Review: The Unexpected Everything

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The Unexpected Everything by: Morgan Matson

My Rating: 3 Stars

Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?

Beware spoilers ahead!

The Unexpected Everything was recommended to me by my dear friend on GR Mith! Click on her name to read her review. At the time this was coming out I’d already read Matson’s contemporary books. Of course when I heard about The Unexpected Everything I added it to my TBR. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

I read The Unexpected Everything back in June 2016. I don’t really remember a majority of the details that well. Andie’s fathers campaign has a money scandal. Due to this she can’t participate in her internship program. As that was lined up using her father’s connections. Instead Andie meets Clark and applies for a dog walking job.

I liked The Unexpected Everything! Objectively speaking this is Matson’s best work. The Unexpected Everything is written in first person following Andy’s point of view. There are text messages that have emoji’s, books quotes, and flashbacks.

The dogs were so much fun to read about! Each dog had his/her own personality. Andie’s job is quite rare in YA. Initially Andie didn’t enjoy the job. She grew to love all the dogs and the job itself.

The friendship was amazing! Andie and her friends were so close. They all supported each other. It’s really nice to read a YA contemporary without all the girl-hate. The drama that does happen was realistic and handled well. I like to think that Tody and Bri do make-up.

Andie and her father’s relationship is complicated. When Andie was young her mother passed away. Since then her and her father have been distant and barely communicate with one-another. Throughout The Unexpected Everything Andie and her father mend their relationship. It was absolutely beautiful! If you’ve read any of Matson’s books you’ll that she seems to have a love-hate relationship with the fathers in her books. This is evident in Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer. Matson redeemed that in this book.

Andie and Clark’s relationship was so cute! They have sort of an insta-attraction when they meet. Initially the relationship didn’t seem likely to workout due to how guarded Andie is. They got an opportunity to open up to each other and that definitely helped. They each grow from their relationship.

Andie comes to appreciate her father more based on Clark’s relationship with his father. I especially enjoyed reading about Clark’s relationship with Andie’s friends. My favourite was Clark’s relationship with Andie’s father. Also Clark is the author behind those quotes throughout the book. I didn’t know this in the beginning so I actually tried looking up his name on google.

Andie was actually frustrating to read about in the beginning. She was very guarded when it came to her relationships. Specifically of the romance kind. Andie also likes to be in control of everything. Which does lead to the major conflict. Through her relationships with her friends, Clark, her co-workers, and her father Andie begins to open up more. This causes her to come to some realizations about herself. 

This is going to get a bit personal so here goes. I saw a lot of myself in Andie. I too like to be prepared and in control of most situations. Once I came to this realization I took a break from blogging. I wasn’t happy that my life had pretty much become about books. I felt way too much pressure about reviewing and how many books I would read in a month. No one else put that pressure on me. I did that to myself. It was a much needed break. And now I’ve come back happy. 

My only problem was that sometimes it dragged. Honestly there were times while reading that I wanted to sleep. I couldn’t rate it higher because I didn’t love it. While I can acknowledge that it is Matson’s best book, it’s just not my favourite.

Overall I enjoyed The Unexpected Everything! I highly recommend it. 

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Review: Can You Keep a Secret?

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Can You Keep a Secret? by: Sophie Kinsella

My Rating: 5 Stars

Meet Emma Corrigan, a young woman with a huge heart, an irrepressible spirit, and a few little secrets:

Secrets from her boyfriend:
I’ve always thought Connor looks a bit like Ken. As in Barbie and Ken.

Secrets from her mother: I lost my virginity in the spare bedroom with Danny Nussbaum while Mum and Dad were downstairs watching Ben-Hur.

Secrets she wouldn’t share with anyone in the world: I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is.

Until she spills them all to a handsome stranger on a plane. At least, she thought he was a stranger.…Until Emma comes face-to-face with Jack Harper, the company’s elusive CEO, a man who knows every single humiliating detail about her…

Beware spoilers ahead!

I have been a fan of Kinsella’s since Finding Audrey. Naturally I went through all of her books and tried to decide which one to read. Can You Keep a Secret? stood out the most. I am happy to say that I loved it!

Emma has gone to represent her company Panther Cooperation in a meeting. As per Kinsella books the meeting turns into a disaster whilst Emma spilling a product on one of the other company’s worker. Emma goes back in a bad mood and has quite a bit to drink.

The plane she is on experiences turbulence. Out of panic (and she’s drunk) Emma tells all her secrets to another passenger. All’s fine until Emma goes to work on Monday to find out that the passenger is the CEO of Panther Cooperation.

Can You Keep a Secret? was so funny and relatable! The writing tense is in first person all from Emma’s point of view. There are numbers for the chapters. As well as emails and notes. 

I related to a lot of Emma’s work woes. It’s really hard to prove yourself in a workplace that doesn’t appreciate you. Emma’s co-workers like Artemis reminded me off some of my co-workers. There’s always that one person that’s just fake. On the bright side Katie was fun to read about! She was actually really sweet and a good friend to Emma.

Emma lived in an apartment with two flatmates. Lissy and Jemima. Lissy has been Emma’s best friend since they were 7. Lissy and Emma constantly support each other throughout Can You Keep a Secret? There friendship was absolutely adorable! I’m a bit conflicted about Jemima. She definitely thought she was helping. But Jemima’s suggestions were terrible. And didn’t really make sense. I do have to give Jemima props for trying to help.

Emma’s family play a huge part in Can You Keep a Secret? Emma feels that she’s disappointed her parents. Her cousin Kerry always tries (and succeeds) to one up Emma. Nev (Kerry’s husband) also pokes at Emma about her career changes. Emma is able to sort everything out with her family.

Prior to Can You Keep a Secret? Emma begins dating a co-worker named Connor. Connor works in another division at Panther Cooperation. During the plane ride Emma realizes that she doesn’t really have feelings for Connor anymore. Emma is in denial about this. She breaks up with him much later on.

I personally found Connor to be annoying! Emma asks Connor to keep their break-up to himself for the time being. Seeing as they work together. Instead at a party (while drunk) announces their break-up. Their office blames the whole situation on Emma as she is the one to dump him. And he doesn’t even apologize! It didn’t help that the co-workers didn’t bother to see it from Emma’ point of view.

Connor also tries multiple times to confront Emma about who she is dating. He acts like a martyr and always has a way of patronizing Emma. I also found him to be totally inconsiderate. To try and look professional during a staff meeting Connor shuts down Emma’s point. Just because Jack Harper was present. I honestly don’t understand why Emma blamed herself for everything. Connor has a brain too. He can realize himself that not all women keep secrets.

As far as Emma’s secrets go I didn’t find them that bad. Some of them were really dumb while the others hilarious! What was troubling is how easy it was for Emma to lie. And she did so constantly. Emma did develop and started actually admitting the truth. She even started to stand up for herself! Emma stood up to Kerry and Paul (her boss). I especially liked how she handled Paul. And in the end it paid off as she got promoted.

I really liked Emma and Jack’s relationship! When Jack appears in at the Panther Cooperation, he spends quite a bit of time poking fun at Emma’s secrets. It was honestly so assuming! Through their relationship they grew. Jack learned to become more open. And Emma learned to stand up for herself and be honest. They made a really good couple. Also Jack’s actually American. Can You Keep a Secret? takes place in London.

I didn’t have any problems. Expect for Connor but I think it was well handled. And blissfully she broke up with him early enough. 

Overall I loved Can You Keep a Secret?! I highly recommend it.     

Review: Chaotic Good

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Chaotic Good by: Whitney Gardner

My Rating: 3 Stars

Cameron’s cosplay–dressing like a fictional character–is finally starting to earn her attention–attention she hopes to use to get into the CalTech costume department for college. But when she wins a major competition, she inadvertently sets off a firestorm of angry comments from male fans.

When Cameron’s family moves the summer before her senior year, she hopes to complete her costume portfolio in peace and quiet away from the abuse. Unfortunately, the only comic shop in town–her main destination for character reference–is staffed by a dudebro owner who challenges every woman who comes into the shop.

At her twin brother’s suggestion, Cameron borrows a set of his clothes and uses her costuming expertise to waltz into the shop as Boy Cameron, where she’s shocked at how easily she’s accepted into the nerd inner sanctum. Soon, Cameron finds herself drafted into a D&D campaign alongside the jerky shop-owner Brody, friendly (almost flirtatiously so) clerk Wyatt, handsome Lincoln, and her bro Cooper, dragged along for good measure.

But as her “secret identity” gets more and more entrenched, Cameron’s portfolio falls by the wayside–and her feelings for Lincoln threaten to make a complicated situation even more precarious.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: Cyber bullying

I heard about Chaotic Good through GR. It hasn’t really been that well advertised or talked about. The synopsis reminded me off Moxie which I read and thoroughly enjoyed. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

Cameron (Cam for short) and her family has just recently moved to Eugene. Cameron is a cosplayer and really wants to get into the university of her dreams. Chaotic Good begins with Cameron shopping in a comic shop where she is harassed by Brody. At some point Cameron gets a paid cosplay request. In order to make the costume properly Cameron has to make another trip to the comic shop. Although this time Cameron will go in as a boy.

I had fun reading Chaotic Good! It’s written in first person in Cameron’s point of view. There are chapter titles and a drawing of a dice with the chapter number. Comic strips of D and D are scattered around the book. Also there are text messages and blog posts.

I really liked all the comic references! There were so many throughout the book and it really did give the book a geeky feel. Cam’s cosplay costumes were so much fun to read about! Gardner clearly did her research. From the sewing, the fabric shopping. sewing machine terminology, Cam’s thimble collection, and to the costumes themselves. It was fantastic!

The D and D role playing was tons of fun! While I have heard of the game I didn’t know anything about it. The characters were so vivid as was the setting. The d-dice was also fun. For some reason I really like that dice. 

There was diversity! Wyatt was black and gay. And Cam’s twin brother Cooper was gay as well. Lincoln was fat. I liked how Gardner did a good job intergrating these characters into the plot without making their character arc’s only about their diversity.

I really liked Cam’s character! I totally understood and empathized with her plights. I liked how well done the idea and the act of courage was done for her story arc. Cam was nice and strong willed. But also had glaring flaws that were realistic. Her character arc definitely gave Moxie vibes and I was here for that.

I liked the relationship Cam had with her family! They were all supportive off each other. And some of their lines to each other were so funny. The twin aspect was done well. Cam and Cooper had nicknames for one another. I thought they were adorable!

The couples were cute! It was nice that Cam was actually attracted to a fat guy. Cooper and Wyatt also worked well together. The author also did a splendid job exploring unhealthy relationships. Cooper’s ex Farrin (real name is Brian) plays a huge role in his story arc. I felt that it was necessary and not just useless drama.

Cyber bullying is a main theme throughout Chaotic Good. Cam get death threats and essentially bullied simply because she’s a female cosplayer. Brody’s character plays a major role in this arc. As he believes that all females are fake and only into geeky things to get attention. I liked how as a boy Cam continuously gave it to him. It is implied that Brody does improve but it’s not really shown.

I do some have dislikes. For starters I think that Cam kept up the boy disguise far too long. To a point where Wyatt’s feelings were hurt. I do understand why she donned the disguise but it went on for an unnecessarily long time. Cooper was selfish and annoying. It felt that he turned the boy disguise situation about himself. He was definitely right and he didn’t know everything that Cam went through, but could’ve said it better. 

While the couples were cute it felt rushed. Chaotic Good is a small book that took place over the whole summer. I fell that maybe had it been longer that would’ve made a difference. Chaotic Good is supposed to be empowering for women. But I didn’t get that vibe. When it comes out that Cam is a girl and that Lincoln and Cooper knew, the only person truly blamed was Cam. Wyatt was upset for a short time at Lincoln but that’s it. This really grated on my nerves because I felt that it defeated the whole purpose of Chaotic Good.  

I really didn’t like how Wyatt and Cooper got together. Cooper glues himself to Wyatt after it comes out that Cam is a girl. He did this to cheer up Wyatt by lending him his shoulder and to also start a relationship with him. This put a bitter taste in my mouth. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t have gotten together. But I would’ve preferred another way for that to happen.

While I enjoyed Cam’s character I kind of wished we got a story arc with Brina (Brody’s crush). Brina was so brave! When she came to the comic store she didn’t freeze Brody, nor did she really care what he said to her and about her. Brina would’ve been an interesting main character.

Also it is stated that Cam and Cooper are going to be in their last year of high school after summer. Now what I don’t get it why is Cam applying for university this early? I know there are early admissions but I’m pretty sure those start later on. Could someone please clarify that in the comments? Thanks! 

Overall I enjoyed this book. I definitely recommend it to everyone. Especially if you liked Moxie.      

Review: Finding Felicity

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Finding Felicity by: Stacey Kade

My Rating: 4 Stars

Felicity meets Fangirl in this contemporary novel about a young woman who must leave behind her fantasy life—inspired by her favorite WB show from the 1990s—and create a real one at college.

Caroline Sands has never been particularly good at making friends. And her parents’ divorce and the move to Arizona three years ago didn’t help. Being the new girl is hard enough without being socially awkward too. So out of desperation and a desire to please her worried mother, Caroline invented a whole life for herself—using characters from Felicity, an old show she discovered online and fell in love with.

But now it’s time for Caroline to go off to college and she wants nothing more than to leave her old “life” behind and build something real. However, when her mother discovers the truth about her manufactured friends, she gives Caroline an ultimatum: Prove in this first semester that she can make friends of the nonfictional variety and thrive in a new environment. Otherwise, it’s back to living at home—and a lot of therapy.

Armed with nothing more than her resolve and a Felicity-inspired plan, Caroline accepts the challenge. But she soon realizes that the real world is rarely as simple as television makes it out to be. And to find a place where she truly belongs, Caroline may have to abandon her script and take the risk of being herself.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I have read Kade’s series and enjoyed them. Naturally Kade has been on my radar and I constantly keep a look out for her new releases. In 2016 Kade started writing contemporaries. Before reading Finding Felicity I was nervous, as I didn’t enjoy her previous contemporaries. I am happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Finding Felicity!

Caroline has finally graduated high school. Her mother and her celebrate by going to their favourite restaurant. Once they reach home her mother reveals a surprise party and encourages Caroline to invite her friends. Only Caroline’s ‘friends’ don’t exist. Of course Caroline has to confess to her mother. Caroline’s mother is in shock and suggests that she see a therapist.

Dr. Wegman doesn’t give Caroline a diagnosis but instead suggestions for college. Caroline sees him for the whole summer before school. He also has her make arrangements to communicate while she’s at Ashmore University. Caroline has a semester to prove that she can thrive and make real friends. Otherwise it’s game over.

I’m really happy that I enjoyed Finding Felicity! I’ve been on a roll of reading underwhelming books. Finding Felicity ended that record. As per usual the writing style was good! Finding Felicity is narrated in first person focusing on Caroline’s point of view. There were chapter numbers.

First off you don’t have to watch Felicity to read this book. Caroline explains the general plot, giving readers enough information to understand everything. I liked how there were so many tv show references! And for once I actually understood them all.

I was so happy when I heard that Finding Felicity is a YA college book! Usually book’s with college are NA. I really appreciated it. And it remained me off my college days. There was some diversity here and there! Caroline’s RA was a Pakistani muslim. And one of the counselors was half-black.

As mentioned in the synopsis Caroline took the characters from Felicity and told her mother she had ‘friends’. There is actually a specific reason Caroline chose this particular university to attend. Caroline has a crush on Liam. They went to high school together, but she couldn’t really bring herself to talk to him and Liam had a girlfriend.

Like in Felicity Caroline plans to get with Liam whom she believes is her Ben (one of the characters in Felicity). In order to accomplish this plan Caroline reinvents herself. She buys a whole new wardrobe and puts on a bubbly persona. This was obviously omitted from the synopsis because it sounds very cringey. And most people wouldn’t read it.

I’m not gonna lie when I heard about this, I was planning on canceling it. I changed my mind as I’m sure there are some girls who would carry it out Caroline’s plan in reality. Thanks to media plenty of girls believe that if they have the right wardrobe and persona, people will like them and they’ll get the guy. I liked how the author through Dr. Wegman and people in Caroline’s life address this.

Caroline doesn’t really know Liam. She’s just built up this whole image about him based on the few interactions they had in high school. And Liam was not end game. There were subtle hints throughout all their interactions that Liam wasn’t who Caroline thinks he is. I appreciated Caroline standing up for herself when it came to Liam.

In so many contemporary novels authors write their heroines with the abusive love interest. There is another romance which was very subtley hinted. I liked Del a lot better and it was cute to think of them as eventually starting a relationship. 

Caroline’s growth was so well done! She actually made some friends and was happy to be at Ashmore. She made a change in herself, without Liam. Liam was certainly a part of Caroline’s growth but not in the same magnitude as she initially thought. And minus the whole stalking Liam to college, Caroline was a pretty smart and mature girl.

I related to Caroline quite a bit. When I was growing up I didn’t have any real friends. And because of that school life sucked. I definitely had it easier because I have siblings and we’re close. I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done if I was an only child like Caroline. Lying about ‘friends’ certainly wasn’t smart but I understand why she did it. And honestly who doesn’t do stupid things from time to time?

I loved the relationship that Caroline had with her mother! Her mother cared so much about Caroline and blames a lot of Caroline’s problems on herself. Caroline previously lived in New York. Then her parents divorced and the two of them moved to Arizona. I enjoyed reading about her mother’s advice! Her mother was actually a huge part of the story and Caroline’s life. Which is another rarity in YA. Their make-up at the end was written beautifully!

I was actually quite surprised by Caroline’s roommate Lexi. Lexi was not exactly appealing in the beginning. But her character was a huge part of Caroline’s development. I enjoyed getting Lexi’s back story and reading their interactions. And through some of Caroline’s influence Lexi’s character also grew. They made such great friends!

Dr. Wegman played a huge role in Finding Felicity. Caroline refers to their therapy sessions throughout the book. And she started realizing how wrong she was, Dr. Wegman was mentioned. I really liked how their was a positive therapy rep throughout the book.

Overall I really enjoyed Finding Felicity! I recommend it for everyone as I’m sure you’ll all find something to relate to.        

Review: Busted

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Busted by: Gina Ciocca

My Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

Marisa wasn’t planning to be a snoop for hire—until she accidentally caught her best friend’s boyfriend making out with another girl. Now her reputation for sniffing out cheaters has spread all over school, and Marisa finds herself the reluctant queen of busting two-timing boys.

But when ex-frenemy Kendall asks her to spy on her boyfriend, TJ, Marisa quickly discovers the girl TJ might be falling for is Marisa herself. And worse yet? The feelings are quickly becoming mutual. Now, she’s stuck spying on a “mystery girl” and the spoken-for guy who just might be the love of her life…

Beware spoilers ahead!

I’ve had Busted in my TBR for awhile. The original pitch really spoke to me. I liked the idea of the main character going after cheating boyfriends. I was generally excited for it! I did not enjoy Busted.

You can assume that based on the synopsis that Marisa has been busting boys for awhile. That is actually not what happens. The book begins with Marisa stalking her best friend’s (Charlie) boyfriend. Perched on the back of his house, Marisa takes a picture of the guy and the other girl. Of course she goes to Charlie and shows her the picture.

From here on out Marisa has gained a reputation for catching cheating boyfriends. The plot furthers when she meets her old friend Kendall. Kendall goes to the same school as Charlie and overheard the situation with said cheating boyfriend. Kendall then enlists Marisa’s help with her ‘cheating’ boyfriend TJ.

Let me start off with saying what I liked. TJ’s character was nice to read about. Yay for nice guys! I adored Marisa’s family and her relationship with them. I was actually liked that Charlie starts to date Marisa’s brother. Charlie and Marisa’s friendship was supportive and well written! We seriously need more positive female friendships in all genres. And that would be it.

Pretty much all of my dislikes are going to have a lot of spoilers. Like the whole plot. I was honestly surprised that Marisa starts her reputation in the beginning of the book. The synopsis seemed to imply the opposite. Then I heard someone say that the initial pitch compared Busted to Veronica Mars. Marisa was no sleuth, she was just really lucky with a dose of stupid.

Marisa and TJ were in the (I think) newspaper together. So that definitely made it easier to get close to him. In the paperback synopsis it is implied that there is more than one specific type of cheating. I don’t know why this isn’t mentioned in the GR synopsis. This definitely would’ve saved a lot of readers. Including myself.

TJ was in fact not cheating on Kendall. He had broken up with her months prior to the book. Despite this he still cared for her and stayed friends. Kendall seemed to be in some sort of denial about the whole situation. Kendall and a few other classmates were actually running an underground cheating ring (tests). Fearing that TJ would find out Kendall asked for Marisa’s help. 

I do not like a ton of drama in my contemporaries. I like them comedic, relatable, and important. Busted was none of that. As someone whose been through high school I can tell you it is not this dramatic. I was actually reminded of Gossip Girl while reading this. I personally felt that there was a lot of unnecessary drama between the characters.

Onto some other issues that bothered me. Seriously I don’t understand why Marisa and TJ repeatedly forgave Kendall (in the beginning). Kendall obviously had some pride issues, held grudges for a very long time, and man does she like getting back at people. A lot of the things she did were horrible and while there were signs in the beginning, TJ and Marisa still held on.

Also unless you were Kendall and her posey you got away with everything and didn’t have any consequences. Charlie knew the girls that were bullying Kendall. And rather than do anything about it she remained silent. I know that a lot of people do this due to fear and whatnot. But Charlie had a way to stop this without anyone knowing. Her mother is a teacher at the school. All she had to do was tell her and a lot of the plot could’ve been avoided.

For the most part Charlie does get away with this as both girls decide to shift full blame on Kendall. Despite Marisa’s ex cheating on her, she certainly didn’t have many qualms of participating in cheating. Keep in mind that for a majority of Marisa and TJ’s interactions, she thinks that he’s dating Kendall. They do kiss early on as well.

Then came the website drama. Kendall set-up a website for Marisa’s services. And of course when things got bad she ruined (Kendall had the password) Marisa on said website. Thus began the prank phone calls and the trolls. Marisa’s ex was actually plot important and man was it annoying! Like was any of that drama necessary?! It took up so much of the plot. Wasted page time.

The ending is a typical dance. With apologies and everything seemingly back on track with the main characters. Marisa forgive’s her ex and starts a real relationship with TJ. Charlie is dating Marisa’s brother. Kendall and co have been exposed and are awaiting punishment. All’s well that ends well.

Overall I didn’t enjoy this book. I do not recommend.   

Review: Always and Forever Lara Jean

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Always and Forever Lara Jean by: Jenny Han

My Rating: 5 stars

Lara Jean is having the best senior year. And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.

Life couldn’t be more perfect!

At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks…until she gets some unexpected news.

Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

Beware spoilers ahead!

Lara Jean and her boyfriend Peter are in their last year in high school. Lara Jean is hoping that she’ll get into UVA. As she’ll be with Peter but also remain with her family while she’s at college. Her father’s relationship with Ms. Rothschild is going well. In fact Ms. Rothschild has become apart of the family.

Lara Jean is preparing for her classes trip to New York City, college, and the inevitable good-byes to her teachers and classmates. Unfortunately not everything goes according to Lara Jean’s plan. Throughout this book Lara Jean has to decide what she wants in life and how will she and Peter navigate their relationship.

When I heard that this book would be released I was overjoyed! This is my favourite contemporary series! I am glad to say that it was wonderful! Just like the previous books it is written in first person all in Lara Jean’s point of view. And there are chapter numbers. There are text messages, admission emails, and a letter of sorts at the end of this book.

I loved everything about this book! From the trip to New York City, the wedding, as well as Lara Jean and Chris’s spontaneous road trip to North Carolina. I especially love that in every book Lara Jean develops. There’s no reset button just growth.

Like the previous books there is such a large emphasis on family. Margot, Kitty, their father, and Lara Jean are a very close knit family. Ms. Rothschild and Peter are additions to their family. Partway in the book their father proposes to Ms. Rothschild with Lara Jean, Kitty, and Peter’s help.

Margot doesn’t quite like that Ms. Rothschild has such a huge role in their family. As she was in university for most of this book, Margot gets the shock when she sees how close her father is to Ms. Rothschild. For the majority of the book Margot has a very strained relationship with Ms. Rothschild. Margot doesn’t have a problem with Ms. Rothschild as a person, just that she didn’t expect her father to ever get married. Despite this Margot remains supportive of her father and his decisions. The two do make-up and it was beautiful!

Applying for college was a huge part of this book. All of Peter and Lara Jean’s friends are going their separate ways. The seniors all plan to have one last get-together before that happens. They have the trip to New York City, seniors week, and some plans after graduation. It was so much fun to read about, but also had a bittersweet feel to it. Kind of reminds me of my high school days. 

As foreshadowed in the synopsis Lara Jean doesn’t get accepted in UVA. This obviously puts a strain on her relationship with Peter. The two come up with another plan instead. They plan to spend their first year apart but in their second year Lara Jean will transfer to UVA.

Peter’s family is actually a huge part of this book. His father actually make’s an appearance and it attempting to get back into Peter’s life and good graces. Due to his insecurities with his father Peter felt that Lara Jean would dump him  Further proven to him when Lara Jean made a scrapbook so that he could take it to him in UVA. Peter thought that this was Lara Jean’s way of saying good-bye. The two make-up (of course) and decide to face any obstacles that come in the future together.

I was actually happy that Peter’s family life came in. And that this time it was his insecurities that drove them apart rather than his relationship with Genevieve. It has been heavily implied that Peter has many insecurities. And I have always assumed that his parent’s divorce had more of an effect on him than he implied. I felt that it was done well.

Lara Jean is really upset that she didn’t make it into UVA. She won’t get to be with her family nor will she be in school with Peter. Once Peter lays out the new plan to Lara Jean she has a purpose. Though she is very depressed and instead of meeting with her future peers (one of the those college freshmen get-together’s) Lara Jean puts all her energy into planning the wedding. Surprisingly Lara Jean gets accepted into UNC. When Lara Jean tells Chris, she (Chris) tells Lara Jean that they should go a on spontaneous road trip to North Carolina.

The road trip was a blast to read about! Chris and Lara Jean saw UNC (which was beautifully described), they meet new people, ate new food, and just had fun. Of course when the two arrive home they get into trouble. Lara Jean’s family is overjoyed that she got into UNC. Her family urge her to choose what she wants and that they’ll always support her.

Now I know that there were some people that weren’t happy when this book was announced. But I personally felt that this book was necessary. Unlike P. S. I Still Love You, Always and Forever Lara Jean felt like a conclusion book. Lara Jean has a last hora with Chris (I like to imagine that they’ll still keep up in the future), has last conversations with Lucas, John, Genevieve, and Stormy (who sadly passed away in this book), and her father gets remarried (the wedding planning and the wedding itself was awesome)Even the drama was realistic and well done. 

Overall Always and Forever Lara Jean was a beautiful conclusion to the series. I recommend this series to everyone. 

Review: Girl Out of Water

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Girl Out of Water by: Laura Silverman

Rating: 4 Stars

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.

Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC via Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review. I am also participating with the Sunday Street Team to help promote this book. I had heard about this book through GR. I liked the synopsis (mostly because of her cousins mentioned) and when I saw it on Netgalley I immediately requested it. I am happy to say that I quite liked this book!

The book begins with Anise surfing and generally enjoying her summer. Anise and her friends are looking forward to this surfing competition (I think). Anise also has a possible romance blooming with a friend of hers.

This all changes when she goes home. Her dad informs her that Aunt Jackie got into a car accident and broke her legs. Anise is in shock and concerned about her young cousins. Anise asks her father whether or not they (cousins and aunt) will be visiting this summer considering the accident. Her father then informs her that they (Anise and him) will be staying with them for the whole summer. This doesn’t sit well with Anise as she had plans this summer and doesn’t like the idea of traveling. 

Anise then informs her friends about this development via text. All of her friends spend the night together celebrating. As Anise is leaving tomorrow and she likely won’t see all of them when she comes back (some of her friends have graduated and are going to university). Anise and her father fly the next day to take care of her cousins.

Wow this book took me by surprise! I was not expecting to like it as much as I did. This book is written is first person in Anise’s point of view. There are some flashbacks here and there as well as text messages.

My favourite part about the book was without a doubt how family had such a big role in this book. There aren’t a lot of contemporaries where family is a major focus. And I really appreciated that! I felt that Aunt Jackie’s accident was handled well. Everyone’s reactions was realistic and I really felt for all of them.

I really liked Anise’s relationship with her father. They were really close. And both supported each other while Jackie was in the hospital. Anise’s mom also played a huge part of the book. Even though she didn’t actually come in. Her mom really shaped Anise as did her father.

I really enjoyed reading about her cousins! Parker and Nash were adorable as was Emily. I liked reading about their interactions with one-another. And how much they looked up to Anise and her father. Especially Emily. I liked how despite Anise struggling to comfort them and give advice, that she didn’t give up.

The romance between Anise and Lincoln was sweet. I especially loved how it didn’t take over the plot. And for once the male lead didn’t have some horrible dark past. I liked how Lincoln encouraged Anise and helped her with her cousins. I also felt that Lincoln having one arm was handled well. And it was interesting to read about.

Anise’s relationship with her friends was also fun to read about! I especially loved the best friend (whose name I’ve forgotten).  The almost romance was also sweet and sad to read about. 

I liked how the internet played a big part of the book. As the was Anise’s way of contacting her friends. It was also fun to read about surfing and skateboarding. Anise is really competitive and I liked that about her.

I really enjoyed Anise’s character. I liked how she subtlety grew throughout the book. It was really heartbreaking to read about her mother and just how much it shaped her as a person. When she moved she lost contact with her friends in fear that they were moving on without her. It was done well and realistic. I liked how throughout the course of the book that Anise found a way to balance her friends and family. The ending really proves it to you. It was sweet to read about.

 I only had a few problems with this book. I did not like Anise’s reaction to moving at first. After reading more I came to understand her reaction because had it been me I think I would’ve had a similar reaction. I especially did not like her friends contacting her and trying to convince her to come back. Her aunt could’ve died and Anise’s friends know this. There were times that the dialogue was off and left the book feeling slightly dramatic. Nonetheless I slight enjoyed this book!

Overall I really liked this book! I highly recommend this book to contemporary fans.