Sunday, 28 August 2016

Mini-Reviews | YA Contemporary Edition

Look, it's the end of the summer and I *finally* read some contemporary novels! I'm so proud of myself, because it's a genre I don't reach for a lot... I've been very late on my reviews (I read the first two books of the post a month ago... Oops), so I choose to do a mini-review post, as it's been awhile, and you'll also have everything in one place. Yay! I've also been in a blogging slump, because I don't have a lot of alone time these days, but I'll try to fix this in September (but uni will start again so I don't know if I'll be able to *sobs*).

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I have a complicated relationship with Jennifer L. Armentrout's books. I loved her Lux series and Don't Look Back but never got into her other paranormal series, because they felt so cliché and I couldn't bear with it. I haven't read her New Adult books either, because it's a genre I hardly ever reach for - except for Colleen Hoover's novels - but I wanted to give this one a go.

In my opinion, this book is important, by the topics it brought and the message behind that. At times it could be a bit hard to read (urm listen to as I had it as an audiobook) because it didn't sugar-coat anything and I loved it. It felt so realistic and wasn't about privileged teens. If you're interested in reading about children abuse, foster kids, gangs… It was a good coming-of-age story about a girl who barely talk and I could totally relate to that (even if I don't have her trauma) and how it's frustrating not to know what to say, but also how people can judge you for it.

However, this book was way too long and it's one the main reasons I couldn't love it until the last part of the book that was fast-paced and a total page-turner. Moreover, the romance was so cringe-worthy. Mallory kept going on, and on, and on, about how hot Rider was and it was so frustrating: I GET IT, UGH. While I could feel the characters connection through it all, the way it was written made my eyes rolled, especially when the author was ending a chapter right before they kissed for the first time and then described it in details. There is a difference between romantic and cheesy…

Overall, this book tackled down some important topics and sometimes, I didn't see it coming. Nevertheless, I felt like there were so much drama at times and once again it could have been avoided (even if I understand that the characters are teens and all of that). The romance was cheesy and made me rolled my eyes more than once…

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour & David Levithan

I went into this book without having really read anything by these authors before - except Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which David Levithan co-authored, but I definitely want to read more of their books now that I finished You Know Me Well. I picked this up because I wanted a quick read and it's definitely what I got, because I read it in a couple of hours.

It was refreshing to read a dual perspectives book where you knew, from the beginning, that the main characters weren't going to end up together. I feel like the authors' writing styles clicked well together, even though Mark and Kate's voices were distinct from each other, and I could relate to them both in different ways. Almost every character (except the parents?) were part of the LGBTQIA+ community and it was just there, for you to assume it, when the contrary happens more often than not for straight characters.

While this book involved romance aspects, it was more of a coming-of-age story about how you can't always get what you want, but also how it's okay to be lost. Moreover, it focused a lot on friendship and how you can bond with someone when you expect it the least and how it can change your life forever. You Know Me Well wasn't set at the beginning of the school year, which happens 85% of the time in contemporary, but during the last few days, where you can feel independence and freedom on the tip of your tongue. Moreover, it showed that college isn't the only way after high school, that sometimes you can need a break and it isn't discussed enough, in my opinion. It involved a lot of art, which was so fascinating and discovering the world behind all of it was interesting.

Overall, I read this coming-of-age story pretty quickly, it was addictive and I had so many feels while reading. If you're looking for a LGBTQIA+ book, I would definitely recommend this one!

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Kasie West is one of my go-to contemporary authors, because her novels are always so cute, even if predictable, but well… We're talking about YA romance novels, I've given up on being surprised! Of course, when P.S. I Like You was released, I wasn't able to wait and read it almost straight away, I devoured it and oh, how I loved it.

The concept of the story was unique, because it was about getting to know someone through notes, so it was about who he was and it didn't focus on the physical aspect. It was so much fun to imagine the characters writing entire letters during class, I would've been found out straight away, but it was so cute. Of course, I had figured out the pen pal's identity straight away, but I was curious to see how the author would make me fall for this character… And oh damn, she did it! I was shipping the characters together so hard and I loved their character development, because we learnt so much about them through the letters and it brought a new light to them.

I loved the family aspect of the story, because I'm from a big family and it's a personal pleasure to read about these dynamics. Kasie West definitely captured what it felt like to be part of such a family, how you don't feel like you exist for yourself sometimes, because you always need to help your parents out, or how your family must seem crazy to strangers and it can mess up some aspects of your social life. All of that felt so realistic and Lily's family will remain one of my favourite fictional ones (I need to make a post on the subject I think!).

Overall, I think this book was amazing for a cute contemporary romance. I was rooting for the characters and fell in love along with Lily, so the author was definitely successful. I would 100% recommend Kasie West's books and you should start with this one, as it's my favourite!

Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour

After reading You Know Me Well, I was excited to read something by Nina LaCour and I had heard so many great things about Everything Leads To You. The hype was so real but it was so well-deserved, in my opinion. I'm excited to read anything she'll write next.

It was my first F/F romance actually (if we don't count You Know Me Well) and I really enjoyed it, I will definitely read more of them in the future. While this book involved a romance, it wasn't the main focus of the book, even though the characters interacted a lot. Indeed, this book was also about a mystery surrounding a movie superstar and its legacy, it was interesting and I was as involved as Emi and Charlotte in this search.

Moreover, this novel was set in Los Angeles and it was basically a behind-the-scenes of Hollywood, which I loved, because it's so interesting to read about it. Emi was an aspiring set designer and it was compelling to read about her having new opportunities and how everything she put in place was important for a movie. I have to say the design is something I don't always focus on (even if sometimes I'm awe-struck by rooms and need my apartment to be like that, haha). In fact, I'm glad that we saw everything about the pre-production and the book ended while they were starting filming, because it means we didn't get the glamorous parts, but what ends the fantasy, as the characters say.

I enjoyed reading about these characters, most of the main ones were so lost in their life and I was rooting for them to find their way, which they definitely did. I was shipping the characters together and I'm glad they got together at the end and not while they were in the middle of their own personal drama. Nina LaCour did great with the representation part, because there were persons of colours and people from different type of sexualities and I felt so pleased with that.

Overall, I wasn't blown away by this book, because it was easy to follow but it wasn't breath-taking. Nevertheless, it was a nice romance with characters I was rooting for and it brought to light some aspects of Hollywood we don't always see in books. If you're looking for a LGBTQIA+ book, I would definitely recommend it!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What was the last contemporary novel you read and loved?

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