Just Me by Deidre Huesmann, Roxas James, Kate Larkindale, Medeia Sharif Publication Date : April 17th 2020 Publisher : Evernight Teen Genre : Anthology / YA / LGBTQ Pages : 205 Stars : ★★★★★
Love is in the air…
JUST ME is a hand-picked collection of stories about self-discovery and being true to yourself. This LGBTQ+ young adult anthology is not afraid to take on real issues facing today’s teens.
“Witty, fast-paced, and well written.”
Wilde Girls by Deidre Huesmann Broken Rules by Roxas James Bullet Me by Medeia Sharif We’ll Always Have This by Kate Larkindale
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review. Many thank to publisher. ***
Just Me was collection four lovely and refreshing YA, LGBTQ stories. It was about feelings and life of queer young adults that included problems they face in the world, self-identity as queer for first time, their feelings on coming out to world and family, accepting and expressing true feelings, love, friendship and family.
1. Wilde Girls by Deidre Huesmann
Wilde Girls was first person narrative from Aislynn’s perspective. She was fiery and wild girl who expressed her feelings and thoughts openly. I loved character description. Rosella was amazing old lady and I loved her flower shop. That’s where Aislynn met Phoenix, not first time, of course! They had a history, Aislynn hated Phoenix for her crappy behavior in school but as they started working together things changed. Phoenix was passionate fashion designer and all girly, opposite of Aislynn but equally fiery and wild. I loved her confession and development.
This was enemy-to-lover trope with a bit clinched arc but I still enjoyed the story of Aislynn and Phoenix. End was sweet, cute and lovely. A perfect opening story.
2. Broken Rules by Roxas James
Bastian woke up naked after party. He didn’t remember who he slept with until his friend told her and Colin came to talk to him. Narrated from Bastian’s POV in his refreshing voice, made story enjoyable. I loved him, his family and best friend. I didn’t like the way Colin broke his heart. I felt for Bastian and I was angry for him but at the end when Colin stood up for Bastian, I loved him. It was best part of the story.
Broken Rules was lovely romance with heartbreak, and discovering gender for first time, first time reaction and doubts. Importance of giving self-discovery a time and think through all aspects before you come out to world and decide to date.
Only thing was, I would have like to know what was Abby’s issue.
3. Bullet Me by Medeia Sharif
This was my most favorite story. Lonnie was lovely creative girl who was amazing at journaling her life. She had crush on her friend and classmate Ezzie but she never told her. She didn’t came out in her school and family, only her parents knew about her love for girls. She put her feelings for Ezzie in journal. Her journal craze was infectious and I loved her from very first page of this story. When Richie started to mess with her one day, her happy school day turned depressing. His act exposed Lonnie’s feeling. It turned out good for her, but I felt mad at him. What Richie did was horrible. But, I’m glad there was so much positivity in this story.
Bullet Me was really amazing story with message of supporting fellow students, standing up against manhandling, harassment and perverts mistreating girls; about positivity of journaling, how it’s therapeutic, helps in organizing thoughts and feeling.
4. We’ll Always Have This by Kate Larkindale
This last story was so emotional. It was Leo and Jack’s love story that started at heavy and sad time and place, at hospital. Leo was there as her brother Chris tried to kill himslef and Jack was there as his father was dying and he had no one else after his ex-boyfriend left him. While sharing a coffee and night alone, they got to know each other, told their story and felt connection and spark in just two days which brought huge change in both of them.
I loved the way Leo narrated her family’s issues, introduced each brothers and her father, her feeling for Jack and how she felt first time being attracted to a boy. When I knew her whole story, it brought tears in my eyes. Jack had his own issues with his father which was not as serious as Leo’s but I felt for him too. It made me think how parents’ action affect kids in worst way. Love between Leo and her brothers was amazing. I loved and felt for all characters in this story.
End was great with finding hope and love amidst dark time of life. I wish there was more to this story and I could know if there was happy ending and not just for Leo and Jack but for all Leo’s brothers.
Overall, each story in Just Me was compelling, fast paced, engaging anthology with lovely romance, interesting characters, and amazing message. I highly recommend this book.
Hello Readers! It’s a release day of AS MUCH AS I EVER COULD by BRANDY WOODS SNOW and please to be part of Release Day Blitz. Check out book snippet and my review in this post.
Cover Designer: Jena R. Collins/JRC Designs
As Much As I Ever Could by Brandy Woods Snow Publication Date : May 26th 2020 Publisher : Filles Vertes Publishing Genre : YA Contemporary Romance Stars : ★★★★★
Seventeen-year-old CJ Ainsworth doesn’t drive—not because she can’t, but because she won’t.
She’s been living with the guilt of being the sole survivor of the head-on collision that claimed her mother’s and sister’s lives. It’s the reason she refuses to get behind the wheel. It’s the reason her father has nearly abandoned her. It’s the reason she’s sent to piddle the summer away at her estranged Memaw’s house in Edisto Beach.
All CJ wants to do is isolate herself and make it to the trial at summer’s end, where she’ll testify against the stranger who couldn’t keep his car in its own lane.
She doesn’t expect to fall for a boy, especially not Jett Ramsey, a hotshot racing champion destined for greatness on the NASCAR circuit.
CJ’s resolve crumbles when she loses a bet that puts her squarely in Jett’s driver’s seat. While he patiently reintroduces her to driving, they confide in each other, and CJ learns she’s not the only one silently suffering through a loss.
As their connection deepens, Jett’s focus on the track is called into question. CJ can’t be the cause of another car crash, but her heart is broken either way. Can CJ learn to put her heart in drive? Or will she throw it in reverse?
A summer away at Memaw’s can’t rectify everything that fell apart in a single minute, but that won’t stop my dad from forcing it on me.
My fingers wrench tighter around the handle grip of Dad’s Ford Explorer as he hugs the center line, tires thumping over golden reflectors in waves and shooting vibrations through my seat. I glance over my shoulder to make sure the door lock is crammed to its neck into the tan vinyl interior. Not that it’d make a difference if he were to flip this thing head-over-end into the muddy goop of tidal flats along either side of the road. If a body’s going to exit a car in a hurry, it sure as hell won’t wait for an unlocked door.
These kinds of thoughts never shoved their way into my brain before the accident. Now they circulate like a washing machine stuck on the spin cycle.
I sigh and yank my phone off the dashboard. 4:15 PM. Only ten more minutes to get my summer of hell underway.
A notification blinks on the home screen. One new email from Trent Casey and all I can see of it is “CJ, things have changed so much this last year that I think…” Inbox preview cruelty at its finest. A little sneak peek of my on-again, off-again boyfriend kicking me to the curb because I’ve been too screwed up to screw him the past year. Not that I’d screwed him before, or anyone else for that matter.
I toss the phone in the cup holder and stare over at my dad in the driver’s seat, his eyes fixed and hooded as if in a trance. He hasn’t spoken in over a hundred miles, but I’ve strategically coughed from time to time to make sure there’s at least a reaction to the noise, and he’s not comatose or something. Plus, it’s easier than actually talking, and it warrants no response from him. Win-win.
Dad flips on the blinker, its dink-doonk, dink-doonk, dink-doonk signaling a right turn. Into where I have no idea, and unless Memaw has taken up living in a dilapidated open-air shack, he’s seriously misguided. He pulls into one of the ten open parking slots, demarcated by rows of conch shells instead of actual painted-on lines. How beachy of them.
Dad lets the engine idle, sliding his phone from the pocket of his polo and pecking out a text message without so much as a word or glance in my direction. I unlatch my seatbelt and open the door, easing out onto the hot, gritty sand, which creeps into my sandals and scratches at the skin.
“Where are we?” When he doesn’t respond, I step beside the open door, banging my hand on the window. “Dad, where are we?”
“Edisto Island, of course,” he mumbles, never looking up from his phone, his fingers still moving furiously over the screen.
I point to the rectangular banner draped atop the entrance with what looks like a hand-stenciled Welcome to Edisto Beach, SC! in blue paint. “No shit. I mean, what is this place?”
“Watch your mouth, CJ. I’m still your father.” He finally looks up long enough to glare across his steering wheel at the banner, squinting as if it’s written in some foreign language before looking back at me. He waves his hand around. “We’re obviously at the market.”
The entrance isn’t a single open-close door but one of those garage-style deals that pulls down from the ceiling. Oyster shell wind chimes tinkle in the breeze. I take a deep breath, the briny air expanding in my lungs and coating my skin, and somehow start imagining myself as one of those slugs we used to find on the back porch at home and pour salt over. Almost immediately, their slimy little bodies would foam up and implode, turning into a dried-up crispie we’d flick off in the grass the next day. Maybe that’ll happen to me, and I can simply shrivel up and disappear.
Dad gets out and lifts the back hatch, and I walk to meet him, giving an extra foot shake on each step to loosen the stowaway sand from my sandals.
“But why are we here?”
“This is where Memaw’s picking you up.” He hauls out my two large suitcases and sets them under the overhang. “She’s running late, but she’ll be here within the next twenty minutes.”
“And you’re just gonna leave me here?” I thumb over my shoulder.
He stares at me as if I’ve just asked for an explanation on the meaning of life, standing like a statue except for the front flip of his thinning auburn hair that tousles with the breeze. That hair, along with his chocolate brown eyes and freckles, are the only things we even share anymore. Everything else is gone. Evaporated.
“Don’t be dramatic, CJ. I have a long drive home.” He slams the hatch, walks to his still-open driver door and slides in behind the wheel. The passenger window rolls down part-way. “I’ll see you at the end of summer. Bye.” The words scarcely exit his lips before the window’s rolled up and he’s peeling out of the parking lot on two wheels as if he’s off to a five-alarm fire.
Wow. Truly heartfelt. I think he might miss me. I lock my jaw, forcing my quivering stomach back in its rightful place. Part of me loathes him for just dumping me here. The other part understands, though. He hates me for what happened and wants me gone too.
I can’t blame him for that.
Awards, Recognitions, and Reviews:
Second Place, YA Contemporary – NEORWA’s Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest
Second Place YA Contemporary – Music City RWA’s Melody of Love Contest
“A swoonworthy summer read with a hopeful lesson about how to move forward without fear.” – Kirkus Reviews
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review. Many thank to publisher. ***
As Much As I Ever Could was wonderful YA contemporary romance that revolved around CJ grieving loss of mother and sister in accident. It was about getting over loss, giving second chance to life and love, learning to love yourself again, accepting the reality than running away, forgiveness, friendship, family, and racing.
Writing was smooth, gripping, and emotive. Loved the setting of Edisto Island, community, and Memaw’s sea themed house and its description. It made me want to pack my things and move in with her for whole summer. There was everything one want in YA contemporary. There was drama, family issues, friendship, car racing, rivalry, teenage angst, romance, misunderstanding, and development.
As Much As I Ever Could started with CJ’s father dropping her at Edisto Island with her grandmother for summer and left without even a goodbye. She was there until the date of trial in August. She expected to spend summer locked in room with her guilt and try not to think about accident. But it didn’t turn out as she thought. Within few minutes she made new friends (Gin and Bo), met hot dude (Jett) who was trouble, and grandma full of life who gave new house rules- Live life, get drunk, and fall in love. It made me instantly like her grandma. She was fun. When CJ lost bet with Jett, made her spend more time with him, and learning to drive again, slowly they formed a connection and fell for each other. I was curious to see where this new found relationship will take her, can she ever be confident to drive again and what will happen when Rachel’s, (Jett’s racing partner) threat comes true.
First of all I loved that cover and all characters’ name. They were all shortened but I l loved original names.
I loved CJ (Camelia Jayne). First losing mother and sister then estranged father who exiled her to live with grandma she hardly knew, guilt of overcorrecting her car that resulted in flip and ultimately death was gnawing from within and anxiety never left her fully whenever she was in car… She was going through a lot. No wonder she wasn’t ready to love herself or someone else or drive car again. I could feel her pain and fear but I loved it when she gave Jett and Memaw a chance to bring back happiness in life. I felt so sad when she once again had to face her fears, angry at Rachel for implanting that doubt and at Jett for not focusing on his racing properly and saying those nasty words. Her development was amazing. I admired her for listening to her father, reconsidering her belief, making right decisions, and living life once again.
Jett (Jarrett) was great throughout the book. He was handsome, confident and charming hero who loved racing and lived life at fullest. But unlike his racing partners he wasn’t haughty or showoff. He had trust issues because of his family and that caused a bit drama in the middle of the story and at climax. But I liked how he took CJ’s advice and learned from his father’s mistake.
All side characters were amazing. Gin (Ginny Lee) was lovely girl, I would love Bo (Beauregard) as brother and I want Memaw in real. I liked the way Jett’s parents and CJ’s dad changed at the end. I even enjoyed drama Rachel, Trevon and Tyler added to the story. The way CJ made up with Em and that surprising entry of Trent made it interesting. They all were perfect cast and made story refreshing, dramatic, fun, and lovely.
Chemistry between Jett and CJ was natural, hot and swoon worthy. They both felt connection very early in the book but romance built gradually. All moments they spent together, secrets and pain shared was heartwarming.
It was so sad to see fear, misunderstanding, and accident breaking them apart in climax. The situation was written well. I couldn’t pick a side, they both were right in their own way. CJ’s dad surprised me in this part and I loved his last effort that ultimately break through CJ and helped her in facing the trial. I loved her speech there and what she decided to do. End was perfect. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Overall, As Much As I Ever Could was compelling contemporary with refreshing characters, summery setting and amazing emotional rollercoaster. I highly recommend this book to fans of YA Contemporary.
Brandy Woods Snow is a Young Adult author, journalist, wife, mama of three, Christian, and proud Southerner. Born and raised in the area of Greenville, South Carolina, she still resides in the rolling foothills of the Upstate region, though she plans to one day retire to the state’s famous Grand Strand. Brandy has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Writing from Clemson University. While creative writing pursuits have always held her heart, she’s built a career as a journalist and editor. Brandy has more than 19 years’ experience and a strong platform that includes articles and columns published in Delta Sky Magazine, Greenville Business Magazine, Columbia Business Monthly and Home Design & Décor Magazine (Charlotte and Raleigh). Currently, she also works as the Marketing Manager and an Acquisitions Editor for Filles Vertes Publishing.
Her first novel MEANT TO BE BROKEN was published by Filles Vertes Publishing in May 2018, and she has a short story featured in FVP’s LOVE ON MAIN anthology, forthcoming in February 2020.
When Brandy’s not writing, reading, spending time with her husband or driving carpool for her three kids, she enjoys kayaking, family hikes, yelling “Go Tigers!” as loud as she can, playing the piano and taking “naked” Jeep Wrangler cruises on twisty, country roads.
All the Pretty Things by Emily Arsenault Publication Date : March 17th 2020 Publisher : Delacorte Press Genre : YA / Mystery-Thriller Pages: 352 Stars : ★★★☆☆
For fans of Sadie and The Cheerleaders comes an all new thriller about a boy who turns up dead under suspicious circumstances and the one girl who may be the key to solving the mystery of his untimely death.
For Ivy, summer means roller-coaster season, spinning cotton candy at the Fabuland amusement park, and hanging out with her best friend, Morgan. But this summer is different.
One morning, Morgan finds a dead body. It’s their former classmate and coworker Ethan. To make matters worse, Morgan is taken to a hospital psych ward only days later, and she’s not saying much–not even to Ivy.
The police claim that Ethan simply took a bad fall, but Ivy isn’t convinced and realizes it’s up to her to get answers. What she finds is unsettling–it’s clear that some people aren’t being honest about Ethan’s last night at Fabuland. Including Morgan. And the more secrets Ivy uncovers, the closer she gets to unraveling dark truths that will change her life forever.
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***
All the Pretty Things was YA small town mystery that revolved around Fabuland amusement park, Ethan’s death and reason behind Morgan’s silence. It was about workplace harassment, health risks at amusement park, motivated perception and ignorance.
Writing was easy, intriguing and good but not best. Setting of Fabuland- amusement park in small town, Danville was fabulous. Story was first person narrative from Ivy’s POV.
All the Pretty Things started with Ivy receiving news about her best friend- Morgan. She discovered dead body of coworker and classmate on her way to Fabuland. Soon they found Morgan but she wasn’t herself and was admitted in psych ward. She wouldn’t talk to anybody, not even to Ivy. She just vaguely pointed her questions about Ethan’s death. To find out what happened to Ethan and how it affected to Morgan, Ivy carried out her own investigation. And what she found out in process was disturbing that might change her life. The story was all about what was the mystery behind Ethan’s death and Morgan’s distressed state, Why she would shut out her best friend, and what Ivy discovered at the end.
Mystery behind Morgan’s state was clear. I could figure out what might have happened to her. Within few chapters I also could see who might have caused her distress. As for Ethan’s death that was tricky in first half but easy to figure in second half. First half was all about introduction of Fabuland, Ivy’s family, her friendship with Morgan, Fabuland employees who were mostly young high school students and Ivy’s class mates, her father’s nature and dreams, and mainly Ivy’s investigation. This part was a bit slow.
Characters were interesting but not in depth. We see the world and characters through Ivy’s eyes and we know them only with their connection to mysteries so it was really hard to know or connect with characters, even with Ivy.
Ivy was okay, she was mostly playing Nancy Drew and piping her thoughts on what she found out. I couldn’t exactly say if she liked working at Fabuland or not or if she was working their out of love for her father- It seemed like combination of all of these. I didn’t like her for judging her brother as he didn’t came back to work at Fabuland and for taking side with her father without knowing whole story. At one point she was developed for her age- responsible daughter and helping her father and other employees, while at some point she was naïve and saw the world and her family’s issue through what she perceived as child during her parents’ divorce. And I can’t imagine how she couldn’t see her father’s vulgar language and behavior. One thing I liked was her reaction to truths she discovered. It was realistic and her decision at the end was perfect.
Best part of the book was setting. Amusement park was described wonderfully. Roller coasters, carousel, spin rides, cotton candy, ice cream parlor, food zone, water rides, princess parade, and sparkly doughnuts- All The pretty Things were there at this park. And I loved new ideas in promoting the park, fun activities and giveaways. And beneath those pretty things there was darkness and shadiness that made the story atmospheric. I liked the way author represented workplace harassment and possible health risk and accidents at amusement park. Through Ethan’s story it was also shown importance of health assessment and parent permission for under age kid before giving them job.
In second half, Ivy not just solved mystery of Ethan and Morgan but also reason behind why her brother Jason wouldn’t join them this summer and never work for their father. Winnie’s story and revelation at climax was perfect. Loved Ivy’s development and the way she accepted her ignorance and took right step at the end. End was perfect. I loved that big revelation just before end, slight different from what I guessed but I enjoyed it.
Why 3 Stars-
It wasn’t exactly thriller. I would say it was more like cozy mystery with a bit darkness. Plus it was easy to predict who was culprit because there was only one person who behaved wrong and inappropriately.
Dialogues were not good. All conversations started with huh, uh-huh, umm…! I lost count how many times these words were used. It really made conversations dull.
As I said above in characters part, there was no feel or connection to characters. Book was first person narrative but I know and see everyone else except main character. Maybe because it was more plot driven but characters were important part so I was expecting to know them better, at least Ivy and Morgan.
Overall, All the Pretty Things was simple and quick read with had great setting and interesting plot but predictable and not exactly a thriller. If you want an easy mystery, love amusement park and mystery in it with a little creepy feel, go ahead.
Hello Readers! Today is cover reveal for Lyrics & Curses by Candace Robinson and happy to share beautiful cover and synopsis of this new YA paranormal romance.
Lyrics & Curses by Candace Robinson Series: Cursed Hearts Duology Publisher: Filles Vertes Publishing Publication date: November 10th 2020 Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Lark Espinoza could get lost in her music—and she’s not so sure anyone in her family would even care to find her. Her trendy, party-loving twin sister and her mother-come-lately Beth, who’s suddenly sworn off men and onto homemaking, don’t understand her love of cassette tapes, her loathing of the pop scene, or her standoffish personality. For outcast Lark, nothing feels as much like a real home as working at Bubble’s Oddities store and trying to attract the attention of the cute guy who works at the Vinyl shop next door—the same one she traded lyrical notes with in class.
Auden Ellis silences the incessant questions in his own head with a steady stream of beats. Despite the unconditional love of his aunt-turned-mother, he can’t quit thinking about the loss of his parents—or the possibility he might end up afflicted with his father’s issues. Despite his connection with lyric-loving Lark, Auden keeps her at arm’s length because letting her in might mean giving her a peek into something dangerous.
When two strangers arrive in town, one carrying a mysterious, dark object and the other playing an eerie flute tune, Lark and Auden find that their painful pasts have enmeshed them in a cursed future. Now, they must come to terms with their budding attraction while helping each other challenge the reflection they see in the mirror. If they fail, they’ll be trapped for eternity in a place beyond reality.
To Lark: Lyrics from “Under Pressure” – Queen, David Bowie
“Just One Kiss” pulsed through Lark’s headphones as she hopped onto her bike and headed to work. A motorcycle would’ve been ideal, but her old-fashioned, rusty bicycle worked just as well. She preferred the term rustic.
Halfway out of the trailer park, she slammed on the brake pedal and plopped her feet to the cement to keep from tipping. Her mop of curly brown hair swung forward as she reached into her large jacket pocket to pull out her second-hand store Walkman. She pressed the stop button, bringing the band’s chanting to an end.
“Sorry, boys, this won’t do it for me today.”
Lark shifted her backpack, and her cluster of tapes clacked. She performed a mystery grab and quickly exchanged The Cure for The Pretenders.
“Brass in Pocket” drifted through her ears. The singer, Chrissie, knew just how to get Lark in a focused mood. And focused was what she needed today since she was going to impress a boy named Auden by wearing something outside of her baggy comfort zone. Besides that, today was her best friend Imani’s last day at work.
Maybe “Under Pressure” would’ve been a better song choice.
She pedaled her way through the scorching heat to the store—beads of perspiration gathered on her forehead and hands, more so from nervousness than the temperature. It might’ve only been the end of June, but in Texas, the sun’s rays liked to go ahead and start frying people a little early. Lucky for Lark, she didn’t get hot so easily.
Her bike wheels vibrated over the uneven parking lot as she pulled up to the gray-and-white painted strip mall. A large black sign with the name Bubble’s Oddities scrawled across, along with a picture of a skull and bubbles, loomed from in between the other stores. The owner, Jimbo, had originally named the store Oddities when he’d opened it a few years ago, but had thought adding the name Bubble’s to the title would draw more people in.
He was right.
Lark supposed people were attracted to the idea of happy, soapy spheres floating majestically through the air as opposed to having zilch—she sure was.
She pressed the brakes once she made it beneath the overhang. With a hard push on the rusty kickstand, she glanced up at her shop’s window, catching sight of the Help Wanted sign. The glass was black on the outside, yet clear on the inside. No one could peer in, but whenever she was inside the store, she could see all. A lot of people did interesting things when they thought no one was looking.
Lark stepped off the bike and slid her hands in the pockets of her heavy black jacket. The single piece of cloth was her security blanket, and she felt naked without the thing—whether the world was hot or not, she’d be seen wearing it.
Biting her lip, she avoided glancing at the music store for the time being because she wasn’t ready to face a certain boy just yet. Her heart pumped a little harder. “Calm down, you troublesome heart,” she whispered.
Before she could head inside Bubble’s, something caught her eye from the right. She slowly turned her head in the direction of the laundromat, just past the music store where Auden worked. Her stupid heart accelerating even faster as she thought it could be him. Instead, her brows lowered a fraction when her eyes focused on a man wearing all black—a pork pie fedora hat, ski mask, trench coat, and gloves.
Candace Robinson spends her days consumed by words and hoping to one day find her own DeLorean time machine. Her life consists of avoiding migraines, admiring Bonsai trees, watching classic movies, and living with her husband and daughter in Texas–where it can be forty degrees one day and eighty the next!
Hello Readers! I received the sneak peek of this book from the publisher. It was pre-approved NetGalley widget so I thought why not try it and give it star prediction. Here is a little about book and what I thought about it after reading few chapters.
The Best Laid Plans by Cameron Lund Publication Date : April 7th 2020 Publisher : Razorbill Genre : YA / Contemporary / Romance
High school senior Keely Collins takes on firsts, lasts, and everything in between in this sweet, sex-positive rom-com for fans of Meg Cabot and Jenny Han.
It seemed like a good plan at first.
When the only other virgin in her group of friends loses it at Keely’s own eighteenth birthday party, she’s inspired to take things into her own hands. She wants to have that experience too (well, not exactly like that–but with someone she trusts and actually likes), so she’s going to need to find the guy, and fast. Problem is, she’s known all the boys in her small high school forever, and it’s kinda hard to be into a guy when you watched him eat crayons in kindergarten.
So she can’t believe her luck when she meets a ridiculously hot new guy named Dean. Not only does he look like he’s fallen out of a classic movie poster, but he drives a motorcycle, flirts with ease, and might actually be into her.
But Dean’s already in college, and Keely is convinced he’ll drop her if he finds out how inexperienced she is. That’s when she talks herself into a new plan: her lifelong best friend, Andrew, would never hurt or betray her, and he’s clearly been with enough girls that he can show her the ropes before she goes all the way with Dean. Of course, the plan only works if Andrew and Keely stay friends–just friends–so things are about to get complicated.
Cameron Lund’s delightful debut is a hilarious and heartfelt story of first loves, first friends, and first times–and how making them your own is all that really matters.
The Best Laid Plans started with Keely’s birthday party, organized by her best friend Andrew at his home that ended with only other virgin girl from Keely’s friend circle losing her virginity. Now Keely was only virgin left in high school and everyone including Keely were making it big issue. Apparently parents found out about party and as punishment they told Andrew and Keely to find a job for summer before college start. Andrew secured one at his uncle’s office that left Keely finding one for herself with help of Hanna- her second best friend. Luckily they found a sign of employee needed at video store where the hottest college junior of the town worked.
From first 6 chapters I read and from synopsis, I can tell where this was going, how messed up and complicated it will get. Probably this is friends-to-lover trope and is about Keely’s plan to get laid before college starts.
I liked Hanna and Andrew. Danielle was not likable. She was proud and didn’t value her friends. I didn’t like her comment on virginity. She said “virgin in college is like having a disease”, just because she now regretted losing it and didn’t even noticing it was making Keely uncomfortable. It was strange Keely felt so insecure and left out in these initial chapters. I understand her doubts and question but at the same time I wish she didn’t think it as something one should achieve before attending college. I hope there is development in rest of the book and she realize it shouldn’t be a checkbox in list and understand love and respect should come first.
So far, The Best Laid Plans sounds interesting and entertaining YA contemporary romance. Star prediction for this book – 4.