Always and Forever, Lara Jean Review

always and forever lara jean

I will love this book always and forever.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean concludes Jenny Han’s contemporary series, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. In the final installment, Lara Jean’s senior year is coming to a close. Lara Jean has everything planned out from her prom dress to her college plans. However, an unexpected event takes place that threatens all of Lara Jean’s plans.

When it comes to the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series, I’ve had mixed thoughts. I really loved the first book, but wasn’t crazy about a lot of the second book. I’m happy to say that I really loved Always and Forever, Lara Jean and it may be my favorite book in the series!

One of my favorite parts of this book is the main character, Lara Jean. To me, Lara Jean really stands out among many other young adult main characters. Right now, it’s very “in” to have a gritty female protagonist with characteristics considered typically masculine. Even though I love those main characters and recognize their importance, it’s refreshing to see a more traditionally feminine character who is equally a strong role model. I love how Lara Jean is apologetically herself, even if other characters see her as a grandma. Especially in this book, Lara Jean makes tough decisions that are similar to readers in this book’s target audience. I think Lara Jean serves as a great role model to readers and I really appreciate the depth that Jenny Han gave her.

Another reason I loved this book was how it realistically dealt with problems that every senior year in high school faces. I know if I read this book my senior year of high school, I would have related to most of the struggles that Lara Jean faced. I also appreciated that the solution to every one of Lara Jean’s problems never came easy and every decision forced her character to grow throughout the novel. Additionally, all the relationships between the characters grew and changed. As a result, this novel was very character-driven.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean also wraps up the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series nicely. My biggest problem with the second book in this series was I felt that two many new story lines were thrown in at the end of the novel, which made the reolution seemed rushed. This was not the case in this book. I loved seeing Lara Jean’s father marry Ms. Rothschild, Kitty grow up, and the various directions that Lara Jean’s high school friends headed. Even the side characters, like John Ambrose McClaren, are given resolutions which neatly wraps up all of the plots throughout the series.

Overall, Always and Forever, Lara Jean is an outstanding conclusion to the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series. For its realistic problems, character growth, and solid resolutions, I give this book five out of five stars.


By Your Side Book Review

by your side

When it comes to my favorite Kasie West books, By Your Side definitely sits off to the side.

In By Your Side by Kasie West, Autumn Collins finds herself trapped in a library over a holiday weekend during a snowstorm. Autumn quickly learns that she isn’t alone and is trapped in the library with the school’s notorious bad boy, Dax Miller. Little does Autumn know, nothing will be the same after that weekend in the library.

I became a huge fan of Kasie West earlier this year and was so excited once I read the plot of this book. While this book wasn’t exactly what I expected and didn’t meet all of my expectations, it was a cute and quick read that I still enjoyed. In terms of all the Kasie West books that I’ve read, I would say this book falls somewhere in the middle because it contains aspects about her books that I love, but also aspects that I find need improvement in her books.

I think one of the most successful aspects of this book are the two main characters, Autumn and Dax. I like how Autumn already possesses a solid group of friends all with unique personalities which I find fairly uncommon in young adult literature. Autumn also struggles with an anxiety disorder, which is relatable to many readers, and plays a significant role in the plot. With Dax, I appreciated how Kasie West gave him a little more depth than some of her other male characters. In On The Fence, I liked how Braden had a darker back story, but wish Kasie West explored it more. Fortunately in this book, readers get a more well-rounded view of Dax and his backstory.

One aspects of this book that I thought could be improved was the pacing and plot. From the book’s description, I assumed this book primarily took place in the library. However, Autumn and Dax escape around halfway through the book. For the next 25% of the book, it didn’t seem like much happened and the plot kept moving around in circles. Although Kasie West is known for playing on a lot of cliches in her books, but twisting them into her own ideas, a lot of this portion of the book felt a little too generic and bland to me. Luckily, the book picked up again in the last quarter of the book.

Overall, By Your Side is a cute, but predictable book that is perfect for readers going back to school. While there were some aspects about this book that I really enjoyed, there were others that I felt could use improvement to make this book a more solid and cohesive read. Still, I enjoyed this book and give it four out of five stars.

Sophomore Year is Greek to Me Review

sophomore year is greek to me

I’m g(r)eeking out over this fun young adult read.

Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin follows Zona Lowell, an aspiring high school journalist, who is forced to move with her father to Greece. While her father finishes up a novel on the current affairs in Greece, Zona must adapt to a new school in Greece and meet the family who shunned her mother after she left the country.

Sophomore Year is Greek to Me was suggested to me by Goodreads. I had read one other book by Meredith Zeitlin and thought it was okay, but this book sounded like something I would enjoy so I added it to my Want to Read section. Luckily, my sister found it a few weeks later for only $1 at Dollar Tree! Even though Sophomore Year is Greek to Me wasn’t everything I expected it to be, I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would.

I think the best part of this novel is the realistic portrayal of Greece and its culture. When Zona first arrives in Greece, she mainly concentrates on the country’s financial struggle. As the story goes on, Zona learns more about the attitudes of people in Greece, their customs, and more about the specific areas. My favorite part of the novel is when Zona travels to Crete and interacts with her mother’s family. The author seamlessly blends teaching the reader about the culture with the book’s story line.

I also really loved how the author focused more on Zona experiencing Greece and meeting her family that focusing on a love interest or drama at school. Although those issues do arise in the book, they are not a significant portion of the novel. Since Zona only lives in Greece for a short time, it was nice to see that the author focused more on other aspects of the novel. In this novel, family plays a large role and the author does a good job of highlighting how the cultures shapes different family member’s attitudes and relationships with Zona.

My only complaint about this book would be the pacing. While there needs to be some build up before Zona travels to Greece, I felt like it spans way too many chapters. I felt like I zoomed through the first several chapters of the novel because it told information that I already knew from the book’s description. Additionally, I was also slightly bored by the chapters of Zona in her new school. Zona never really struggled to adapt to her new school and I felt her experiences there never added anything to the novel.

Overall, I really enjoyed Sophomore Year is Greek to Me and think it is a great end of summer/start of a new school year book. Since the setting and family-focused plot stood out among other contemporaries to me, I give this book four out of five stars.

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.