Book Review: Hello, Goodbye And Everything In Between by Jennifer E Smith

Book: Hello, Goodbye And Everything In Between by Jennifer E Smith

Published September 2015 by Poppy Books|288 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night leads them to family and friends, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

Charming, bittersweet, and full of wisdom and heart, this irresistible novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that arise when life and love lead in different directions.

I really liked this one!  I wasn’t expecting to like it, but I did.  I’ve read a couple of her books, but it’s been quite a while, and since I was in the mood for a cute YA contemporary, this seemed like a good choice.

I’m not going to lie, I was expecting something along the lines of a Kasie West book.  I wasn’t expecting to like it so much, but it did take a while to get there.

I really liked the short timeline.  I liked that they went on the adventure where they retraced their relationship and the important places and moments of their entire relationship.  You get such a great glimpse into their relationship and what it was like how they got to where they did.

Something she did really well was the short timeline.  It seems to be her thing, books that take place over a really short period of time, and from what I remember from her other books, she has a knack for telling an entire story in a matter of hours.  Time wise, that is.

I loved that they were trying to figure things out, even though it was their last shot to figure out before moving to different parts of the country for school.  I liked how it left things, and that there was the possibility that things could still work out for them, but that they also had to try and be apart too.

Claire was really hard to relate to, but I can understand why she had a hard time staying with Aidan.  It seemed like he was fine with staying together, while she had a much harder time with it, and I kind of wish he seemed more okay with the fact that she needed time apart.  There were times where it felt like they weren’t deciding whether to stay together or break up but trying to figure out what where they were going to eat dinner.  I think it’s the way they decided to make the decision, but by the end, I felt pretty invested in their relationship and what was going to happen.

I was also pretty interested in what was going on with their friends.  They seemed like such a random group, pulled together by the fact that they were the only ones in their group to not be off at college.  I know the book is about Aidan and Claire trying to figure out their relationship but a book focusing on his sister would be great.  Or their other two friends we see- if only I could remember their names.  Clearly, they didn’t make enough of an impression, given I’ve forgotten their names, but still.

I definitely got the impression Claire wasn’t always thoughtful or a great friend, and she did seem pretty wrapped up in her own issues, but hopefully, that will change for her.  Maybe going off to college and meeting new people will be good for her.

4 stars.  I really liked it, and it’s a cute, light YA contemporary.

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Book Review: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Book: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Published April 2018 by Simon Pulse|421 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?

I liked this one!  It’s cute, and there are a lot of things I liked…but also some things I didn’t like.

So, I liked the non-traditional families in this book, particularly with the relationship Zorie had with her step-mom.  I loved that even though Zorie wasn’t her biological child, she still considered Zorie her kid, and they had such a good relationship.  It’s a nice change from the evil, horrible step-parent who hates the kid from the previous marriage.  As for Zorie’s dad, I wasn’t a big fan of him.  I hated that for the entire book, he hated Lennon, and it was just so weird to me.  I mean, he’s a kid, and though it wasn’t explained for most of the book, something obviously happened for the dad to want Lennon stay away from Zorie.

We do learn what that moment is, and I was a little let down by it.  I understand why her dad was upset, but obviously, appearances mattered more than anything else, and I was glad when he was no longer part of Zorie’s life.

I really liked the maps throughout the book, and it really seemed to fit with the book and the journey through the wilderness.  Zorie and Lennon do suit each other, and they had a lot of chemistry but I also wasn’t into the romance, for some reason.  It’s sweet and cute, and there’s definitely some miscommunication that gets worked out.  The setting worked really well, and it was a good background for them as they figured out what went wrong at Homecoming.  Also, camping and hiking isn’t something that comes up in YA contemporary.  It made it seem a little more unique, but I am slightly disappointed that Zorie’s love of astronomy didn’t really come into play as she and Lennon were hiking to a different park.

Overall, though, I was bored at times.  The camping/hiking descriptions were cool, but I didn’t really get why Zorrie and Lennon were on the trip when one of the girls just wanted to get rid of Zorrie, and Lennon only seemed to be there to keep an eye on Zorrie.

I also didn’t like the references to Homecoming, and how that changed things for Zorrie and Lennon.  There was a lot of build-up to it, and I did feel a little let down by what really happened.  I already wasn’t a fan of her dad, and that made me really hate him.  I’ve already talked about it a little bit, so I won’t add anything else but I definitely wasn’t thrilled with her dad.

3 stars.  I liked Starry Eyes, and the setting was really cool.  I liked the relationship Zorie had with her step-mom, but I’m having a hard time giving it anything higher than 3 stars.

Book Review: Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry

Book: Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry

Published August 2018 by Katherine Tegen Books|329 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Michael is an atheist. So as he walks through the doors at St. Clare’s—a strict Catholic school—sporting a plaid tie, things can’t get much worse. His dad has just made the family move again, and Michael needs a friend. When a girl challenges their teacher in class, Michael thinks he might have found one, and a fellow nonbeliever at that. Only this girl, Lucy, is not just Catholic . . . she wants to be a priest.

But Lucy introduces Michael to other St. Clare’s outcasts, and he officially joins Heretics Anonymous, where he can be an atheist, Lucy can be an outspoken feminist, Avi can be Jewish and gay, Max can wear whatever he wants, and Eden can practice paganism. After an incident in theology class, Michael encourages the Heretics to go from secret society to rebels intent on exposing the school’s hypocrisies. When Michael takes one mission too far—putting the other Heretics at risk—he must decide whether to fight for his own freedom, or rely on faith, whatever that means, in God, his friends, or himself.

I thought this one was an interesting one, and I’ll admit, I was intrigued by a group of outcasts called Heretics Anonymous.

Michael and his friends are quite the interesting but different group of people.  So, this book doesn’t set out to convert anyone, and you get everyone as they are.  There’s a lot of different viewpoints, and I felt like Henry was respectful of all of the different beliefs we see in the book.  I can’t think of any other YA book that specifically mentions atheism, and it made for an interesting read, because you see how Michael reacts to everything at his new school.

Tolerance and understanding is definitely something that comes across throughout the whole book, and I liked seeing the difference in beliefs (and lack thereof) we see in the book.  It felt really natural, and I never had the impression that characters were in there to check off a box.  It was nice to see that different beliefs can actually co-exist and get along, and that it’s okay to have your own belief system.

There were also some really funny moments, which I liked seeing.  I felt like YA tends to make me cry more than it makes me laugh, but I do tend to go for the heavy stuff.  It was nice to read something lighter for once.

I really liked Michael and Lucy, though I could care less about their romance.  While Michael made some bad decisions, I also understand why he acted the way he did.  Also…I hated his dad.  He was terrible for most of the book, and it really bothered me that Michael and his sister were told they weren’t moving for a while, only for it to not happen.  At least, it seemed up in the air at the end of the book and I think some of the things Michael did could have been avoided had his parents been honest.

3 stars.  I liked it, but I can’t pinpoint anything super-specific about what I didn’t like.  It’s worth checking out.

Book Review: Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

Book: Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

Published October 2014 by Algonquin Young Readers|304 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

High-school junior Leila has made it most of the way through Armstead Academy without having a crush on anyone, which is something of a relief. Her Persian heritage already makes her different from her classmates; if word got out that she liked girls, life would be twice as hard. But when a sophisticated, beautiful new girl, Saskia, shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, especially when it looks as if the attraction between them is mutual. Struggling to sort out her growing feelings and Saskia’s confusing signals, Leila confides in her old friend, Lisa, and grows closer to her fellow drama tech-crew members, especially Tomas, whose comments about his own sexuality are frank, funny, wise, and sometimes painful. Gradually, Leila begins to see that almost all her classmates are more complicated than they first appear to be, and many are keeping fascinating secrets of their own.

Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel was just okay.  I wanted to like it more, and there were some things I liked, but it wasn’t enough to actually get me to like it.

I did like seeing Leila get involved with the school play, and that her classmates aren’t who Leila thought they were.  I was glad she got to know some of them, and that she started to find her place at school.  I liked seeing her struggle with fitting in, and how different she felt from her other classmates.  It made it easy to relate to Leila, and I could picture it really well.  I also get why

I didn’t care for Saskia, who was cruel and manipulative.  I can’t say I’m surprised by how she acted, especially with everything that happened towards the end of the book.  And I don’t know if it’s just me, but it felt like something out of Mean Girls.  Why, I don’t know, but that was the vibe I got from that one scene in particular.

I didn’t get why she had so many issues with her sister- it seemed like it was the fact that her sister was doing everything she was supposed to and Leila wasn’t.  Her sister turned out to be pretty cool, and I wish there was more depth with why Leila didn’t care for her sister.  Also, I’m an only child, so I don’t completely get the sibling dynamic.

It was pretty short, and I feel like it could have been a little bit longer.  It was a little bit younger than I thought it would be.  At the very least, it read young, and I thought it would have worked pretty well as a middle grade novel.

2 stars.  This book wasn’t for me, but I can see why people love it.

Audio Book Review: My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma, Narrated by Priya Ayyar

Book: My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma, Narrated by Priya Ayyar

Published May 2018 by Listening Library|Length: 7 hours, 7 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soulmate, but their love was written in the stars. Literally, a pandit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her 18th birthday, and Raj meets all of the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked to return from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. Worse, Raj is crowned chair of the student film festival, a spot Winnie was counting on for her film school applications. As a self-proclaimed Bollywood expert, Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted.

Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek, and one of the few people Winnie can count on to help her reclaim control of her story. Dev is smart charming, and challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope to find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy, and her chance to live happily ever after? To get her Bollywood-like life on track, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family, and of course, a Bollywood movie star. 

Like an expertly choreographed Bollywood dance scene, Nisha Sharma’s off-beat love story dazzles in the lime light. 

I really liked My So-Called Bollywood Life!  It’s really cute, and I think it’s a good read-alike if you like When Dimple Met Rishi and Anna And The French Kiss.

There were times when I really liked Winnie, but there were times when I didn’t like her at all.  I liked that she did question the prophecy, especially with how things with Raj turned out.  It was clear that the prophecy was a big part of her life, and though I don’t put a lot of emphasis on prophecies, I did like seeing how important it was to her family, and how astrology did play a big part in their lives.

I also liked how she a blog where she reviewed Bollywood movies.  Film was really important to her, and it’s what she wants to do career-wise.  I think it was that part of that made me think of Anna And The French Kiss.  It’s really cool to see books where the main character is into movies and wants to be a film critic, instead of an actor or director.

It was cool to see how much she loved Bollywood movies, and how it’s something she shares with her dad.  It’s interesting, because I feel like it doesn’t happen a lot in YA.  Of course, that would require parents to be around in YA, and that’s something that doesn’t happen often.  It’s nice to see her relationship with her family, and it was clear that family is important to all of them.

Wanting love and a happy ending was important for Raj, Dev, and Winnie.  In the case of Raj and Dev, it didn’t feel fake, and it’s nice to see a book where guys believe in love.

One thing that I thought was interesting was how each chapter started off with a rating of a Bollywood movie.  It was different, but I thought it really worked.  At the end of book, we also get Winnie’s reviews of each of the movies mentioned in the book.  I don’t know if it’s different in the print version, since I went with the audio book, but it was fun to hear her actual reviews.  I thought it worked well at the end of the audio, especially because I don’t know that it would have worked at the beginning of each chapter.  It would be cool to see it worked into each chapter in the print version.

Speaking of the audio book, I really liked the narrator!  I felt like she really captured who Winnie is as a person.  I’m glad I went with audio for this one.  Looking back, I don’t know if I would have liked nearly as much if I read it, but it worked really well on audio.

4 stars.  I really liked My So-Called Bollywood Life.  It’s a really cute contemporary romance, and worth reading!

Book Review: Dear Rachel Maddow by Adrienne Kisner

Book: Dear Rachel Maddow by Adrienne Kisner

Published June 2018 by Feiwel & Friends|265 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

In Adrienne Kisner’s Dear Rachel Maddow, a high school girl deals with school politics and life after her brother’s death by drafting emails to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow in this funny and heartfelt YA debut.

Brynn Haper’s life has one steadying force–Rachel Maddow.

She watches her daily, and after writing to Rachel for a school project–and actually getting a response–Brynn starts drafting e-mails to Rachel but never sending them. Brynn tells Rachel about breaking up with her first serious girlfriend, about her brother Nick’s death, about her passive mother and even worse stepfather, about how she’s stuck in remedial courses at school and is considering dropping out.

Then Brynn is confronted with a moral dilemma. One student representative will be allowed to have a voice among the administration in the selection of a new school superintendent. Brynn’s archnemesis, Adam, and ex-girlfriend, Sarah, believe only Honors students are worthy of the selection committee seat. Brynn feels all students deserve a voice. When she runs for the position, the knives are out. So she begins to ask herself: What Would Rachel Maddow Do?

I really wanted to like this one more than I actually did.  I’m not sure what I was expecting this book to be, but it, for the most part, didn’t work for me.

So, Dear Rachel Maddow is told through emails to Rachel Maddow.  We learn what’s going on in Brynn’s life as she tells her story to Rachel.  I think, based on the title, I was expecting something more political.  I was expecting more of an election story than something deal with drug use and child abuse.  It was unexpected, but please keep that in mind if you pick up this book.  Maybe that’s why I didn’t like it as much as I thought- it seemed like it would be more light-hearted and fun, and the book turned out to be…well, not light-hearted and fun like the summary says.

I particularly hated her stepfather, who seems irritated he has to deal with step-children.  I mean, I understand that her brother died from what seems to be a drug overdose (it’s never stated outright how he died, but it’s strongly implied that’s what it was) and he doesn’t want her to end up like her brother.  But how does kicking her out, and insisting she’s going to contribute to the household (while not letting her go to her job) make things any better?  Don’t get me wrong, if they want her to get a job and pay rent once she’s 18, that’s fine.  But making it sound like her retail job isn’t a real job and generally treating her the way he does didn’t get any sympathy points from me.

Her remedial classes seemed a little odd.  It’s high school, but it seems like these teachers cover multiple subjects and have aides and tutors.  I was never placed in remedial classes, and I took mostly non-honors classes with a few honors classes sprinkled in.  Maybe it seems odd because that wasn’t my experience in high school.

I did like that she wanted all students to be heard, and not just a select few.  I think that was my favorite thing about Dear Rachel Maddow.  Throughout the book, you can definitely see that Brynn (and those like her) seem to get overlooked, and I liked seeing how important it was to her that all students were represented.

I’m still not sure how I feel about the story being told through e-mail.  I don’t know if it’s just me, but I don’t think I’m a huge fan of the whole writing letters/emails to a famous person, whether they’re dead or alive.  It does look like she got a response back from Rachel Maddow, and I kind of wish we had actually seen the e-mail back.  Especially considering we see emails from other people to Brynn, and emails between the principal and parents.  And it seems like a thing that she got a reply, so why not include it?

2 stars.  This book was okay, but I’m pretty sure it’s a better fit for someone else.

Book Review: Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown

Book: Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown

Published May 2013 by Little, Brown Books For Young Readers|284 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Ashleigh’s boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college, and Ashleigh is worried that he’ll forget about her while he’s away. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh’s friends suggest she text him a picture of herself — sans swimsuit — to take with him. Before she can talk herself out of it, Ashleigh strides off to the bathroom, snaps a photo in the full-length mirror, and hits “send.”

But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb takes revenge by forwarding the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. As her friends and family try to distance themselves from the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone — until she meets Mack while serving her court-ordered community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he’s the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh’s photo — and didn’t look. 

Acclaimed author Jennifer Brown brings readers a gripping novel about honesty and betrayal, redemption and friendship, attraction and integrity, as Ashleigh finds that while a picture may be worth a thousand words . . . it doesn’t always tell the whole story. 

I wanted to love this book, I really did.  I’ve read a few of her books, but none has lived up to the expectations that Hate List set when I read it years ago.

I do like that Brown tackles serious topics- everything from school shootings to abusive relationships to sexting.  I appreciate what Brown is trying to do, and you see how much backlash there is for what Ashleigh did.  I really came to hate Kaleb, and how he wasn’t really sorry for what he did.  At least, he didn’t seem truly sorry, and only seemed to care because of how it might affect his future.  You see the consequences of one action (for both of them), and it seems like Ashleigh bears the brunt of it, which is unfair.

She wants to fit in, and she really changes a lot.  I didn’t particularly care about past Ashley (she seemed boring and whiny, in my opinion) but present Ashley is a lot more interesting.  I’m not sure why, but the jumping around in time didn’t particularly work for me, and I felt more disconnected from it than I thought I would.  It’s like, I like the concept of her books, and on the surface, they seem like books I’d love, but in reality, I’m not as interested in them as I think I’m going to be.

That being said, I think her books are worth checking out if you like books that deal with issues teens night be dealing with today.  While I didn’t feel anything during (or after) reading this book, I can see why people really like it.  I just wish it were for me.

2 stars.  Thousand Words wasn’t for me, but I can see why people like it.  I wish it had something more, but I can’t really identify what was missing.

Book Review: The Start Of Me And You by Emery Lord

Book: The Start Of Me And You by Emery Lord

Published March 2015 by Bloomsbury|376 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: The Start Of Me And You #1

Genre: YA Contemporary

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live? 

Emery Lord is becoming one of those who I absolutely love.  I wish she had more books I could read, because her books always leave me feeling like a sobbing mess curled up in bed.  I remember when I used to feel this way about books all the time (as in, the first few years of the blog), and I wish I felt more like this with the books I read.

So, this one, I wasn’t sure about initially, and I really liked Paige.  At first, I was irritated with the label of having a dead boyfriend, and people seeing her differently.  For a guy she was only dating for a couple of months when it happened, it seemed to be this big huge thing that happened in her life, and I didn’t quite get it.  I wish we had seen more of her time with him, because I has having a hard time caring.

I’m glad she had quiz bowl, and that she was determined to have a plan to get everything back to normal.  I’m glad I stuck with it, because by the end, I ended up loving it.

One of the things that really struck me was her relationship with her grandma.  For some reason, it made me think of my grandma, and how much I really miss her.  That sobbing mess I was by the end of the book?  It’s totally because of everything that happened with her grandma.  I don’t know why, but Lord’s books just wreck me, and while I wasn’t sure about it at first, I’m glad I stuck with it.  She won me over, and I don’t know why I doubted that I would end up loving it.

I also loved her friends, and there was something really cool about their friendship.  Lord does friendships and feels and love so well, and this book was no exception.  All of the girls are so different, but I’m glad Paige had great friends and I liked how they were there for each other.  They are all very lucky to have each other.

5 stars.  I loved The Start Of Me And You, and I can’t wait to read the next book.  If you want a sweet, cute contemporary with cool friendships, this is the book to read.

Book Review: Listen To Your Heart by Kasie West

Book: Listen To Your Heart by Kasie West

Published May 2018 by Point|336 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend … until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Kasie West’s adorable story of secrets, love, and friendship is sure to win over hearts everywhere.

I actually really liked Listen To Your Heart.  I’ve read quite a few of her books this year, and I went into it expecting an okay story.  I was surprised that I liked it so much.  I’ve noticed that her books tend to be pretty similar, with pretty similar characters, so it’s getting harder and harder to like her books.  And yet, I still keep reading them.

Anyway, back to Listen To Your Heart.  I think I liked it so much is because Kate is pretty cool.  She’s sarcastic, and scared to be a podcast host, and yet she continues to do and ends up liking it.  The lake is pretty important, but I’m glad to see her realize that there are other options out there, and that it’s okay to figure out what you want.

I know there are a few podcasts mentioned, primarily one about first dates.  I have no clue if they’re real or made up, but either way, I liked that her school had a podcasting class.  I myself am a podcast listener, so I think that’s another reason why I liked it so much.  You see the class pick a theme, and while it focuses on hosting the advice podcast, you do see elements of promoting it as well.

Is it weird that I kind of wish some podcasts been recommended at the end of the book?  I mean, I know some authors will mention songs or artists they listened to in the acknowledgements, and some authors (like Rachel Caine) have whole playlists at the end of the book, so I was half hoping there would be podcasts the author listened to or something.  I know this has nothing to do with the actual book…but still.

So, one of the things that kept from loving Listen To Your Heart is that it’s a typical Kasie West book.  It’s fun and sweet and there’s a romance, and it’s pretty predictable if you’ve read any YA contemporaries, but especially if you’ve read anything by West before.  I’m still not sure why I liked this one more than some of the other ones I’ve read this year, but I’m going to go with it.

4 stars.  I think I’ve said all I needed to say- it’s cute and fun, and I liked that Kate realized there’s more than the lake.

Book Review: From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

Book: From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

Published May 2018 by Simon Pulse|336 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.

When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.

Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?

Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.

I didn’t like this one as much as I thought.  I’ve been on a contemporary kick lately, but this one didn’t work for me.  Which makes me sad, because I really enjoyed When Dimple Met Rishi, and I thought I’d really enjoy this one.

A big part of why I didn’t like this book was the format.  Twinkle writes letter to her favorite female filmmakers, which was cute.  But with the e-mails from her secret admirer and the texts added in as well, I had a hard time getting into the book.  In the midst of the letters, you’d see emails and texts, and then it would go back to the letters, and it was just irritating.  To the point that even though I went through this book pretty fast, it made me not care about what was going on.  And it took me out of Twinkle’s story, which didn’t help.

Then again, I thought Twinkle was absolutely terrible…so…yeah.  She really becomes self-centered, and she is terrible to Sahil, because he’s not his twin brother.  It’s clear he has feelings for her, and she does reciprocate those feelings, though maybe not initially.  She’s terrible to her best friend, and upset that her best friend has ditched her for the popular crowd, but doesn’t consider that maybe she’s part of the problem too.  She does find friendship and love in unexpected places, and at one point, it sounded like a complete set-up.  It wasn’t, and that was a relief, but I did expect Victoria to be up to something.

I was glad that Twinkle realized her part in things, and that her best friend apologized for how she treated Twinkle.  And the same with Hannah, but at the same, it was too late.  I mean, it did follow a progression, and Twinkle does take some time to realize things, but it was hard for me to actually care.

There were some funny moments in this book, and while it’s not set in the same world as When Dimple Met Rishi, it was written in the same vein- funny, guys you will probably swoon over, and heroine who knows what she wants.  It is weird, though, because some of the things I hated about Twinkle were things I loved about Dimple, but chances are, if you don’t like Dimple (the character) you probably won’t like Twinkle.  Unless you’re weird like I am.

I didn’t particularly about the romance in this one, which turns out to be a love square.  I didn’t particularly care about Neil being interested in Twinkle, and for some reason, I thought the emails were from Sahil.  They’re not, of course, but I was confused about how obvious it was that they were from him.  I was so, so wrong on that, and I don’t know why I didn’t connect it before.  I did find myself skimming over the texts and emails so maybe that’s why I didn’t connect everything.

At any rate, this book wasn’t for me.  Her books do sound really cool, so this one isn’t going to stop me from picking up her books in the future but I may be more hesitant going forward.

2 stars.  From Twinkle, With Love was okay, and I had a hard time getting into the book.  It was light-hearted and fun, but formatting and a heroine that was frustrating to read made it hard to like the book.