Book Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean – Jenny Han

Title: Always and Forever, Lara Jean (2017)
Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Book 3
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 336 pages
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads Description

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

Review

I admit, I was kind of ambivalent when I first found out that Lara Jean was getting a third, previously unplanned book. I felt like we’ve got pretty much everything we could from P.S. I Still Love You and wasn’t sure if another book is necessary. As it turns out, however, there’s something lovely about watching your protagonist grow up… which is exactly what Always and Forever, Lara Jean is all about.

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Book Review: You’re Welcome, Universe – Whitney Gardner

Title: You’re Welcome, Universe (2017)
Author: Whitney Gardner
Publisher: Knopf Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 304 pages
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads Description

When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural.

Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a “mainstream” school in the suburbs, where she’s treated like an outcast as the only deaf student. The last thing she has left is her art, and not even Banksy himself could convince her to give that up.

Out in the ’burbs, Julia paints anywhere she can, eager to claim some turf of her own. But Julia soon learns that she might not be the only vandal in town. Someone is adding to her tags, making them better, showing off—and showing Julia up in the process. She expected her art might get painted over by cops. But she never imagined getting dragged into a full-blown graffiti war.

Review

You’re Welcome, Universe is the story of  Julia, a Deaf Indian girl who has been kicked out from her Deaf school and must now go to a “mainstream” school. If that’s not interesting enough, Julia has a passion for graffiti tagging and goes by the name ‘HERE’ both on her art and online in internet forums. It’s a cute, fun novel, and it’s even got hand-drawn illustrations done by the author herself. 🎨

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Book Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks – Emily Barr

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Title: The One Memory of Flora Banks (2017)
Author: Emily Barr
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 320 pages
Release Date: January 12, 2017
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads Description

Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories.

That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again.

So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.

Review

So… I wanted to read this book because I not-so-recently watched Finding Dory, where the ever-forgetful Dory searches for her parents. The blurb for The One Memory of Flora Banks reminds me of that, except with this, we get to be inside the amnesiac’s mind instead of watching her as she embarks on a life-changing journey. It’s an interesting premise for sure.

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Book Review: Twisted Palace – Erin Watt

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Title: Twisted Palace (2016)
Series: The Royals – Book 3
Author: Erin Watt (Elle Kennedy, Jen Frederick)
Publisher: Everafter Romance
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 370 pages
Release Date: October 17, 2016
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads Description

Ella Harper has met every challenge that life has thrown her way. She’s tough, resilient, and willing to do whatever it takes to defend the people she loves, but the challenge of a long-lost father and a boyfriend whose life is on the line might be too much for even Ella to overcome.

Reed Royal has a quick temper and even faster fists. But his tendency to meet every obstacle with violence has finally caught up with him. If he wants to save himself and the girl he loves, he’ll need to rise above his tortured past and tarnished reputation.

No one believes Ella can survive the Royals. Everyone is sure Reed will destroy them all. They may be right.

With everything and everyone conspiring to keep them apart, Ella and Reed must find a way to beat the law, save their families, and unravel all the secrets in their Twisted Palace.

Review

So… The Royals is one of those New Adult series that I actually follow quite closely. I read the first two books in two days, thought they were super addictive, and couldn’t wait to get into this one, especially because of that deadly cliffhanger at the end of Broken Prince. This review will contain spoilers for both Paper Princess and Broken Prince, so please tread with caution. 🙂

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Book Review: Something in Between – Melissa de la Cruz

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Title: Something in Between (2016)
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 384 pages
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads Description

Jasmine de los Santos has always done what’s expected of her. Pretty and popular, she’s studied hard, made her Filipino immigrant parents proud and is ready to reap the rewards in the form of a full college scholarship.

And then everything shatters. A national scholar award invitation compels her parents to reveal the truth: their visas expired years ago. Her entire family is illegal. That means no scholarships, maybe no college at all and the very real threat of deportation.

For the first time, Jasmine rebels, trying all those teen things she never had time for in the past. Even as she’s trying to make sense of her new world, it’s turned upside down by Royce Blakely, the charming son of a high-ranking congressman. Jasmine no longer has any idea where—or if—she fits into the American Dream. All she knows is that she’s not giving up. Because when the rules you lived by no longer apply, the only thing to do is make up your own.

Review

Somewhere in Between was originally on my TBR because of its very cute, summery cover, but once I read the blurb I knew I had to fast-track it. This book surprised me with its unexpected depth and exploration of very relevant issues! In a way, it kind of reminds me of Randa Abdel-Fattah’s When Michael Met Mina, though both books deal with the immigrant story in very, very different ways.

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