Binged It: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Trilogy

The first year I went to BookCon in 2016 I met Jenny Han for the first time and she personally signed a copy of To All the Boys I’ve Before for me, which I bought onsite. And then I went home, put the book on my book case, and never read it. Well now that the film has been adapted into a Netflix movie, I decided maybe it was time I finally gave the book a read. In addition, over the years I’ve also acquired the entire trilogy so I figured why not just binge the whole trilogy. And binge it I did.

According to my handy planner, I went through this entire trilogy from July 27 to 31. In sum, I binged it in a weekend. What can I say, I was pretty hooked on Lara Jean’s story from the start, and I just couldn’t put these books down, not even for sleep. I crashed after I finished the last one, in case you were wondering.

If you’re unfamiliar with the series, it follows Lara Jean, who writes a letter every time she’s done with a crush. She pretty much pours her heart out, saying what she loved about the guy, and then puts it in an envelope and even addresses it, but never sends it. Honestly, this was my one major issue with this whole concept. If Lara Jean never planned on sending the letters, why even write their address? But I get that it was for the plot, since the person who ends up sending them out, most likely wouldn’t have put in the effort to track down all these guys’ addresses.

Moving right along, Lara Jean’s letters do get sent out, which is a shock to her, especially when one of her crushes, now popular guy Peter K, confronts her about it. At the same time, Lara Jean’s most recent crush, Josh Sanderson, also got his letter. Only problem is Josh, until very recently, was dating Lara Jean’s older sister, Margot. Awkward. In order to cover up the fact that she has serious feelings for Josh, Lara Jean kisses Peter in a most dramatic fashion, and they begin a fake relationship to trick Josh and Peter’s ex/Lara Jean’s ex-best friend, Genevieve, into believing they’ve moved on.

I love a good fake relationship story and that’s exactly what book one gave me. Book two gave me a great love triangle where I would’ve been happy if Lara Jean ended up with either guy (though I thoroughly approve of her final choice). And then finally, the last book just gave me all the feels because it was all about graduating from high school and not being sure about how your relationships in high school would transcend to your new life in college. While I graduated high school almost a decade ago (wait what?), those feelings still felt very real to me.

Overall, I obviously loved all these books. They were romantic and heartwarming, and I love the relationships Lara Jean had with her sisters, Margot and Kitty. Plus, as I said, I just couldn’t put them down. I highly recommend reading this book before the movie comes out and then checking out the film, which drops on Netflix on August 17. I plan on baking cookies, just like Lara Jean would, for the occasion. I can’t wait!

Number of Books: 3

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Overall Rating: 

5 stars

P.S. I made a BuzzFeed quiz for you to find out which Song girl (Lara Jean and her sisters) you are if you’re into that kind of thing.

P.P.S. Here’s the trailer if you haven’t watched it 100 times like I have.

Meet Ethan Aldridge, Maggie Lehrman, & George O’Connor This Week (YA Book Events 8/6-12)

Happy Monday everyone! There a few great events happening this week so check out the full schedule below and make sure to follow YA Book Events NYC on Twitter to keep up to date with all the events happening around the city.

Tuesday, August 7

Launch Party for Estranged by Ethan Aldridge at Books of Wonder (6-8 p.m.)

Celebrate the publication of debut author/illustrator Ethan Aldridge’s graphic novel, Estranged. Aldridge will be joined by NY Times bestselling author George O’Connor. Free event.

Launching Maggie Lehrman’s The Last Best Story at McNally Jackson Prince St. (7 p.m.)

Join author Maggie Lehrman as she celebrates the release of her newest novel, The Last Best Story. Free event.

Saturday, August 11

Meet George O’Connor at Books of Wonder Uptown (3-5 p.m.)

Join NY Times bestselling author George O’Connor as he shares the newest book in his Olympians series, Hermes: Tales of the Trickster. Free event.

ARC Book Review: Sadie

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Synopsis:

A gripping novel about the depth of a sister’s love; poised to be the next book you won’t be able to stop talking about.

A missing girl on a journey of revenge and a Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from Wednesday Books. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel was released on September 4, 2018.*

I don’t normally read thrillers. I think the last thriller I read was The Good Girl, maybe, and that was a long time ago. However, I kept seeing Sadie everywhere so when I saw a post on Instagram about requesting an ARC I figured why not? And then when I actually got it I was happily surprised.

Truthfully, I didn’t really know what this book was about going into it but I was hooked from the first page. This book is written in the style of the transcript from a podcast called The Girls and Sadie’s first person POV. In the podcast, we follow host West McCray as he first learns about Sadie’s disappearance and then his search into what led to her disappearance and what could’ve happened to her. In Sadie’s POV we’re following along with her as she’s on the hunt for her sister’s killer.

Like I said, I was hooked from the very beginning. Just like West I became more and more enthralled in Sadie’s story as he started talking to people from Sadie’s life and following her trail from her hometown to where her abandoned car was found and then beyond it. On the flip side, I liked hearing Sadie’s side of things and what Courtney Summers did really well was not show her hand too early. While it was pretty clear who Sadie was hunting, the history between Sadie, the man she was looking for, Keith, and her sister, Mattie, wasn’t immediately clear. Neither was why Sadie was so sure it was Keith who killed Mattie.

I couldn’t put the book down until I found out if Sadie got her revenge and where she ended up. I also loved how complicated all the relationships in this story were, from Sadie and Mattie’s relationship as sisters and Sadie and Mattie’s different relationships to their mother, Claire, as well as the relationship between Claire and her neighbor and Sadie and Mattie’s quasi caretaker, May Beth.

Summers did an excellent job looking at a really dark issue, tying Sadie and Mattie’s stories into the stories of so many other victims. The way details were revealed between the podcast and Sadie’s own POV was so well done, and while I predicted some things I was still perfectly surprised by others. I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a dark thriller and have a love for true crime podcasts. I’ve never listened to Serial but now I want to. Definitely pick this book up when it comes out. It’s worth a read. Or two. Also, there’s an actual podcast to go along with this book so check that out too.

Highlight for TW: Sexual assault, pedophilia, violence

Borrow or Buy: Buy it!

Stars:

5 stars

Other Reviews
The Book Corps
Carina’s Books
Pace, Amore, Libri

Celebrate Harry Potter & J.K. Rowling’s Birthdays This Week (YA Book Events NYC 7/30-8/5)

It’s Harry Potter week! Well, kind of. This week Potterheads will celebrate Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s birthdays. But that’s not the only thing happening this week. Check out the full schedule below and make sure to follow YA Book Events NYC on Twitter to stay up to date with all the bookish events happening around the city.

Monday, July 30

Launch Event for The Darkest Legacy by Alexandra Bracken at Books of Wonder (6-8 p.m.)

Join NYT best-selling author Alexandra Bracken as she celebrates the release of the newest book in her Darkest Minds series, The Darkest Legacy. Free event.

Jennifer Gilmore: If Only w/ Adele Griffin at Books Are Magic (7:30-8:30 p.m.)

Acclaimed author Jennifer Gilmore will discuss her new novel, If Only, with Adele Griffin (Be True to Me). Free event.

Tuesday, July 31

Launch Event for The Life & Lies of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore at Books of Wonder (6-8 p.m.)

Celebrate Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s birthday by joining Irvin Khaytman as he introduces his new book, The Life & Lies of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. Free event.

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary Celebration at The Strand (6:30-10 p.m.)

To celebrate Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s birthdays, The Strand is hosting an incredible party that will include two trivia events, one for those 21 and under, and another for those 21+. Please note, the 21+ event is already sold out. Tickets for the 21 and under trivia event are available for $10.

Launching Kara Thomas’ The Cheerleaders at McNally Jackson (7 p.m.)

Join Kara Thomas as she celebrates the release of her latest thriller, The Cheerleaders. She’ll be in conversation with NYT best-selling author Karen M. McManus (One of Us Is Lying). Free event.

Wednesday, August 1

NYC Double Launch Event for Heart of Thorns and Sea Witch at Books of Wonder (6-8 p.m.)

Celebrate a wonderful double NYC launch event for two wonderful new teen books: Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton and Sea Witch by Sarah Henning. The event will be moderated by Zoraida Cordova (Bruja Born). Free event.

The Merciless Event at Barnes & Noble Upper West Side (7 p.m.)

Celebrate the release of the Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition of The Merciless by Danielle Vega. Free event.

Saturday, August 4

Fantastic Middle Grade Reads at Books of Wonder (1-3 p.m.)

Join Tui Sutherland (The Lost Continent), Peter Lerangis (Max Tilt), Sayantani Dasgupta (The Serpent’s Secret), Katie Slivensky (The Seismic Seven), and Stacy McAnulty (The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl) as they share their latest novels. Free event.

ARC Book Review: Rule

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Synopsis:

Three Dark Crowns meets Pretty Little Liars in this sensational and striking new fantasy from debut author Ellen Goodlett.

Three girls. Three deadly secrets. Only one can wear the crown.

The king is dying, his heir has just been murdered, and rebellion brews in the east. But the kingdom of Kolonya and the outer Reaches has one last option before it descends into leaderless chaos.
Or rather, three unexpected options.
Zofi has spent her entire life trekking through the outer Reaches with her band of Travelers. She would do anything to protect the band, her family. But no one can ever find out how far she’s already gone.
Akeylah was raised in the Eastern Reach, surrounded by whispers of rebellion and abused by her father. Desperate to escape, she makes a decision that threatens the whole kingdom.
Ren grew up in Kolonya, serving as a lady’s maid and scheming her way out of the servants’ chambers. But one such plot could get her hung for treason if anyone ever discovers what she’s done.
When the king summons the girls, they arrive expecting arrest or even execution. Instead they learn the truth: they are his illegitimate daughters, and one must become his new heir. But someone in Kolonya knows their secrets, and that someone will stop at nothing to keep the sisters from their destiny… to rule.
Magic, mystery, and blackmail abound in the first book of this sensational and striking fantasy duology.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/The Novl. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel was released on September 11, 2018.*

Rule is being promoted as Three Dark Crowns meets Pretty Little Liars and while I haven’t read Three Dark Crowns (yet!) I was a fan of the PLL series (the first eight books). Thus, I was intrigued, and overall I thought this book was pretty good.

The novel is told in alternating close third POVs of Zofi, Florencia (Ren), and Akeylah, three very different girls who discover they’re all daughters of the king, who’s dying and needs an heir. What I loved most about this book was the world building. There’s a lot of history and prejudice going on in this world and at first I found it a little hard to keep everything straight, but once I got it I loved how intricate the history of this world was.

In sum, the girls live in the Reaches, which is basically this conglomerate of areas that came together to get out from under the power of another country, Genal. Within the Reaches there’s the Eastern Reach, which is filled with rebels who feel they’re not being fairly treated compared to those who live in the capital, Kolonya. Akeylah is an Easterner. Additionally, there are Travelers who, as you may have guessed, travel around the country in groups. The term “drifter” is a derogatory term often thrown in their face. Zofi is a drifter. Ren was born and raised in Kolonya, so she’s the most “pure” so to speak.

With this much division in the country, the book of course deals with prejudice, which I thought was great. All the girls are POCs and there’s also a f/f romance, which unlike other books with LGBTQ rep, it wasn’t a problem because the women were gay, but for a number of other reasons. It seems in this world like same sex relationships aren’t frowned upon, though it’s hard to say for sure since there weren’t any other same sex relationships in the book that weren’t a secret. I did have one small issue with Zofi’s hair being compared to a “tumble weed.” That just didn’t sit right with me.

In any case, all the girls have a dark secret and unfortunately for them someone knows about it and is threatening to reveal the truth if they don’t abdicate their chance at the throne. This is the part that gave me serious “A” vibes and I loved it. Each girl gets sketchy messages that are creepy and show a clear invasion of their privacy, which upped the stakes for me. Each girl also has a love interest, which was only sometimes interesting. I found some of the romance in this book to be a little unbelievable because I didn’t see why/how these relationships formed, specifically with Akeylah. It seemed like she just had a small connection with the person and then she was infatuated with them. I felt like the other two girls had these clear developed relationships with their love interests and I wanted that for Akeylah as well, so that fell flat for me.

As for the mystery behind who was threatening the girls, I will say the book surprised me. I thought I knew what was going on, but it turned out I actually had no idea, so I really enjoyed that aspect and that’s honestly enough to get me to read the sequel to see how this all ends. That said, this wasn’t really a book I couldn’t put down. It was interesting, but not a nail biter. Still, like I said, I’m intrigued to see what happens next.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow.

Stars:

3 stars

Other Reviews
A Court of Crowns and Quills
Library in the Country
PoptheButterfly Reads

ARC Book Review: What If It’s Us

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Synopsis:

Critically acclaimed and bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera combine their talents in this smart, funny, heartfelt collaboration about two very different boys who can’t decide if the universe is pushing them together—or pulling them apart.

ARTHUR is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

BEN thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them . . . ?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t nail a first date even after three do-overs?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

What if it’s us?

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from Books for Trade. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on October 9, 2018.*

I love Becky Albertalli’s books and I love Adam Silvera’s books so when I heard they were writing a book together I knew I had to have it. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to find a kind soul on Twitter who was willing to trade their ARC with me for my ARC of Save the Date, which is also an incredible read. Thus, I finally got What If It’s Us in my hands and I’m so glad I got to read it early because it was just as good as I thought it would be.

The story is told in the alternating POVs of Arthur, a Jewish boy from Georgia who’s spending his summer in New York City as an intern at his mom’s law firm, and Ben, a Puerto Rican New York City native who’s stuck in summer school with his ex, Hudson. Arthur and Ben coincidentally cross paths when Ben attempts to mail a box of Hudson’s stuff at the post office. Unfortunately, their love story isn’t an easy one and begins with Ben leaving the post office before Arthur could get his phone number.

Even though I wouldn’t call this a high stakes novel since it’s a contemporary romance, I will say I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out how in the world these two guys would ever cross paths again in this huge city. Once they did, I then wondered how they’d ever make their relationship work. Over the course of the novel, there were a lot of questions about fate and whether or not the universe was trying to bring Ben and Arthur together or pull them apart, which I loved.

I also thoroughly enjoyed all the Hamilton and other musical references and I think any musical geek will love this book for that alone. Besides the great references though, this book was also really funny with a great cast of characters. I really loved both Ben and Arthur’s support systems, but Ben’s best friend, Dylan, was hands down my favorite. I also loved that this book took a hard look at Ben and Arthur’s differences. I loved the discussions of race/culture and what it means to be “smart.” I also really liked that the book combated this idea that homophobia doesn’t exist in places like New York City, because it does.

Overall, I will say this book really felt like a perfect combination of Albertalli and Silvera’s talents. While it gave me all the feels, it also made me think, and definitely tugged at my heart strings a few times. In sum, definitely preorder this book if you haven’t already. It’s a must read.

Borrow or Buy: Buy it!

Stars:

5 stars

Other Reviews
Book’s Buzz
Book Dragon Lair
Chasing Faerytales

Diane Guerrero & More In the City This Week (YA Book Events NYC 7/16-7/22)

Happy Monday book nerds! There are a great number of events happening this week. Check out the full schedule below and make sure to follow YA Book Events NYC on Twitter to keep up to date with all the bookish events happening around the city.

Monday, July 16

Launch Event for Letting Go of Gravity by Meg Leder at Books of Wonder (6:30-8 p.m.)

Join Meg Leder as she shares her new novel, Letting Go of Gravity. Free event.

Tuesday, July 17

Launch Event for Campfire by Shawn Sarles at Books of Wonder (6-8 p.m.)

Celebrate the launch of Campfire by Shawn Sarles with a special in-conversation event with Barry Lyga (I Hunt Killers). Free event.

My Family Divided by Diana Guerrero at The Strand (7-8 p.m.)

Join Orange Is the New Black star Diane Guerrero as she shares her biographical book, My Family Divided. She’ll be in conversation with Bustle Books senior editor Cristina Arreola. Free event.