To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

 

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

to all the boys photo

My first Jenny Han read comes compliments of PLA. I eyed the gorgeous cover, and scooped it up immediately. I connected with the narrator Lara Jean, right from the first page. I too am a keeper of all things and love to bake, knit, scrapbook and go antiquing. Like Lara Jean, I also would pour my emotions into my writing, opting for poems/songs instead of letters. I’m not sure how I would have reacted to someone sending my past loves these notes, but I thought Lara Jean handled it exceptionally well.  Her character was well written, and felt authentic. Her sisterly bond with Margot and Kitty were a nice addition to some of the typical high school stories.  It is a unique and interesting dynamic, and I’m glad it’s portrayed realistically, including the frequent fights and makeups!

In terms of romance, there is a bit of a love triangle… but really, Lara Jean’s real love interest becomes blatantly obvious and makes the storyline a tad predictable.  However, the ending to their complicated love story is anything but. I was expecting everything to wrap up beautifully, so I embraced the messier ending, and was able to imagine my own conclusion. I know many readers disagree with me, but I really hope it remains a standalone novel as the story felt complete as is. UPDATE-Found out book #2 P.S. I Still Love You is in the works for 2015. BUMMER.

I encourage you to add this contemporary high school romance to your reader radar. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is available April 15, 2014.

Review: Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

                                    Rules of Attraction (Perfect Chemistry, #2)

***CONTENT WARNING—Before the summary and review, I would like to give a content warning that this YA book contains sexual, drug and alcohol content, and course language.

GOODREADS SUMMARY: When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realises that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.

Review:

I’m not sure how I ended up with Rules of Attraction on my shelf, but I’m happy I grabbed it for my vacation in Jamaica! Although I had not read the first book in the Perfect Chemistry series, I was still able to understand and enjoy this book. Apparently, the whole series (three books in total) have pretty similar plots as they follow the three tough Fuentes brothers as they rebel against society until they all find that special lady that changes their lives.

In this book, the love story revolves around Carlos and Kiera. We get to understand both their perspectives as the book shifts first person narration chapter by chapter. I did like the quiet, shy character of Kiara and her love for over sized t-shirts and old cars. For the most part, she is a goody good girl, yet a different side of her is exposed when she is around Carlos—a bolder sexual side. This romance between Carlos and Kiera does develop nicely, and the sexuality that comes along with it is spicy hot. 

 

Critiques

-I didn’t understand why Carlos and Kiera ever pretended to be boyfriend/girlfriend. Why was it necessary to fool Madison? I don’t get it.

-The ending. I didn’t buy it. It wrapped way to quickly and easily for the couple. It made it unbelievable for the reader. 

-The epilogue. Whyyyyy? It was painfully beyond cheesy. SKIP IT!

Overall, this book was a quick fun beach read. Despite my critiques, I did enjoy this angsty, romance book and I can understand why readers love this series.  If you would like to read the series, I’ve listed the titles in order:

1. Perfect Chemisty

2. Rules of Attraction

3. Chain Reaction

*FYI-The book trailers are available on Youtube. If you want to see the worst book trailer ever, click here to watch the rap book trailer of Perfect Chemistry. Sigh… just why?

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