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Tuesday, January 6, 2015


From AmazonWhat if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Audience: Young Adult

Genre: YA Contemporary
Length: 368 pgs

Rating: *** (More like a 3 minus, but how do you show that??)

Review: Disclaimer up front: I listened to the audiobook and didn't like the narrator at all, which may have contributed to my view as the MC Lara Jean coming off way whiny.
A second disclaimer: I despised the ending, which may have contributed to my dislike of the book overall.
A third disclaimer...well, warning. There will be spoilers in order to adequately describe why this book was so off for me.
The positives: Good writing. It's professional, and though it lagged for me, that's more in line with my attitude of not loving YA contemps. I really liked the close relationships between the sisters--for the most part. I loved the dad and little sister Kitty.
What through me off: Characters and not relating to a lot of what they were doing. As I mentioned before, the main character, Lara Jean is whiny and not proactive, and in many cases that makes her unlikable. For instance, when people criticize her {somewhat fake} boyfriend, Peter and/or his friends, she doesn't defend them. She'll often think how the criticizer is wrong in her head, but not out loud and so she seems weak, ungrateful, and unlikable.
Margo (her sister) and Josh (sisters {somewhat ex} boyfriend). Even though they're supposed to be her closest friends, at NO point do they ever support her and Peter, and the way they go about degrading him (oh, yeah, and constantly because they're "looking out for Lara Jean," of course) makes them seem more shallow than Peter is portrayed.
It took me about halfway through the realize that Peter was the love-interest, not Josh and that threw me quite a bit. 
And {BEWARE BIG SPOILER COMING} she doesn't even end up with Peter. I once read a five series book where the two people who spend the entire series trying to be together don't end up together--it was a colossal waste of time, so at least this was just one book. It was hard to watch Lara Jean and Peter grow and realize their opinions of the other are wrong, and for them to see each other in a good light, to grow to be friends, to see their real feelings start to come out and then. 
See how I didn't finish that sentence. That's what it feels like.
The fourth disclaimer: I only like a few YA contemps, so I need to stop trying to read them and like them and end up being frustrated instead.

Sex - 4 (Mostly for a lot of talk about sex. I suppose many times in the not-always-respectful way teens talk about it. I actually don't know because I'm never around teens that talk like that. Ha.)
Language - 5 (D,H,Sh, God's name in vain sprinkled all the way through. Lara Jean doesn't swear, but has a friend who uses it a lot, so when that character appears, the language is bad for one or two pages. F-bomb dropped once.)
Violence - 0
Substance Abuse - 1 (At a party teens get drunk; Lara Jean's friend talks about getting drunk and doing drugs.)
Overall Rating: PG-18

Source: Library Audiobook via OneClickDigital

Try this. YA Contemp I like? THE CHAOS OF STARS by Kiersten White . . . but that's cheating. It's actually got some fantasy. ;)

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About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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