Reading, Review, Young Adult

YA Review: P.S. I LIKE YOU by Kasie West

I don’t know where the month of August went reading-wise. I guess I spent it reading that romance novel series I mentioned in my post about reading just for fun :). I have to admit that as much as I was enjoying my romance novels, it’s quite a long series and I started longing for YA again, so I took a break in the middle to binge-read a YA series I’d never read before–the Ruby Oliver series by E. Lockhart. I’m not going to review it because Ruby’s boy-crazy antics sort of drove me crazy, even though I couldn’t stop reading for four books, so … I have to admire Ms. Lockhart for keeping me engaged despite my frustrations with the character. There’s a lesson there, I’m sure. But the purpose of this post is to rave about a book I absolutely adored. I expected to because I’ve loved every other book of Kasie West’s. I’m so glad P.S. I LIKE YOU lived up to the long wait for a new Kasie West book!

P.S. I Like You by Kasie WestSigned, sealed, delivered…

While spacing out in Chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk, and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters — sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery, and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

Here are the five things I loved most:

1. The premise – I mean, Kasie West basically found a way to turn You’ve Got Mail into a YA novel, without going the obvious route of texting. I’m sure there’s a way that could have worked, too, but I really liked the letters. Actually, they could be a whole point themselves, but I’ll let them tag along with this one. I loved how the anonymity of the letters allowed Lily and her pen pal to know each other on a deeper level without the usual insecurities you have face to face.

2. The backstory – Wait, what, you’re saying? I’m not sure I’ve ever listed backstory as something I love in a book before, but it’s so relevant in this one. These characters have some major hangups that prevent them from moving forward. Without that backstory, this would be a short story instead of a novel. It’s very well done. *slow clap*

3. The friendship – I love Lily and Isabel’s friendship throughout the book. It’s solid at the beginning, and yet there are still some obstacles they have to figure out how to deal with to make sure they stay solid.

4. Lily’s family – They’re big and crazy, but they also love each other. I especially enjoyed Lily’s parents, who ask their kids to vote on who makes a better necklace or pie. And all of the sibling dynamics rang true, with both the love and frustrations of being one of four kids.

5. The romance – I already mentioned the letters, but obviously that’s not all there is to the romance. I don’t want to risk giving anything away, so I can’t gush too much. Suffice it to say the romantic tension is off the charts.

I really loved this book, maybe even more than THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND. Or not–it’s so hard to choose. Fortunately Kasie West’s next book is coming in February, so it’s not that long of a wait. If you’ve read P.S. I LIKE YOU, what did you think?

Reading, Review, Young Adult

YA Review: THE PERILOUS SEA by Sherry Thomas

I don’t often review the second book in a series because the things I love are the often same things I loved in the first book. But every once in a while I read a second book that completely blows me away in new and different ways and I just have to gush about it. Such is the case with THE PERILOUS SEA by Sherry Thomas. However, if you haven’t yet read THE BURNING SKY, I urge you to leave this post right now and go read it first because there are spoilers even in the description for THE PERILOUS SEA.

That was your warning. Still reading? Ok, then, I’m about to post the blurb …

The Perilous Sea by Sherry ThomasAfter spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.

Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother’s prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future.

And here are the five things I loved most:

1. The twists – Oh. My. Goodness. I can’t believe how twisty this book was. I was reading in the car during a road trip and caused my husband to look askance at me more than once. So well done. I can’t wait to see what Ms. Thomas has in store for the third book. I have a few theories …

2. The alternating timeline – I loved the way the book played with time, jumping back and forth between the desert and what had already happened at school. It was such a great strategy to build tension and keep the reader wondering both what would happen next and what had already happened to lead them to that point.

3. The backstory – Oh, yes, I am going there because Ms. Thomas does such a great job of revealing just the right amount of information at just the right time. There is so much the characters don’t know about their own histories, and uncovering those mysteries will help in the present. I did not see some of these revelations coming.

4. The pacing – This is a long book, and I read it in two days. Ok, it helped that I was stuck in a car for eight hours one of those days, but still. I would have set aside the time for this book because it was so gripping. Part of that was the way it was set up with the dual timelines, but also there was a ton of action.

5. The romance – Ok, I had to keep this one point the same because it’s doubly good in this book for reasons I can’t explain until you’ve read it. I mean, I probably wouldn’t be giving anything away, but still. Titus and Iolanthe’s relationship gets tested and it’s just brilliant.

Who else is reading this series? What are your thoughts?