Review: Since Forever Ago by Olivia Besse

21902292Blurb from Goodreads

Fresh off the heels of a devastating breakup, Riley Benson is a mess. But with her ingenious plan to become a ball-busting heartbreaker herself, she’s pretty sure she’ll survive. After all, what better way is there to get revenge than to move on?

Riley’s determined to become the perfect bachelorette—she’s going to drink like a bro, belch like a beast and swear so much that she’ll make even the most seasoned sailors blush. After all, those are the qualities that every guy’s secretly looking for…. aren’t they?

Max Fletcher is in love with the girl who gave him chicken pox and his first broken leg. When his best friend seems to finally be out of the picture, he can’t help but want to keep Riley all to himself. And, after coaching her with the very best of the very worst love advice, it seems as if he might actually get what he’s wanted after all those years. But just as the two come to the realization that they’re actually kind of perfect for each other, along comes a secret that threatens to tear them apart.

ebook 316 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Wunderland Press (first published May 11th 2014)
edition language: English
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.There are so many things that feel so wrong and don’t work for me while usually I like this kind of story.

First part of the book is so annoying, like really annoying I feel like I want to throw my eReader and smack Riley’s head. Riley is immature, naive and childish well…they have the same meaning, I guess? You got the idea, not to mention that she’s also melodramatic. Basically she’s frustrating and annoying me. At first I thought she’s 16 year old and I kinda think I can ignore her naivete but then she said that she’s 21 year old and I was like shut up! Why does she act like a 16 year old? I’m aware that she’s in a heartbroken phase and might need to do some unbelievable things but come on, how come she takes Max’s advice seriously! Like, really? I’m sure even 16 year old teenager knew it’s just crap advices.

“Riley, that’s the stupidest shit I’ve ever heard,” Liz said with a roll of her eyes. “Are you really going to believe all of that garbage?”

And Max, I think he’s so cruel set her up in some disaster date, though he has his reasons. And about his secret? It isn’t a secret at all, bro, because I can figure out right after you say it!

Second part of the book is slightly better. I can see the effort from the characters for being funny. Some things that I fail to see in the first part. Some funny things can make me smile. And Riley’s bestfriend are as ridiculous as she and so do Max’s friends. I think they are hilarious-ridiculous characters. I also quite like when Riley-Max relationship finally happen, though I still couldn’t feel they chemistry. They’re good as a friend but I couldn’t feel them as a couple who are in love. I guess it’s the whole idea, though, as they are friend since forever.

“Just watch, Fletcher,” Riley began, cracking her knuckles in determination. “Prepare to be amazed by my unbelievable studying abilities.”
“I’m prepared.”
“I’m going to out-study you so hard that you’ll probably drip tears all over your lecture notes.”
“Sure.”
“I’m going to be the best studier that ever… studied.”
“So shouldn’t you start…?”
“I will!” she insisted, taking a deep breath before positioning her fingers above her keyboard. “I’m just getting myself ready.”
Max shook his head slightly as he shot her an amused expression. “Gotcha.”
“…Should we go to Taco Bell and get a studying snack?”
“Riley!”
“I’m just trying to feed my brain,” she replied with a defensive scoff.

There are also things that more annoying that the characters, if it’s possible. Both Max and Riley love to talk and think with their inner voice or voice of reason or whatever voice they call. One thing for sure it surely is annoying when I have to spend most of the time reading the battle in their head, in some part more than one paragraph!

Don’t fuck this up, Max firmly told himself as he stared at the expectant look on Riley’s face. This is your chance to make everything right. It’s your fault she’s suffering right now. This is all because of your big fucking mouth. Be a good guy and help her out.

But then you’ll just have to stand by and watch when she starts dating someone new, another voice inside his head pointed out. You don’t want that. Why would you try to help her meet other guys? Isn’t that the last thing you want? Seeing her with a new guy would kill you, especially if you were the one who helped her get together with him. Just keep her away from everyone until you figure your shit out.

And, maybe, if you somehow manage to keep her away from all other men for the next twenty years, you can cash in on your offer..

And then the characters like to make compare their situation with illness. Maybe it’s supposed to be a joke but I don’t like it and it.is.not.cool. at.all.

“But that just makes it sound like I’m some bipolar schizophrenic freak.”
The two had engaged in a distressing game of tug-of-war with Riley’s phone, which was now locked away within the safety of Audrey’s bag, far from Riley’s bipolar reach.

“It’s okay,” April said with a giggle, furiously batting her eyelashes at him as if she were having an epileptic episode.


All in all, the characters in this story are unbelievably ridiculous and in some way they are the opposite of ideal characters, I think I liked that, sort of. They are also ridiculously funny. I give that. I think the author did good jobs on that but there are also parts, huge part that I don’t like, even if it’s supposed to be jokes kind of thing. It isn’t the worst book I’ve ever read but if I knew from the beginning what this is all about and how it’s written, I think I prefer not to read it.

Result: 1.5 out of 5 stars

Review: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

18295852Blurb from Goodreads

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and — finally — a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel shows that the center of the world isn’t necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by Little, Brown and Company (first published April 10th 2014)
edition language: English
genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

My Thoughts

ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

This is definitely one sweet YA contemporary story that I really liked, though it has at least two things I usually don’t like.

Meet Owen, a 17 year old boy who just moved to the basement of one of apartment building in New York. He was forced to leave his hometown because his dad, and he is also, couldn’t live at their home in Pennsylvania anymore, not after his mom’s death. He then met Lucy, a 16 year old girl who lives at one of the apartments in the same building, on September 1st at the elevator in that building.

Everything after they met feel so fast and certainty there is an insta-attraction between them. I usually don’t like this instant thing. I find it’s hard to believe things that begin in an instant. But here, in Lucy and Owen relationship, the insta-attraction also feels so slow, waiting to grow within pages and chapters. Thus, I don’t feel that it’s an insta-love or an insta-attraction, really.

“There are no open spaces.”
“There’s a whole park just a block away.”
“You can’t see the stars.”
“There’s always the planetarium,” Lucy said, and in spite of himself, he laughed

Owen and Lucy couldn’t be more different. The way they grow up, what they see and want for their future and they relationship with their parents are so different. They are like the opposite of one and another.

In line for the bus, Lucy daydreamed.
She was thinking of road trips and mountains and wide-open spaces.
But really, she was thinking of New York.”

In a coffee shop, Owen’s mind wandered.
He was thinking of castles and hills and cups of tea.
But really, he was thinking of that elevator.

But in their differences, there are also similarities. I liked the idea that despite the differences, everything eventually ends up at the same thing. And in the end, I think it can be interesting because of the way the author wrote it.

This story is written in two POV from third person. I usually prefer a story from first person. But here, I don’t mind with the way it’s written. It’s beautiful and can still make me see and understand Owen and Lucy as clear as if it’s from first person POV.

And with the way they sort out their relationship, their feeling with each other, and the distance between them, the story feels so slow, even if I compare with another Jennifer E. Smith book I’ve read, This is What Happy Looks Like. Yet, the slow-pace couldn’t make me less enjoyed it because in that slow-pace I understand that it isn’t just about their relationship. It’s also about their relationship with their parents,

“You knew?”
“Of course I knew.”
“I thought you were too busy.…”
“Being sad?”
Owen gave him a rueful grin. “Well… yeah.”
“You know what made me less sad?”
“What?”
“Seeing you happy,” he told him.

about their friends and their thoughts of themselves
In New York, she’d stood apart, and in Edinburgh, she’d stood out; but here, she just stood alongside everyone else, and there was a comfort in that, in fitting in for once.
It’s about be braved to ask something in the first place to know the answer. I think that’s what I loved about this book. It’s not entirely about teenage first love but it’s also about something else, some bigger thing in their life.

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Review: Throne of Glass #0.1-0.5, The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

18243700Blurb from Goodreads

Contains all five novellas.

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

ebook, 448 pages
Published March 4th 2014 by Bloomsbury Childrens
edition language: English
series: Throne of Glass
genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
My Thoughts
Some novellas are interesting and some other are boring. But all of them are the reason what Celaena do and talk in Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. And it makes her story much clearer.
1. The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, 2.5 stars
As a prequel of Celaen Sardothien world and work, I think this is an okay novella. It has fine action scenes and I got to know Sam Cortland, her first love interest, though I have to say that there’s not much about him either. Maybe his story will be told in other novellas. I certainly hope so.

Although I didn’t dislike Celaen here, I didn’t love her either. Somehow she’s like a mix between she in Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. She’s a bit drama queen, reckless, bold and eager to show other that she’s Arobynn’s protégée. Maybe it’s because she’s only 16 years old but still I found myself rolling my eyes whenever she does things that endanger herself and also Sam, as her companion.

I also think that Rolfe, the Pirate Lord, is too easy to be tricked and I was questioning him for how easy he trusts Celaena and Sam by telling them the ship schedule. As a well-known Pirate Lord, I think it’s a foolish act and again made me rolling my eyes. The way Celaena hide what she does from Arobynn also sounds far-fetched for me. Surely he won’t trust her letters that easy, will him? I know I won’t believe her if I were Arobynn.

2. The Assassin and the Healer, 2 stars
This novella takes place right after the first novella, The Assassin and The Pirate Lord. Celaena is punished because of what she did in Skull’s Bay.

I see her as a different person here, brooding and all emo. And seek troubles to make her day. Basically she’s bored and yet she makes me bored too. There aren’t much happen in this story, only two fighting scenes to ease her boredom but not much for me to enjoy it.

However I’m quite like Yrene Towers. I think she’s a good character and has so much potential as an interesting character. I hope she has bigger role in the series.

3. The Assassin and the Desert, 3 stars
What I dislike

Celaena here is like Celaena in Throne of Glass. She talks about dress, make up and stuff most of the time. She’s selfish, whine a lot while I think it’s understandable why Arobynn sent her to Red Desert. After all, she often said that what have she done on The Assassin and The Pirate Lord is worth it. If she thinks that letting the slaves go is worth of anything, she should take its consequences. Arobynn won’t let it go, for sure. I knew it, so why she keeps whine about it? She also couldn’t learn of what is so obvious about what The Master wants and the meaning behind her train. As Adarlan’s assassin and Arobynn’s protégée she’s so clueless. She doesn’t seem like a clever assassin to me.

Hence, more than half of the story is so boring. Nothing much happen except those things I’ve mentioned above. It can’t keep me glue to the book. And I left it behind so many times to do something else.

What I like

There are things that Celaena tells in Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight without much clarity are told here and become clearer to me. It makes it intertwines each other nicely. Thus I can buy that this is Celaena’s past.

The twist and surprise at the end of the story makes this novella is worth reading, more over after there’s nothing much happen in more than half of the story. I just wish it happens earlier to make this novella more interesting and less boring.

Other characters, aside Celaena. I think they shape Celaena’s personalities in Thrones of Glass and Crown of Midnight. What she has in those books are mostly because of them. I’d love to see them, especially Ansel again in the sequel. I think she’s as a complex character as Celaena but in one way is more interesting than Celaena herself.

4. The Assassin and the Underworld, 3 stars
I liked this novella better than previous ones, though it still has things I didn’t quite like.

One thing for sure, Celaena’s mission is only mentioned in around 25% toward the ending. The first 75% of the story is spent to tell her way of life. How she enjoyed clothes, parties and stuff, though between all those stuff she also does her job, spying her target and planning how to kill them. I feel like she cares more about her life than her mission. On the other hand, I get to know how she eager to free herself from Arobynn. I guess it makes me see her as a young woman too, rather than only a notorious assassin.

I liked that Sam Cortland has bigger story here. I can buy his love for Celaena but it’s quite hard for me to believe that she loves him back. As she said she never think about him more than a fellow assassin before the Skull’s Bay mission. It was like 3 months before this story takes place. And suddenly she sees him in a different way while I think she’s one of characters whose so focus to herself and rarely pay attention to other.

5. The Assassin and the Empire, 3 stars
This is certainly my favorite among novellas in The Assassin’s Blade. Celaena is less annoying here. I think it has to do with Sam Cortland. He’s a perfect balance for her. And I wish I get to read from his POV too. I want to know more about his past, his love for Celaena and what he feels when he’s captured by Rourke Farran.

However, I don’t think that Celaena here matches with who she is in Throne of Glass. At the end of the novella, I feel like she has more burden than ever because of Sam’s death and she’s kinda let of what will happen to her. While in Throne of Glass she’s quite cheerful and wants people recognition as Adarlan’s Assassin. It’s just like the opposite herself.

Result: 3 out of 5 stars

Review: Throne of Glass #2, Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

18846563Blurb from Goodreads

“A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend.”

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie…and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

Kindle Edition, 433 pages
Published August 27th 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens (first published August 15th 2013)
edition language: English
series: Throne of Glass
genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
My Thoughts
So I didn’t quite enjoy Throne of Glass and almost put this book on hold if not because of my friend who keeps telling me that she really loves it. Now I just want to give applause to Sarah J. Maas for this awesome sequel. This is for you, Ms. Maas.
This sequel is like the opposite of its prequel. Things that quite bother me in Throne of Glass turn out differently into something that I loved.

For one thing, Celeana doesn’t think and care much about clothes and stuff as she did in Throne of Glass. Well…she’s still mention what dress she wears and all but it isn’t her main focus anymore. She certainly doesn’t talk much about it here. She knows and set her priority clear now. And for that I’m so glad because it makes me see her as a notorious assassin, (again) a stuff I couldn’t buy in book 1.

“She came through the fog, no more than a sliver of darkness. She didn’t run—she just walked with that insufferable swagger. […]Still she approached, and the sword at her back whined as she drew it. The moonlight glinted off the long blade.”

She also doesn’t crave people recognition as Adarlan’s no. 1 assassin anymore. I can see she’s as good as she claims without she keeps telling me about it. This time she talks less but does more.

Thus, it makes the story so engaging. I didn’t feel bored at all. It can make me glue to the story and couldn’t stop reading it. There are so many things happen and so much emotions I feel when I read it. It’s also quite unpredictable, though I bet you can guess some part if you really pay attention to the story.

“Believe me, Celaena,” he snarled, his eyes flashing, “I know you can look after yourself. But I worry because I care. Gods help me, I know I shouldn’t, but I do. So I will always tell you to be careful, because I will always care what happens.”
And the romance, how I love Celaena and Chaol relationship and yes, I also love her friendship with Dorian. I can’t help not to swoon over them. The feels, it’s all there. Although the romance has bigger part than book 1, it doesn’t take the main focus of what this book about. It intertwines with the whole story nicely.

All in all, this is one of the best books I read this year. I just can’t wait for Heir of Fire now!

Note: Is there anyone who also thinks that Ms. Maas (might be) inspired by the lord of the rings (both books and movie)? There are scenes that quite remind me of LOTR while I read this book.
Result: 5 out of 5 stars

Review: Starstruck by Nicole Ciacchella

21422003Blurb from Goodreads

Lex Harrington is living a stranger’s life. After high school, she and her boyfriend, superstar quarterback Brad Wakefield, headed off to college, secure in the knowledge of their brilliant future. Then an injury ended Brad’s football career, and he convinced Lex to drop out of school and return home with him, where everything fell apart.

Because the glossy surface of their relationship concealed a dark truth: years of emotional abuse culminating in Brad’s walking out on Lex and their infant son. At twenty-three, she’s a single mother with no future prospects, struggling to make ends meet while dealing with the aftermath of her destructive marriage.

When Jaron Richards left for college, he vowed he’d never look back. Brad laid waste to his friendship with Lex, leaving nothing to bind Jaron to his hometown. But his unrequited love for Lex has never faded, even as his star has begun to rise, making him Hollywood’s hottest new actor.

Now Jaron is back in town to film his latest movie, and his presence stirs up everything Lex would rather forget. Can they find a way to pick up the pieces and build a future together?

Kindle Edition, 301 pages
Published March 30th 2014 by Sweenix Rising Books
edition language: English
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

I think this is a nice first encounter with Nicole Ciacchela book. With the trend of an insta-love these days, Lex and Jaron love is like a fresh air for me. I liked the way they build their relationship. It happens slowly based on trust and honesty. It’s more believable. Hence, I buy it when they finally admit that they are in love with each other. I also liked Jaron relationship with Lex’s son, Owen. Despite his saying that he never thought about having a child, his love for Owen is so obvious and so sweet. And again, just like his relationship with Lex, it grows slowly yet more convincing than if he suddenly loves him from the first time they meet. I also think the author did a good job describing an abusive relationship. I can see it in Lex clearly.

However, I have also things that I didn’t quite like. It wasn’t about the story and the characters, though. It’s about the way it is written. It actually isn’t that big deal, but it’s quite distracting me when I read this book. The story is told from third person with two POV, Jaron and Lex. I always love two POV it gives me more clarity from the opposite characters. The thing that is distracting me here is both POV tend to describe things, a lot of things in long descriptive narrative. I personally don’t mind about it, but in some parts it feels too much. To be honest, it makes the story feels so so slow and I can’t help not to skip some narrative because I feel it’s quite boring, moreover when it’s told over and over from both POV. Both Lex and Jaron seem to like to lose in their thoughts. In between their thoughts they often think something else. Sometimes about things they are talking about, other times about different thing but still relate to the story, but it often makes me lose track of what they are talking about before their lost in thoughts moments. I have to go back to the beginning of their conversation or their very first thought to understand what their thinking about actually.

And I didn’t quite get why this book called Starstruck as I didn’t see much about Jaron the movie star. He indeed tells me about his job but it’s just a little bit, just a glimpse compare to what I thought he would be. I also didn’t feel that he is an A-list hot Hollywood actor. I guess I assumed A-list Hollywood actor always tails by paparazzi or common people who keep staring at him and stuff, but here, I didn’t see it at all. I think I failed to see that Lex is starstruck with Jaron the Hollywood actor.

Despite those things I didn’t quite like, I think this is an okay story about abusive relationship and second chance in your life.

Result: 3 out of 5 stars

Review: Come Back to Me by Mila Gray

22559405Blurb from Goodreads

 

Come back to me. That was the very last thing I said to him.

 

Always. The very last thing he said to me.

 

Home on leave in sunny California, Marine and local lothario Kit Ryan finds himself dangerously drawn to his best friend’s sister, Jessa – the one girl he can’t have.

 

But Kit’s not about to let a few obstacles stand in his way and soon Jessa’s falling for his irresistible charms.

 

What starts out as a summer romance of secret hook-ups and magical first times quickly develops into a passionate love affair that turns both their worlds upside down.

 

When summer’s over and it’s time for Kit to redeploy, neither Kit nor Jessa are ready to say goodbye. Jessa’s finally following her dreams and Kit’s discovered there’s someone he’d sacrifice everything for.

 

Jessa’s prepared to wait for Kit no matter what. But when something more than distance and time rips them apart they’re forced to decide whether what they have is really worth fighting for.

 

A breathtaking, scorchingly hot story about love, friendship, family and finding your way back from the edge of heartbreak.

Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published June 19th 2014 by Pan Macmillan
edition language: English
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

I only had read one Sarah Alderson book, Hunting Lila. I liked it enough I was so excited when I knew that she has a debut NA contemporary book under her pen name, Mila Gray. Moreover when the blurb says that the hero is a marine who falls in love with his best friend’s sister. I think there will be so many emotions and drama in it, for Kit as a marine who obviously has saw more of life and death than civilian and for Jessa as a girl who has a crush for so long for her brother’s best friend.

Aside the good-intriguing prologue which has a nice cliffhanger that will keep you reading it, unfortunately there is nothing much happen in more than half of the story. I think at 60% of the book, I didn’t get much except Kit and Jessa lusting each other and have a lot of make out session. Let’s say I want something more to the story. Yes I know it’s the part when they start their relationship but I think there’s room for them to tell me more than about their relationship.

Both Jessa’s dad and brother are marines while Kit’s dad is also a former marine. They have marine blood in them but it’s barely described here. I want to know Kit and Riley as marines, how well they do their jobs, how they handle it and what they think about the war and life. As for Jessa, she wants to be an actor and Kit says she’s a good actor and it is worth it to pursue but I didn’t get much about it either, aside a few talk about it. Basically, I want to know all of things that build and connect as their character.

Fortunately, the rest of 40% turns quite good. I get more about Kit and Riley’s marine side. And I finally can feel the feelings. There are so many emotions in it. I also really liked the ending. The characters have their happy ending, despite everything that had happened to them. But without it being too sugary and all. It’s bittersweet just like in real life.

In the end, I think this is more than an okay book, it’s really good but it’s just it didn’t quite live my expectation. I still liked and enjoyed reading it, though.

Result: 3 out of 5 stars

 

Review: How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

11511594Blurb from Goodreads

Jill MacSweeny just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she’s been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends — everyone who wants to support her. When her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she’s somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one.
Mandy Kalinowski understands what it’s like to grow up unwanted — to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she’s sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It’s harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too?
As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy — or as difficult — as it seems.

ebook, 341 pages
Published October 18th 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2011)
edition language: English
genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
My Thoughts
I have to admit that I was kinda hesitated to read this book in the first place. It has high rating while I often being in the minority. And the story sounds so serious and a bit “heavy” for a YA book, at least YA books I usually read while I feel like I need “light” reading every time I want to read it. That’s why I kept put it down to read other books. Now I’m glad I give it a try.

The characters
It was quite hard to love both Jill and Mandy, the main characters in this story, at the beginning. They both wear a mask and good at telling lies. They have flaws and sometime are annoying and frustrating characters. I couldn’t decide whose side I am, Jill or Mandy.

“My mother says I have no social sense. She says I make people uncomfortable.”

Mandy, an 18 years old girl who wants to give her baby up, is naive, can be so annoying, yet is so brave. Some many times I want to yell at her to stop being ridiculous and doing unbelievable things. But then I’ve never been in her shoes before, the more I read her story, the more I understand her and she isn’t that hard to love, eventually.

“For someone who’s never been to Pancake Universe, Mandy makes her decision pretty fast, barely looking at the menu before closing it and setting it down. Everything sounds gross to me, and the table is sticky. PU doesn’t have the kind of hash browns I like. I like chunks of real potatoes, and these are the shredded crap that comes out of the freezer. […]“Don’t you want some protein, honey?” Mom asks. Already Mandy is “honey”? Traditionally, I am “honey.”

On the other hand, I do understand Jill’s feeling toward her new life. She just lost her dad, changed into someone else, someone who is completely different before the death of her dad. I think she has the right to be confused and is feel been ignore by her mom and jealous with Mandy and her baby, but sometime I also want to ask her to try to put herself in Mandy’s shoes and look from different side.

Although they make it hard for me to love them, I can’t help not to fall in love with them slowly. They surely develop throughout the story and they feel real for me.

The story
I think it isn’t a new story in a history of YA books, but it feels different from other YA books I’ve read. It isn’t a cliche and predictable story. Many times I kept waiting particular things will happen since I thought it will be as cliche and predictable as it can be. But most of the time I was wrong and am so glad that it turn out differently, though I’m sure readers can guess easily the ending for Jill and Mandy when they start reading it. And it’s beautifully written too.

“Life is always moving forward, forward, forward. Relentless. If someone offered me a time machine right now and I could go back to before my dad died, I would, of course, if only to see if I could save him. But then I’d want to come right back here, to face the next unknown moment and the next and the next.”

The way it is written and the way Jill and Mandy tell their stories, makes it easier for me to understand them better and be with them.

Actually this book has one thing I usually didn’t quite like, an insta-love. Mandy often do unbelievable things that make me questioning her. One of those things that made me roll my eyes is the way she first and only meet with the love of her life or I think it is an insta-lust/love.

“It was a summer one-night stand. Mandy says it was love. She says love is love whether it happens in five minutes or five years. Usually I just try not to laugh. But once in a while, I decide that I don’t always have to be right.”

But I can make an exception if it handles well. As much as I think Mandy do an unbelievable thing, I can buy her insta-love and just like Jill, I decide that it is one of my exceptions of an insta-love story.

All in all, I loved everything in this book, including the cover which I think suits the story perfectly.

Result: 4 out of 5 stars