#ThrowbackThursday: My Favorite High School/College Back-to-School Books

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve discussed my favorite elementary back-to-school books and my favorite middle school back-to-school books. This week, I’m discussing my favorite high school and college back-to-school books. High school and college back-to-school books involve new classes, new friends, and new relationships. Here are some of my old and new favorite high school and college books (any book with a review will be linked to the title):

P.S. I Like You

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West follows Lily, a high school student stuck in chemistry class. When Lily scribbles song lyrics on a desk and someone responds, she starts a secret pen pal relationship. Kasie West’s books always remind me of my favorite high school movies and I recommend this book for anyone looking for a lighthearted and fun read.

  • Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Just Listen

In Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, Annabel returns to school in the fall after a breakup with her best friend earlier that year and an event that changed her life forever. Just Listen is a well-written book with a memorable story and characters. I recommend this book for anyone looking for a deep young adult novel with a powerful message.

  • Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Catching Jordan

What is high school without Friday night football? In Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally, Jordan is the starting quarterback for her high school football team and determined to play football in college. However, when a new (and very cute) quarterback joins the team, her plans are derailed. This is one of my favorite books in Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks series so far because Jordan’s voice and high school experience is so authentic. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a young adult books that mixes sports and romance.

  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl

On this list, Fangirl is the only book that takes place in college. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowelll follows Cath as she starts her freshman year of college and finishes her fanfiction novel before the release of the last book in her favorite series. Fangirl is a fun book that also deals with serious themes and topics. I recommend this book to any fangirl or person starting college!

Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me

Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin follows Zona Lowell, an American teenager whose life is uprooted when her father moves her to Greece for her sophomore year of high school. In Greece, Zona connects with her mother’s family that she’s never met. Sophomore Year is Greek to Me is the perfect book if you’re looking for a high school book that focuses on another college and emphasizes family over a relationship!

 

What is your favorite high school back-to-school book?

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On the Fence Review

on the fence

On the Fence is the first Kasie West book that leaves me on the fence.

On the Fence follows tomboy Charlotte “Charlie” Reynolds who is forced into working at a girly boutique to pay off her expensive speeding tickets. With four brothers and an athletic neighbor, Charlie has always been just one of the guys. One night, when Charlie isn’t able to sleep after nightmares about her mother’s death, she ventures out to the fence. There, she starts midnight talks with her neighbor and wonders if they could be something more.

I started reading Kasie West’s books at the tail end of last year and I immediately fell in love with her easy writing style and fun plots. While On the Fence definitely fits in those categories, it’s my least favorite of the books that I’ve read by her. While all of Kasie West’s books lean towards the stereotypical side, this one seemed the most unoriginal and I never felt incredibly invested in the characters. That being said, I still enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick summer read.

One aspect of this book that I really appreciated was the main character, Charlie. Many of Kasie West’s other characters are traditionally girly, but Charlie doesn’t really fit that mold. However, I also appreciated that Kasie West emphasized that even though Charlie’s interests are “traditionally girly,” girls can still play tackle football, know more about baseball than guys, and be interested in movies other than romantic comedies. It made me happy that Charlie’s inner monologue questioned this whenever a male character stated otherwise. Additionally, I liked how Kasie West showcased through Charlie’s experiences at the store that girls with many different interests can still be friends and support each other rather than tear each other down.

Another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed in this book was staying true to yourself. Charlie struggled a lot with her mother’s death and who she was as a person throughout the novel which is relatable to many readers. When Charlie takes the job at the store, she lies about her mother’s death in order to avoid people treating her a certain way. She also dates a guy in the novel, who even though he’s not a bad guy, makes her feel like she can’t really be herself. I liked how Kasie West resolved these issues in the novel and sent a good message to readers.

As for the romance in this book, it reminded of a lot of other books I read and doesn’t really stand out compared to the relationships featured in Kasie West’s other books to me. Braden is a nice guy who likes Charlie exactly the way she is which is a definitely plus. He also had family issues which were hinted at throughout the novel, but were really never explored in too much depth. While Braden and Charlie were cute and I was happy when they got together, it just didn’t have the spark to make it particularly memorable.

On the Fence is one of those books that I finished in one sitting because it was easy and fun to read. This isn’t the most earth-shattering books, but it is perfect if you want something light-hearted that will leave you smiling. I give On the Fence three out of five stars.

 

July Reading Wrap-Up

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July always seems to be a great reading month for me and this July was no exception! This July I read eighteen books and finally pushed ahead to be ahead of schedule for my yearly reading goal. Here are the books that I read during July (any books with reviews will be linked to the title):

  • Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin (★ ★ ★ ★)

Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me

Milk and Honey

  • By Your Side by Kasie West (★ ★ ★ ★)

By Your Side

Wanderlost

  • L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad (★ ★ ★)

L.A. Candy (L.A. Candy, #1)

  • The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski (★ ★)

The Summer After You and Me

  • Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3)

  • Geekerella by Ashley Poston (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

Geekerella

  • Stars Above by Marissa Meyer (★ ★ ★ ★)

Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles, #4.5)

  • Wires and Nerve, Volume One by Marissa Meyer (★ ★ ★ ★)

Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerves, #1)

  • The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han (★ ★ ★)

The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1)

  • Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia (★ ★ ★)

Eliza and Her Monsters

  • The Heir by Kiera Cass (★ ★ ★ ★)

The Heir (The Selection, #4)

  • The Crown by Kiera Cass (★ ★)

The Crown by Kiera Cass

  • My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak (★ ★)

My Life with the Walter Boys

Re-reads:

The Truth About Forever

  • How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski (★ ★ ★)

How My Summer Went Up in Flames

  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

Fangirl

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books that I’ve Read in 2017 (so far)

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is the top ten books that you’ve read in 2017 (so far). So far, I’ve completed 32 out of 75 books in my Goodreads challenge which is three books behind schedule. That’s okay because most of the books that I’ve read so far this year have been great! Here’s the ten that are the best of the best:

The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3)

This book is hands down my favorite book of the year so far. It was the perfect conclusion to my favorite series of all time. The action, the war strategy, and the romance were absolutely perfect. Besides one minor plot point at the beginning, I wouldn’t change a thing about this book! Just thinking about this book makes me want to reread the entire series.

The Fill-In Boyfriend

Kasie West’s books always leave me with a smile on my face and this book was no exception. This was one of the first fun book that I read since Christmas break, so it really got me back into reading for this summer!

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)

The Lunar Chronicles is another series dear to my heart, so the last book was definitely a special one for me! Even though there were aspects of this book that I think could have been more impactful, it was an overall satisfying end to the series. I’m reallu missing the characters from this series!

The Sun Is Also a Star

I was definitely surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! When I first started reading it, I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style and I didn’t really relate to main character’s personality. However, I am glad that I pushed through because the message of this book was very impactful.

P.S. I Like You

Out of all the Kasie West books that I’ve read, this is definitely filled with the most tropes and stereotypical characters. However, this book reminded me of all my favorite high school movies. I could not put this book down and it really made me happy.

  • Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin 

Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf, #1)

This book had me hooked from the first page. I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel! This book will be one that I recommend to everyone that I know. It reminds me of The Hunger Games–it is a fast-paced book that will be well loved by many types of readers!

Once and for All

Sarah Dessen was one of my favorite authors in high school so I was thrilled to read her latest release. Although Once and For All isn’t my favorite book by Sarah Dessen, it was still an enjoyable read that brought me back to high school. It’s the perfect book to read before a summer wedding!

  • Red Thread Sisters by Carol Antoinette Peacock

Red Thread Sisters

I found this book at my library’s book store last year because it sounded really interesting and like it could give a lot of insight on children adopted from China. Since the book’s author went through this process when adopting her own children, this book was incredibly realistic and at times, heartbreaking. This is such a great underrated story!

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give

This book gives a lot of insight into current social issues and is a great read for anybody, not just young adults. I think this book had the perfect blend of a story line and message and will really anyone who reads it!

  • The Selection (books #1-3) by Kiera Cass

The Selection (The Selection, #1)

The Selection was the perfect series to read as The Bachelorette started up. Each book in the series was a quick and easy read. Even if the books didn’t have much substance, they were fun to read and had me hooked.

 

What are the best books that you’ve read this year?

P.S. I Like You Review

ps i like youP.S. I really like this book.

In P.S. I Like You by Kasie West, Lily is caught daydreaming in Chemistry class and is banned from using her notebook during class. To not completely die of boredom, Lily resorts to writing song lyrics on her desk. Much to her surprise, someone responds. Lily quickly befriends her new pen pal, however, it may not be the person that she expects.

I think that people will either love or hate P.S. I Like You. The best way that I can describe this book is your typical high school romantic comedy. If you are looking for something extremely deep and original, then this book probably isn’t for you. However, if you are a huge fan of high school rom-com classics, like A Cinderella Story, then you will love this book.

One of the main reasons that I like Kasie West’s books is that I feel like I can relate to the characters, even if I haven’t necessarily been in their situation. For example, I was never like Gia from The Fill-In Boyfriend, but I really identified with how she felt throughout the book. Similar Lilly in this book, even though I’m not a songwriter or into really obscure bands, I really identified with her character. Lilly is introverted, slightly awkward, and makes jokes that no one else thinks is funny which resonates well with this book’s target audience.

I also really enjoyed this book because it was very fun to read. Even though this book is littered with tropes, it made me really happy to read and I found myself smiling throughout the entire book. Since it was so light and fluffy, I couldn’t put it down and finished the book in a few hours. Even though this book isn’t necessarily earth-shattering, I think it is a great book to read during the summer or if you want to take a break between books with more “serious” themes.

Overall, P.S. I Like You is a fun book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading and definitely want to read again. Even though it isn’t necessarily the most deep or original book, it hooked me in and I couldn’t put it down. I rate P.S. I Like You with five out of five stars.

June TBR Pile

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Even though I don’t usually make TBR lists since I typically pick up whatever book I feel like reading, there are a few books that I definitely want to read this month. Currently, I’m four books behind on my reading goal, so hopefully I can catch up with some great books in June! Here are five books that I plan to read in June:

  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

I recently read The Sun is Also a Star and loved it, so I’m really excited to read Everything, Everything. This is a book that I want to finish ASAP so I can go see the move in theaters!

  • Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

Once and for All

I’ve been waiting for this book ever since it was announced. Since I pre-ordered this book, I’m counting down the days until it arrives on my doorstep. Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite authors, so I know that I won’t be disappointed!

  • The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Elite (The Selection, #2)

I read The Selection last month and started a new season of The Bachelorette which has made me excited to continue with this series. I have this book on loan from my local library so I need to read this before the due date.

  • Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Open Road Summer

I purchased this book from a deal on the Kindle Store. It sounds like the perfect summer read so I can’t wait to see if it lives up to my expectations!

  • On the Fence by Kasie West

On the Fence

Kasie West is slowly becoming one of my favorite YA contemporary authors. I know this will be a light and fluffy book that will be a fun way to start my summer reading!

 

What books do you plan to read in June?

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books for the Second Half of 2017

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is most anticipated books for the second half of 2017. After looking at my TBR list, most of the books that I want to read actually were released today or will be released within the next few weeks! Here are my choices:

  • Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

Once and for All

Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite authors of all time. I’ve been waiting to read this ever since it has been announced! I pre-ordered this book awhile ago, so now all I need to do is wait for it to arrive in the mail.

  • Lucky in Love by Kasie West

Lucky in Love

I just started reading Kasie West’s books this year and I love them! Not only is the cover of this book adorable, but the plot also seems really cute. I know this book will leave me smiling.

  • One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying

I read the summary for this book awhile ago and was immediately interested. I’m so excited for the chance to finally read it!

  • When It’s Real by Erin Watt

When It's Real

I’ve heard a lot about Erin Watt’s other books, but the plot didn’t really seem up my alley. This book’s plot definitely seems like something I would enjoy, so I want to give this one a try! Plus, the cover is really cute.

  • I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

I Believe in a Thing Called Love

This book reminds me of a mix of To All the Boys I Loved Before and Jane the Virgin. Since, I love both of those, I’m really anticipating this read! Like a few of the other books on this list, the cover also pulls me in!

  • Romancing the Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney

Romancing the Throne

England? A prince? This book definitely has a lot of potential! I’m a bit iffy on the sister rivalry, but I’ve been anticipating on how it plays out in the book.

  • Kale, My Ex, and Other Things to Toss in a Blender by Lisa Greenwald

Kale, My Ex, and Other Things to Toss in a Blender

This book sounds like it has a lot of ideas which could be really great or not my cup of tea (or should I say, smoothie?). Either way it sounds interesting enough that I want to give it a read!

  • Internet Famous by Danika Stone

Internet Famous

This books has such a cute cover and plot! I’m always interested to see how social media plays a role in young adult books, so I’m exciting to see how this book uses it.

  • Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger

Follow Me Back (Follow Me Back, #1)

I’ve seen a lot of books originally written on Wattpad, but haven’t picked one up yet! This book sounds really interesting and I’m interested to see the role that social media plays in this book.

  • Coming Up For Air by Miranda Kenneally 

Coming Up for Air

I actually read an eARC of this book and had mixed feelings. I can’t wait for this book to be released to see other people’s opinions!

 

What are your most anticipated books for the second half of the year?

 

The Fill-In Boyfriend Review

the fill in boyfriend

I fill in five stars for The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West.

The Fill-In Boyfriend focuses on Gia Montgomery, a popular girl whose boyfriend dumps her in the parking lot before prom. To not disappoint her friends, Gia finds a boy to pose as her ex-boyfriend, Bradley. To return the favor, Gia poses as fake Bradley’s girlfriend at his exes graduation party. Soon, Gia’s lies start to catch up with her and threaten to ruin her perfect life.

I’ve read one Kasie West book in the past, The Distance Between Us, and enjoyed it. Then, I saw The Fill-In Boyfriend as a Kindle deal and quickly purchased it. After reading a few negatives reviews about not liking the main character or story line, I was afraid that I wouldn’t enjoy this book as much as The Distance Between Us. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised and liked this book even more than The Distance Between Us!

I think one of the main reasons people dislike this book is the main character, Gia. When readers first meet Gia, she is incredibly shallow and willing to lie in order to protect her reputation. However, as the book goes on, Gia really tries to be a better person. Obviously, Gia struggles with maintaining her image and doing what is right, so she doesn’t always do the right thing. However, I loved seeing her change throughout the book and think she becomes a more likable character at the end of the novel.

I also really enjoyed the side characters in this book. Gia’s “friends” are very similar to people that I remember in high school. I liked how Bec, a girl strikingly different than Gia’s usual crowd, helped Gia overlook stereotypes but also learned to overlook them herself. I also really appreciated how the author portrayed Gia’s family and how it influenced the person she became. Gia’s parents are very emotionally unavailable and are complete perfectionists. I think many people could relate Gia’s family dynamics.

As for the romance, I think Gia and Hayden were a cute couple and I enjoyed reading more about their relationship more than Caymen and Xander in The Distance Between Us. I liked how even though they were very different people, they both experienced similar situations that they bonded over. Gia and Hayden had a lot of cute couple experiences and phrases which will help them remember me in a sea of YA contemporary romances.

The Fill-In Boyfriend was a cute book that I breezed through in one sitting. After reading this book, I definitely plan on picking up for Kasie West books in the future. I give The Fill-In Boyfriend five out of five stars.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: My Reading Wishlist

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is what is on your wish list to see more in books, however, I decided to take a different spin on the topic. Since I started my book blog, I have added a lot of books to my to be read pile. Here are the top ten books on my reading wish list:

  1. Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

Once and for All

Sarah Dessen has been one of my favorite young adult authors since high school. I was so excited when I found out she was releasing another book! I actually already pre-ordered this book and I am waiting patiently (maybe not so patiently) until its release date.

 

  1. Lucky in Love by Kasie West

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Kasie West is quickly becoming an auto-buy author for me. After seeing so many people in the bookish community raving about her books, I decided to read her books and was not disappointed. I’m such a fan on Kasie West’s books because they remind me of my favorite high school movies. Lucky in Love definitely has that feel so I’m looking forward to reading it!

 

  1. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3)

Even though I wasn’t the hugest fan of the second book in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series, I definitely want to read this book. I love reading cute and fluffy books, so this book is definitely high on my reading wishlist.

 

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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I’ve heard nothing but positive things about this book, so I’m really excited to read it! I placed a hold on this book at my local library, so like with Once and For All, I’m not-so-patiently waiting for my chance to read it.

 

  1. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Open Road Summer

I saw this book in the Kindle Monthly Deals section. It sounded like a fun and cute summer story, so I bought it! I’m saving this book for the summer and I can’t wait to move it from my to be read to read list on Goodreads.

 

  1. On the Fence by Kasie West

On the Fence

This is another book that I’ve already purchased, but can’t wait to read! This book will probably be taken off my reading wish list the soonest. Since I’m student teaching and don’t have any finals this semester, I plan to read it during finals week!

 

  1. Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman

Girl Out of Water

The plot of this book reminds me of Sarah Dessen, so it earned a spot on my reading wish list. This seems like the perfect book to read during the summer, so I need to get my hands on it ASAP.

 

  1. I Believe in a Thing called Love by Maurene Goo

I Believe in a Thing Called Love

I’ve heard that this book is a great rom-com, since rom-coms are some of my favorite reads, it has a spot on my reading wish list!

 

  1. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything
I just read The Sun is Also a Star and absolutely LOVED it. With the trailer for this movie always popping up on Youtube, I really have been wanting to read this book (even if the ending was spoiled for me)!

 

  1. Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Geekerella

Geekerella sounds like a super cute book with a fun twist on the classic Cinderella story. Hopefully, I have a book fairy godmother to take this off my reading wish list! 

 

What books are on your reading wish list?

 

 

April Wrap-Up

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With Easter break this past month, I finally had some free time to read books for fun! Here are all the books that I read in April. Any book with a review will be linked to the book’s title:

Icing on the Lake by Catherine Clark (★ ★ ★)

Icing on the Lake

Snowed In by Rachel Hawthorne (★ ★)

Snowed In

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

The Fill-In Boyfriend

The Test: Junior Lifeguards by Elizabeth Doyle Carey (★ ★ ★ ★)

The Test: Junior Lifeguards