expressing disappointment over this sequel, mostly because of Raeleen from padfootandprongs7, who said in a video once that she had initially hated Insurgent because of the year long gap she had to wait to read it, but after marathoning the series in a recent read-a-thon, her love for it trumped Divergent’s. 

And so, I went into this book with good faith and an anxious heart and was so incredibly happy that I loved this even more than I thought I would! Obviously I cannot say too much, as this is the second book in a trilogy but just…ugh. It was a bittersweet kinda love, honestly, as there were deaths. Deaths of characters I adored. One great thing about Veronica Roth’s story-telling is her ability to not hold back and for that I applaud her and dislike her. 😉 

Definitely a full 5 stars for my favourite instalment in the trilogy! 

BOOK REVIEW: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han | Cosplaying Lara Jean Song!

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Star Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: WHY IS BOOK 2 ONE YEAR AWAY?! NOOOOO.
Blurb provided by Goodreads: What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

 

Review:

I read this book like how I fall in love…slowly, and then all at once. That was a John Green reference, and I’m not sure if I did it correctly or not, but what I’m trying to say is that, I expected to read a few chapters before going to sleep. However, I found myself gripping the pages, my heart in a puddle in a pool at my feet and the clock flashing ‘4am’. To be fair, I did this to myself. It was 12 am and I knew I had to wake up in 7 hours for a 6 hour lecture in the morning! But no, the cover was too gorgeous to resist, and I knew Jenny Han was a fantastic storyteller. And so I read and read and read, only to have 20% of the book left at 4am. I then took a three hour sleep, read 50 or so pages and a few more on the way to my lecture. It was only at 1pm that I was able to finish the book, during a lunch break, and when class started back up again, I was distraught.

Thank God for Book 2 because that last line ain’t gonna fly for me.

To say I like this book is an understatement. To say I loved this book would be one, too. I simply adored this book, end of. This book was like a Magnum ice cream, coated with deliciousness, but underneath the chocolate ganache, is a rich vanilla. It was so heart-warming, delightfully funny and incredible poignant.

This story follows Lara Jean Song Covey who is dreamy-eyed and such a romantic! In her entire life, she has all but fallen in love with 5 boys, and for herself to get over them, she writes each of them a love “goodbye” letter and keeps them in a hat box her mother gave her when she was younger. So it’s the end of Summer and her oldest sister Margot is going to college in Scotland and Lara Jean is starting Junior Year. As she adjusts to these new changes, she finds out that her hat box has disappeared and her letters have been sent out–one of them to Peter Kavinsky, her first kiss and the other to her sister’s newly ex-boyfriend, Josh. In order to save face, she devises a contract with the most popular boy in her class, Peter, who is also nursing a broken heart after being dumped by his girlfriend of four years for an older guy, to be in a fake relationship. Peter K is a dreamboat. Described by Lara Jean to have that kind of “wholesome good looks” from another decade? SOLD.

This book sounds like it only centres around Lara Jean’s love life, but it’s way more than that! This book covers the vital relationship Lara Jean has with her two sisters, public perception as well as pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. I really, really loved the supporting characters, especially her two sisters. They each had their own distinct personalities that really shaped and gave flavour to the story. Margot, the eldest, was perhaps the most complex and the hardest character to like. She’s driven, stoic at times and very practical. Having to be the eldest and sort of the ‘mom’ to look out for her younger sisters after their mother passed away when she was 12 really made her an interesting character and I loved that we can kind of see in the story that all her life she’s based decisions for the benefit of her sisters and now she wants to be brave and do something for herself at once. Although we don’t see much of Margot in the book, mostly in the beginning and in the end, I really loved that she was still an important fixture that shaped Lara Jean as a character. With her gone, Lara Jean developed in this book as the eldest sister, learning to put Kitty (the youngest) before her and kind of juggling with expectations and wants. I know a lot of people didn’t like Margot but I kind of empathised with her; she was not a perfect character, she probably didn’t handle revelations at the end very well but she’s human. Kitty, the youngest, was probably the cutest younger sister in all of YA. She is so sassy and her quips are so hilarious. I especially loved when she interacted with Peter and it was so endearing to see how smitten she was with him and him her (of course, in a brotherly-sisterly way…did I use smitten correctly? LOL).

The romance was so sweet, I have cavities. I really liked the fact that Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship was not an easy one–being fake and all. The build-up was so fun to read and I loved that there was no insta-love at all. We kind of get the vibe from the beginning of the book (when they start their contractual affair, LOL) that it’s slightly love-triangle-ish, but I liked that we didn’t really know where Jenny Han was going to go with it. I definitely rooted for Peter, though, and I really appreciated that Lara Jean and Peter both didn’t put each other on a pedestal. Neither of them were interested in each other at the start, with Peter still in love with Genevieve, his ex, and Lara Jean being confused with her feelings for Josh, knowing she can never betray her sister, Margo,t which I thought provided a really great foundation for a friendship. You know how you act in front of the person you like? Like yourself…but just a little bit of the person you think THEY’D want? The best thing about them not liking each other in that way for most of the book is that they see each other’s flaws. There’s no need to impress the other; what you see is what you get. Before I spoil any further, I just have to share this song: Girls Chase Boys by Ingrid Michaelson. In my opinion, this is the PERFECT song for this book, and you can bet your bottom’s dollar that I’ve been blasting this all week (and right now, too).

Another thing I adored about this book was that it showcased a half-Asian main character. There is not enough diversity in YA, and I know it’s been said a lot, especially on Twitter, but it’s so true. Lara Jean Song being half Korean was like the cherry on top of this Magnum ice cream. She was believable, realistic and as a mixed person, I related to her, having to adhere to two separate cultures. And can I just add that finally there’s some credible representation here, with no offensive stereotypes? THANK YOU JENNY HAN.

I recently did a video review, discussing spoilery bits so I won’t delve into them here because I’m certain all that will come out is iudfhoiqwuefhqoiufhougberogjb. My feels were tested with this book, you guys.

 

Before I end this review (ish), I’d like to share this…thing I did.

The day after I finished this book, I was inspired to be very Lara Jean for the day and *TA-DA*, my first ever cosplay “photoshoot”, thanks to my patient 12 year old sister. I loved all of Lara Jean’s fashion choices in the book so I thought I’d do something a little Lara Jean-esque, but I highly doubt she’d wear that many dark colours…oh well, gotta work with what was in my closet!

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Ta-da! My first ever cosplay (amateur) photo shoot!

xoxo