To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

to all the boys

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

This touching, light-hearted romance typifies the reasons I love Jenny Han’s books so much.  There’s romance but it’s always sweet, and the characters feel like real teens without devolving into angst-ridden stereotypes.  In this story, sixteen-year-old Lara Jean writes goodbye letters to all five boys she’s ever loved.

“When I write, I don’t hold nothing back, “she says.  “I write like he’ll never read it.  Because he never will…My letters are for when I don’t want to be in love anymore.  They’re for good-bye.”  When she’s done, Lara Jean seals the letter and puts it in a teal hat box her mother left her before she died in an accident six years ago.  You can only imagine what happens when somehow her letters get mailed and all her secret crushes know her true feelings!  Add to this the fact that her older sister is leaving for college in Scotland, and has broken up with her boyfriend Josh so as to be open to a new life.  The problem is that Lara Jean’s whole family loves Josh, who lives next store, and Lara can’t imagine their life without him.  Did I mention that he was one of the boys that she wrote a goodbye letter to?

I found this book to be utterly delightful.  Han, the author of The Summer I Turned Pretty books, does an amazing job blending love themes with family themes.  I especially appreciate that the writer doesn’t make the father into some type of idiot or villain, the way many YA books do.  He’s just a single dad trying to do his best with his daughters.  I highly recommend this title to readers, even those in middle school, who enjoy realistic stories that avoid sad issues like divorce, sexual abuse, drug abuse and the like.  On a scale of 1-10, I give it a 9!

summer pretty          it's not summer          we'll always have summer

You can click on the first two book titles to see our reviews!

 

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I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

Cammie, a sophomore at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, narrates this story of her adventures at school, which secretly trains girls to be spies.  The outside world, including the local town of Roseville, Virginia, believes the girls are all rich and spoiled snobs. As part of their training, they learn multiple languages, intensive world history, cultures, assimilation techniques and covert operations. On a practice operation in town, Cammie realizes a local boy sees her, even though she’s known as Cammie the Chameleon because of her skill at hiding in plain sight. When he starts paying attention to her, Cammie struggles between building a relationship with him and concealing her true identity. I loved the way Ally Carter made this story funny and seem like it could almost be true. This title is the first of five in the series, and I can’t wait to read the rest of them!

Reviewed by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson

Secrets by Lauren Kunze with Rina Onur

Secrets by Lauren Kunze with Rina Onur

This book in the Ivy series picks up with Harvard freshman Callie Andrews returning to Cambridge from Thanksgiving with her family in California.  Callie is up to her neck in trouble: she’s being blackmailed by her magazine editor who has a copy of an incriminating video of Callie and her high school boyfriend; her perfect Harvard boyfriend Clint has told her he needs “space” from her,  her best college friend Vanessa has disowned her completely, and she’s made a huge mistake with the hottie from across the hall.

This book is just as quickly read as the first one; I read it in a long evening and simply couldn’t put it down.  While Callie and her friends may not be the most realistic portrayal of college students, they sure are the most fun ones I’ve read about lately.  This is the perfect book for summer beach reading, if you’re looking to forget about your own problems for awhile, or if you’re a Gossip Girl or Clique fan.

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

This fast-paced book is the perfect choice for light reading, either between your finals studying or when you’re avoiding school completely.  One of our students compared Godbersen’s books to Gossip Girl but back in time, and she was right.  Her books are full of gossip, rumors, fashion, friendship and romance.  This book takes place in New York City during the the Jazz Age of the Roaring Twenties.  It’s the story of three young women, not even out of their teens.  Cordelia Grey and Letty Larkspur have literally escaped from Union, Ohio, Cordelia from a marriage she felt forced into and Letty from her harsh father and up-at-dawn farm family.  Readers find out Cordelia is looking for the father she never knew while Letty hopes to become a star on Broadway.  Astrid Donal is a stylish, flapper whose mother is on her fourth wealthy husband, and lives a life of luxury.  Cordelia will find out that her father is a wealthy alcohol bootlegger, who lives in a mansion and is thrilled to have her back in his life.  Letty will get a job at at a speakeasy as a cigarette girl, making friends with other young women also seeking their fortunes in the Big Apple.  Astrid turns out to be the spoiled girlfriend of Cordelia’s half-brother Charlie.

The girls’ lives become complicated in ways that are hard to imagine, but I promise you that there is never a dull moment in this book.  As you can probably tell, I loved this book just as much as Godbersen’s previous series called The Luxe, which is about young women in Manhattan during the turn of the twentieth century.  I recommend this title to fans of Godbersen’s earlier books, anyone looking for a light and engaging read, and fans of the Clique series and Gossip Girls.

Here is a LINK to the author’s website, which includes videos, photos, games and even a blog.

Click HERE for a review of Luxe.

The Ivy by Lauren Kunze with Rina Onur

The Ivy by Lauren Kunze with Rina Onur

This irresistible book had me sucked in by the first page.  Really!!! Although it’s basically a chick book like the Gossip Girl series, the main character is a California blond who’s beginning her freshman year at the most prestigious of all the ivy league schools–Harvard.  And she doesn’t fit in at all.  Although Callie definitely has the brains and grades to be at the school, she didn’t go to one of the New York prep schools, doesn’t wear pearls to the dining hall, and doesn’t dress in designer clothes. In fact, she wears jeans, t-shirts and rubber thongs to her first week orientation activities!  In contrast, Callie’s three roommates couldn’t be more different from her.  Mimi’s from France , looks like a model and seems to wake up with a different boy each morning.  Preppy Vanessa dresses in designer duds, and seems to be consumed with finding the hottest boy on campus to brand as her own territory.  Lastly, there’s Dana, the devout fundamentalist Christian from Goose Creek, South Carolina who doesn’t even think girls should date in college.  Add to this the fact that Callie’s longtime boyfriend Evan breaks up with her in a text message during first week of classes, and you can see that the drama in this quick book will be nonstop.

The writers (both recent Harvard grads themselves) take humorous look at various aspects of the ivy experience, from the Final Clubs (secret societies) to the over-the-top parties to the excessive competition to write for one of the school publications.  I have to admit that I could not put this book down until I finished reading it.  It’s not my usual type of genre, but Callie and the whole ivy league college experience, yes I know it is unrealistic, captivated me immediately.  I can’t wait for the sequel to come out!  I recommend this to teen readers who are fans of Gossip Girl, the Clique books, and stories with a lot of drama.

Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky

Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky

When Susan Tate finds out her seventeen-year-old daughter Lily is pregnant, she is shocked.  When Lily tells her that she got pregnant on purpose, and so did her two best friends, Susan doesn’t know where to turn.  This gripping novel tells the story of a teen pregnancy pact from the perspective of the girls’ mothers, as well as their own.  While Lily, Jessica and Mary Kate thought they were taking their own futures into their hands, they had no thought as to how it would impact their mothers, who are also best friends.  What makes this especially difficult for the small Maine town where the families live is that these are “good girls,” with great grades from good families where were planning to go to college in the fall.  Add to this the fact that Lily’s mom Susan is principal of the local high school the girls all attend, and that she herself was unmarried and pregnant at seventeen.  But wait, there’s also a fourth girl who may be involved, the daughter of one of the town’s founders and owner of the company that supports most of the local economy.

This book keep me up until the wee hours of the morning reading it.  I had to know if Susan kept her job, and if Lily’s baby would be OK.  What I especially liked about this book was that it included the mothers and their feelings in the story.  I think this would be a perfect choice for fans of Jodi Picoult and Sarah Dessen.

This is a repost for those folks who don’t read the blog over the summer.  Since then we’ve also gotten some other books by the author: The Secret Between Us, Twilight Whispers and Looking for Peyton Place.

Not My Daughter

Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky

When Susan Tate finds out her seventeen-year-old daughter Lily is pregnant, she is shocked.  When Lily tells her that she got pregnant on purpose, and so did her two best friends, Susan doesn’t know where to turn.  This gripping novel tells the story of a teen pregnancy pact from the perspective of the girls’ mothers, as well as their own.  While Lily, Jessica and Mary Kate thought they were taking their own futures into their hands, they had no thought as to how it would impact their mothers, who are also best friends.  What makes this especially difficult for the small Maine town where the families live is that these are “good girls,” with great grades from good families where were planning to go to college in the fall.  Add to this the fact that Lily’s mom Susan is principal of the local high school the girls all attend, and that she herself was unmarried and pregnant at seventeen.  But wait, there’s also a fourth girl who may be involved, the daughter of one of the town’s founders and owner of the company that supports most of the local economy.

This book keep me up until the wee hours of the morning reading it.  I had to know if Susan kept her job, and if Lily’s baby would be OK.  What I especially liked about this book was that it included the mothers and their feelings in the story.  I think this would be a perfect choice for fans of Jodi Picoult and Sarah Dessen.