Always and Forever, Lara Jean is
the third and final installment of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved
Before series. Lara Jean is finally a senior in high school and is happier than
ever in her relationship with Peter. She is also eager that her dad is getting
remarried to their neighbour, Ms. Rothschild, and her sister Margot will be
coming home in time for the wedding. Despite the immense fun that Lara Jean is
having, the difficult decision of where she wants to go to college still weighs
on her mind. She worries about how her decision may affect her relationship with
Peter. Will Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship last? Will Lara Jean ultimately
decide to follow her heart? Find out in Always and Forever, Lara Jean.
Overall, this book was very well written, and I loved it very much. It was a great ending to an incredible series. Out of the three books in the series, this one was my favourite. I was engaged the entire time and enjoyed the mature themes within the novel. I loved how Lara Jean and Peter both were not perfect, however, their relationship was very beautiful and real within the series. When you are reading, it feels as if you are Lara Jean, and you are experiencing everything she is. Lara Jean is a character that has become very close to my heart. Jenny Han did an amazing job creating such a heartwarming series. I highly recommend this book and wish that there was a part 4!
Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio are two teenage boys who discover they
only have one day left to live. On September 5 at midnight both Mateo and Rufus
receive a call from Death-Cast, a company that is able to predict the deaths of
individuals. The boys learn that they are now Deckers, someone who has only
twenty-four hours left to live. Instead of living out one’s final day alone,
the app Last Friend helps lonely Deckers find someone to spend their last day
with. Through the Last Friend app, Mateo and Rufus meet and spend the day
accompanying each other. The boys’ lives change throughout their unforgettable
day together and last great adventure.
Overall, They Both Die at the End was an emotional and inspiring novel. Even though the title directly tells readers what to expect, the heartwarming journey the characters embark on is definitely worth reading. The title caught my interest immediately was the reason I was intrigued to read this book. From the touching storyline, I was thoroughly impressed and could not put the book down. There are multiple side characters within the story, and I enjoyed reading the different perspectives. While reading, you can feel all of the emotions the characters are feeling, from their happiness, love, pain, and anger. The novel shows readers how a stranger can completely change your life as Mateo and Rufus changed each other. I love how this book teaches the readers to be grateful for every moment in life and to live life to the fullest.
In Ben Philippe’s latest book, Charming as a Verb, it appears as though everything that comes easily to you is actually really difficult. Henri Haltiwanger seemed to have life in the palm of his hand at first look. He is a first-generation American, the son of devoted Haitian immigrants; he is a thriving student at the renowned FATE Academy, where he is well-liked; and he operates a dog-walking service for New Yorkers. The one thing he desires more than anything else is to attend Columbia University. It’s also his father’s ambition for Henri too, so there’s extra pressure and concern about whether he’ll be accepted.
Enter Corinne Troy, a fellow student and neighbour who is not pleased with Halti. She is highly gifted and “intense,” and when she finds that Halti has been operating his dog walking company, she blackmails him into helping her become more likable among the student body. Corinne eventually becomes nice to be around, and she and Halti begin to depend on each other more and more, sharing their personal difficulties and worries. She encourages Halti to see what his aspirations may be rather than what he believes they must be just for his family’s sake, and they both let down their guard to allow one another in. Things go wrong when Halti snaps under pressure. It’s time for him to show that he’s more than simply a charming guy who desperately wants to rediscover himself. This was a wonderful read for me. Charming as a Verb really captured the pressures that teenagers face during high school, particularly the children of immigrants. Definitely a book you don’t want to miss!
I was first intrigued in Opposite of Always
because I saw that Angie Thomas, one of my favourite authors, had commented
that she thoroughly enjoyed this book. I can confirm that this book is one of
the best love stories I have ever read. Justin A. Reynolds has done a beautiful
job with this novel. When reading the back of the novel, you might think that
it could come across as a bit “sci-fi,” but I guarantee it isn’t like that at
Opposite of Always
follows the story of two teenagers, Jack and Kate. When Jack and Kate meet at a
party, they are instantly compatible. Jack feels as though he might be falling
hard for this girl. Soon enough, Kate is meeting Jack’s best friends, Jilian
and Franny, who she wins over just as quickly as she did Jack…
But then Kate dies. Typically this is where the story
would end, but no. Kate’s death sends Jack right back to the party where they
met. Jack thinks he might be losing his mind because there is Kate standing
right next time him, breathing, alive and healthy. Jack doesn’t know what is
happening, but if he has the chance to save Kate, he will take it. Will he be
able to save Kate, or will their story end just as abruptly as it did the first
This novel is funny, heartfelt, beautiful and everything in between. I strongly suggest this book to any YA reader or even a young teen who loves unexpected love stories. Justin A. Reynolds had me hooked right from the first sentence all the way to the last. This book is definitely one of my top three favourite books that I have read. I look forward to reading more books by this amazing author.
Made in Korea is billed as a rom-com, and it delivers with a hilarious and dynamic he-said/she-said dual narrative centred on two Korean American teenagers. Valerie is an ambitious and resourceful young woman with a keen business sense, whereas Wes is less assertive and socially awkward but still astute in his own right. The plot in K-drama is worthy of the top, with twists and turns as the story unfolds. Valerie and Wes are in this stage where they are supposed to want the other person to fail but can help but respect and even be in love. The enemy is borne with grace and humour by the lover’s trope. What gives me great joy in this book is that the lighter rom-com elements are based on a more serious topic. Both Valerie and Wes desperately long for their parent’s approval and support throughout the story. Valerie is always in competition with her older sister, while Wes’ dad demands that he search for a stable field, even if that means him throwing away his dream of becoming a musician.
These conflicts deepen the motivation of the protagonists in their competitors and create common ground for their flourishing friendship and eventual romance. Furthermore, the romance that blossoms between the characters were beautiful. I enjoyed the tenderness of their attraction to one another contrasted with the vulnerability of their relationship and opening themselves up due to their competitiveness. Overall, this was a great book to read, both in terms of premise and character, and it’s one you won’t want to miss!
Parachutes is a book about opposite worlds. Clarie and Dani, two girls who are so alike but couldn’t have been raised more differently, struggling with trying to figure out who they are while battling wealth, power, friendship, and trauma. They are asked how much they are willing to pay for freedom and how far they will really go for the life that they want. This story is told from the POV of Clarie “parachute” from Shanghai and Dani, the host sister in California. Based on the cover, I was expecting a story about high school drama. While this story is about high school students, it actually addresses themes as they traversed the toxic environments the girls are in: classism, sexism, racism, and xenophobia. This was a really powerful and important YA story.
The book focuses on many issues that are really relevant to high school and college-aged students today. There are warnings at the beginning of the book because two of the topics are sexual harassment and sexual assault. I wouldn’t recommend this book for a young teen. But this book is not graphic, and I think that this book tells two important stories. There is some romance in this book. But it is woven in between the more important issues that the author focuses on. I was invested in both girls’ stories. I was fascinated by Dani and her debating team, and I was really interested in Claires and the fact she was sent to the US on her own to study. It was very interesting to read the author’s note and see how her own experiences mirrored some of what was in the story. This was such a moving and emotional story. I really enjoyed it.
On the Come Up by
Angie Thomas follows the story of sixteen-year-old Bri, who wishes to be one of
the greatest rappers of all time. Coincidentally, Bri is the daughter of an
underground hip hop legend who sadly passed away before achieving stardom. To
catch the big break her father never could, Bri tries to win her first rap
battle. However, it’s hard to get one’s “come up” when you are labelled a
hoodlum at school and your mom loses her job. With these frustrations pilling
up in her head, Bri focuses her anger into her first song, which ends up going
viral for all the wrong reasons…
This is the author’s second novel, and I thought it was
absolutely phenomenal. I highly recommend it, especially to anyone who likes to
or have ever dreamt about writing songs. Angie Thomas was a rapper before she
became a world-famous author, and I think it shows in the tone and writing
style she chose for this novel. It’s completely different from anything else I
have ever read!
This book is not a sequel to The Hate U Give (THUG), so no pre-requisite reading is required! However, if you have read THUG, you will also appreciate the linkages between the novels as the characters in either book live in the “same world”. In THUG, we get introduced to the King Lords and Garden Disciples rival gangs, but the focus of the story is on the King Lords. In On the come up, we get a totally different perspective, and we fall in love with characters from the Garden Disciples!
The Hate U Give
(also referred to as THUG) is Angie Thomas’ first novel. It was also the first
book I read from this author, but it wasn’t the last as I since devoured
everything else she wrote!
THUG follows the story of sixteen-year-old Starr Carter,
a young teenager who lives in “two worlds”. The first being her poor
neighbourhood, where she lives with her mother, her father and her two
brothers. The other world is the fancy suburban prep school she attends. These
two worlds are completely shattered when Starr’s childhood best friend, Khalil,
is shot to death right in front of her by a police officer.
Khalil’s death soon becomes a national headline. Due to
the cause of his death, multiple protests take place to avenge Khalil. Because
Starr was there when Khalil was killed, she is getting asked questions left,
right and center by anyone and everyone. She doesn’t feel as though anyone can
truly understand what she is going through. In a situation like this one, what
Starr does or doesn’t say could ruin her community as well as endanger her
Angie Thomas is definitely one of my favourite authors. She writes her novels in such beautiful and unique ways. Specifically in THUG, she makes us acutely aware of what life can be for a Black teenager and makes us feel a wide range of emotions from anger and frustration to amusement. I think that any teen or young adult reader will really enjoy this book. You might or might not know this, but THUG was made into a movie. Though the movie is good, I think the book is better. I definitely recommend reading the book before watching the movie.
Concrete Rose is
the prequel to Angie Thomas’s first novel, The Hate U Give (THUG). It
doesn’t matter if you have read THUG or not prior to picking up Concrete
Rose because it stands beautifully on its own.
This book follows the life of Maverick Carter, a
seventeen-year-old boy whose father is a former gang legend. To help his mom
pay the bills, Maverick starts dealing for the King Lords. Maverick feels as
though he has it all figured out, that is until he finds out that he is a
father. Suddenly, Maverick needs to learn what it means to be a man. Even after
the loss of a loved one. As we follow the main character on his journey to
fatherhood, we fall in love with Angie Thomas’s writing. It’s funny yet
serious, romantic yet realistic. It’s very relatable and gives a strong sense
of what life could be like for a teen parent.
For those who have already read THUG, you will
appreciate all the small linkages and references back into that story. For
those who haven’t read THUG yet, an interesting cliffhanger awaits at the end
of the novel!
I think that any teen or young adult reader will enjoy this book. I read it in three days, even during school hours, as I could barely put it down! This is even a book I’ll enjoy re-reading!
In their childhood, Quentin and his neighbour Margo
stumbled upon the dead body of a man who had shot himself in the park. Margo’s
investigation of his death evoked a love for mysteries that is still present
today. Fast forward to the current day, and Quentin’s dreams of going to prom
with Margo are far-fetched, considering she rarely speaks to him. However,
during the middle of the night, only a couple of weeks before graduation,
Quentin hears a knock on his window and finds Margo standing outside. They
spend the entire night carrying out an extreme revenge plan on all of Margo’s
enemies, and Quinten believes the chance to befriend his now solitary neighbour
is much closer than before. Plans are made to meet up at school the following
day, yet Margo never shows. It is not uncommon for Margo to disappear, and she
often leaves clues of where she has gone. The significance of this
disappearance, however, is that the clues are specifically intended for
The story of Paper Towns tells the adventures of
Quentin and his friends on the search for his runaway neighbour in hopes of
finding her before they graduate from high school. What the future holds for
them is unknown, but what Quentin does know is that Margo only wants to escape
Orlando, Florida, what she considers to be a ‘paper town’.
Paper Towns is a captivating novel that combines contemporary romance with mystery and suspense. I loved the structure of the novel, and I found the characters to be very relatable. The plot was intriguing and fast-paced, creating a book you do not want to put down. I would highly recommend this novel to teens interested in contemporary fiction and mysteries.