Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

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Synopsis

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer–they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

 

My Review

“Would you rather live one perfect day over and over or live your life with no perfect days but just decent ones?” 

I started reading ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ because I felt like a reading slump was heading my way and a couple of people told me that this would be the perfect book to read in such a situation. And it actually is because this was such a quick read and I finished it in less than a day. It’s also a perfect summer read that you can enjoy while spending your time on the beach.

But even though it was a cute book, it was also very cliché and often quite predictable. But that wasn’t the worst thing about this book because it’s something I can usually live with. The worst thing was definitely the main character, Belly. She was such an annoying character and such a whiny little brat. I know that this is a coming of age novel and many girls that age might tend to behave like her but in my opinion, she was just way over to the top. She was complaining so much, she literally made me want to rip my hair out at some points.

Belly was constantly going on about how badly the boys were treating her, how they were always treating her like a child (though she was the one that constantly acted like a 9-year-old) and how they never asked her to come along when going somewhere. She literally made them responsible for everything she didn’t like, for example how she didn’t know anyone in the town they spend their summer breaks in because it would’ve been their job to take her to parties … like seriously though, what the hell? She can walk and talk, she should’ve left the house herself and made her own friends in that town instead of spending all her summer sulking because the three boys just preferred doing their own things.

She was literally such a pain in the neck, I think she was even more annoying than America from the Selection series and I actually thought that was impossible.

All of this just made me feel like I was way too old for this book and I really don’t know if I’ll actually continue this series even though I liked the other characters. I loved Conrad, Jeremiah and Steven and I also think that this book was generally very well written. But because of the main character and the fact that I felt a little too old for the entire story, I can only give TSITP 2.5 out of 5 stars.

(PS: I’m sorry about the fact that half of this review is just me complaining about the MC but she was literally driving me insane!)

Have you already read ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ and did you like it? 🙂

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Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

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Synopsis

Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

 

My Review

“I am hard on myself. But isn’t it better to be honest about these things before someone else can use them against you? Before someone else can break your heart? Isn’t it better to break it yourself?” 

When I first saw that this book would be about Josh and Isla, two characters that have first been introduced in AATFK, I must say that I wasn’t too excited about it. He just didn’t seem to be a very interesting character in the first book but I think I had that impression because you just didn’t learn a lot about him in the first book except that his girlfriend and he spend almost every free second together.

But his girlfriend isn’t there anymore which allowed him to get into a new relationship and quite early in the book, you actually realize that Josh is quite an interesting character. I really liked how you learn a lot about his past and also about the time that was written about in AATFK. You get to learn a little more about Anna and St. Clair’s relationship from his point of view and you also learn the entire story of Josh and Rashmi’s relationship which was very interesting. I also loved his passion for art and really hope this book will one day be made into a movie just so that I can see someone draw what Stephanie Perkins described in this book.

Sex also played quite a big role in this book. In AATFK it was only mentioned once or twice but in LATBND it was already a bigger part of the story, so it only made sense that it would play an important role in this book even though it isn’t often discussed in YA books.

I also loved that this book’s plot was different from the plots of the first two books. In AATFK and LATBND we had one person who was in a relationship while the other person wasn’t and over the course of the book, they slowly realized that they’re more than friends. But in IATHEA they get into a relationship at an early point of the book and so you get to read about how their relationship develops and what problems they have to face.

Another thing that I loved is that we got to see Anna, St. Clair, Meredith, Lola and Cricket again. I just love how all three books in this series are connected with each other and the scenes with those characters almost made me cry in happiness. If you haven’t read the book yet, go read it and you’ll exactly know what moment I’m talking about.

But there were also two things that annoyed me a little and made me not give this book all five stars. For one, Isla was a little annoying at some points of the books even though she was by far not as annoying as Lola sometimes was. Furthermore, the ending of this book was incredibly cheesy. It was just way too much for me and even though I really like Josh and Isla, I just couldn’t enjoy the last scene of this book even though they’re a cute couple.

All in all, this was once again a cute and quick read and I really enjoyed it. I still love Stephanie Perkins’ writing style and she remains one of my all-time favorite contemporary authors! 4 out of 5 stars for “Isla and the Happily Ever After”.

Have you already read ‘Isla and the Happily Ever After’ and did you like it? 🙂

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

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Synopsis

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion… she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit – the more sparkly, more wild – the better. And life is pretty close to perfect for Lola, especially with her hot rocker boyfriend.

That is, until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket return to the neighbourhood and unearth a past of hurt that Lola thought was long buried. So when talented inventor Cricket steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally face up to a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. Could the boy from Lola’s past be the love of her future?

My Review

“I know you aren’t perfect. But it’s a person’s imperfections that make them perfect for someone else.” 

I honestly don’t know why it took me so long to finally read “Lola and the Boy next Door”. I mean, I read “Anna and the French Kiss” five years ago and never even thought about continuing this series even though I loved the first book.

But now I finally read it and I’m so glad about that because LATBND was great. I almost loved it as much as I loved AATFK.

Just like the first book in the series, this is a very quick and cute read. You can easily read this book in one sitting; by now I’m even starting to believe you could read the entire series in one sitting though I won’t know about that for sure until I’ve also read “Isla and the Happily Ever After”.

The basics of the plot of this book are very similar to the plot of AATFK. Once again, we have two teenagers. One of them is in a relationship and the other isn’t but they start feeling drawn to each other though they don’t want to admit it because they’re actually just friends. Some other things happen and you have a lot of stuff you can laugh about. That means that this book once again isn’t anything new and unique; but it’s another one of those books that just make you incredibly happy and will make you feel good about life which makes it perfect.

Since it is the sequel to AATFK, we also get to read about Anna and St. Clair again which already made me fall in love with this book before I had even really gotten into it. I think even if LATBND had been horrible, I would’ve still decided to reread it at some point just because of my two favorites.

But there is one thing that bugged me about this book and that resulted in me not liking it as much as I liked AATFK. My problem is that I think that Lola is a bit of an annoying character. During the first half of the book I was still able to mostly ignore but it got worse during the second half of the book. There were moments during which she was acting quite immature even though she was constantly trying to act older than she actually was. I also thought that the fact that she was always wearing costumes with wigs and all that stuff was a little too much. Maybe I am just too old for a character like that or I didn’t like it because I think it’s extremely weird to always run around in colorful costumes with often colorful wigs on your head even when you’re just going to school. I know that it is everyone’s own decision and it made her kind of unique, but it just didn’t help in that situation. Seeing her act so immature at some point and then imagining her with blue hair in a dress she made out of a picnic blanket was just a little too much for me.

That’s why I decided to give LATBND only 4 out of 5 stars. All in all though, it was a great book that is just as addictive as AATFK. It’s an adorable love story and I’ll definitely reread it one day even though I don’t like Lola that much.

Have you already read ‘Lola and the Boy Next Door’ and did you like it? 🙂

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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Synopsis

Anna has everything figured out – she was about to start senior year with her best friend, she had a great weekend job, and her huge work crush looked as if it might finally be going somewhere… Until her dad decides to send her 4383 miles away to Paris. On her own.

But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna finds herself making new friends, including Etienne, the smart, beautiful boy from the floor above. But he’s taken – and Anna might be too. Will a year of romantic near-missed end with the French kiss she’s been waiting for?

My Review

“For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.” 

Is “Anna and the French Kiss” the right book for you if you’re looking for something unique that you’ve never read about before? No, it’s not.

Is it the right book if you’re looking for a book without any clichés? No!

Is it the right book if you’re looking for something that will make you feel good and smile a lot? Hell yeah it is!

Anna and the French Kiss is an incredibly quick read and you could easily finish it in a single sitting because it’s so addictive. You just won’t want to put it down anymore, it’s literally the definition of a “feel good” book. Reading AATFK will make you immediately want to go to Paris to find your own St. Clair and visit all the places that are mentioned in this book. I’ve already been there a couple of times before and have been to most of the places mentioned in the book, but even I just want to go back there right now to revisit all the places Anna and St. Clair have been to.

But the book will not only make you swoon over their perfect love story, but it will also make you laugh a lot and will conjure a smile on your face which you won’t be able to easily wipe off it again. It will also teach you a little about history because St. Clair is obsessed with it (not in an annoying way though). I’m serious, I’ve actually learned a thing or two about French and American historical figures and Parisian history. But one of my absolute highlights is Bridgette’s, who is Anna’s best friend, obsession with unique words. I mean, did you know that “Callipygian” means “having shapely buttocks”? You didn’t? Well, neither did I but now we both know and I’m loving it!

In my opinion, you also don’t have to be thirteen or fourteen to like this book. I was fourteen when I read it for the first time and just reread it at the age of nineteen (a few days away from turning twenty) and I actually enjoyed it more than I did when I read it for the first time. That might also be due to the fact that I just needed a book like this but I just feel like you can never be too old for it. It’s just so incredibly cute and sometimes everyone needs something like it. It’ll make you incredibly happy and I just have to give it 5 out of 5 stars for how good it made me feel once again!

Have you already read “Anna and the French Kiss” and did you like it? 🙂

Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

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Synopsis

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

My Review

“Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there’s a tomorrow. Maybe for you there’s one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around it, let it slide like coins through you fingers. So much time you can waste it.
But for some of us there’s only today.
And the truth is, you never really know.“

If I had to briefly describe this book in a single sentence, I’d describe it as Mean Girls meets something that’ll make you thoroughly think about how you’ve been treating the people around you. But I’m talking about the original Mean Girls movie here, and not about that horrible second part they produced a couple of years later, because “Before I Fall” was truly a great and inspiring book.

“Before I Fall” tells the story of Samantha Kingston who is in a fatal car accident with her friends. But instead of dying she suddenly wakes up in the morning, on the day of the accident, and can relive that day once again. This happens several times over the course of the book and she has the chance to change some of the things that happened to try to make them right again. Sam herself is your typical “mean girl” you know from high school chick flicks but probably also from real life (though I can’t judge that since I grew up in Germany). Over here we have a different school system and the whole popular crowd that “rules” the school thing is nothing I’ve ever heard about over here. However, even I remember a time in-between seventh and ninth grade when I had my group of friends in my class and there were people we were sometimes making fun of and that we excluded from our group. Back then we thought it was funny whilst today most of us, including me, are not proud of how we treated them. But while you’re acting that way you don’t actually realize that you might be hurting someone with your actions and just think that they’ll forget about it as fast as you do which they don’t. Instead your actions might leave deeper wounds than you can imagine; wounds that might never fully heal again. “Before I Fall” is trying to show what those actions can do to victims of bullying and how oblivious the offenders are to the impact of their actions.

From my younger sister, I know that even at my old school, bullying has become a bit of a normal thing again. Kids these days are losing respect for not only adults but also for people their age. Back when I was in 8th grade, we read “13 Reasons Why” which is also dealing with bullying and the consequences it can have. I remember that it actually made some people think about things they’ve done in their life and led them to trying to make things right again before it might’ve been too late. I think “Before I Fall” is a book that could provoke the same feelings in some people and would also be a good book to read and talk about in schools. At first, I thought it wouldn’t be gripping enough to also be interesting to younger readers that might have to read it for school. Reliving the same day over and over again to me sounded like a plot line that could fast become repetitive and boring; but Lauren Oliver managed to change things up in such ways that every single day was interesting in its own way. She changed things that I just didn’t expect her to change at all which even made me laugh out loud a couple of times even though the chapters each ended with the same horrible event happening; it was just always a little different from how it was in the previous chapter. The book also shows the reader how complex the web of problems is which Sam and her friends have spun with their actions without even realizing it. Every time I thought I’d finally understood someone’s story, and knew what Sam had to change to make things right, I was immediately proven wrong again. Most of the times things aren’t just made good again with a simple apology. “Before I Fall” shows you this in a very gripping and moving way. It’s a very realistic book which is especially shown by the ending of it which indeed makes one gulp and be silent for a couple of minutes.

All in all, “Before I Fall” is a great book that shines a light on a very important topic. It’ll make you think about how you’ve treated the people you’ve encountered in your life and reading it may be an eye-opening experience for some people. Lauren Oliver has a great writing style and “Before I Fall” is a book you can easily read in less than a day which also makes this book perfect for younger audiences. 4.5 out of 5 stars for this book!

Have you already read “Before I Fall” and did you like it? 🙂