May 30, 2014

Wedding Feng Shui by Laura Lau and Theodora Lau

The presence of Capricorn makes you a more cautious Unified Bride than your sister Boars. You feel safe with choosing the traditional route of things, so you'll look to friends who've been recently married for advice. Those closest to you will be your best resource because the Capricorn Boar doesn't build trust as quickly as purer Boar personalities whose kindness can be taken advantage of.
-from Wedding Feng Shui by Laura Lau and Theodora Lau

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 This post is in honor of my sister's wedding today!
Congratulations, Taylor and Isaiah!!

Planning a wedding is probably one of the most overwhelming things anyone will ever do in their life. I think the only thing that trumps planning a wedding is building the marriage and raising children, but in terms of planning an event, it's monstrous depending on your tendencies. Considering I have a mandatory guest list just over 200 and don't plan on spending a year's salary on one day, I try to keep away from books that tell you how you "should" or "should not" do things. It's my day and if I want to have a rehearsal dinner at a pizza parlor, then it's my prerogative. A book should not make me feel bad about myself. But when I found Wedding Feng Shui by Laura Lau and Theodora Lau through the library, I decided to give this book a try because I could definitely use some calming feng shui in my life right now!

I don't really believe in horoscopes, at least not in a super natural sense. I think many horoscopes, namely Chinese horoscopes, are interesting and insightful, but I don't alter my life based on any of it. More than anything I looked at this book as a form of encouragement. I was delighted and surprised to read such dead-on descriptions of myself (see excerpt above), my groom and our interactions with each other in regards to the wedding. And because the insight was so close to home, the advice and encouragement was particularly useful to me.

This book has a lot of interesting history about Chinese horoscope and feng shui, Chinese wedding rituals and customs, along with information of each zodiac animal and corresponding zodiac sign. If nothing else, I recommend this book to be used to look up your individual signs to see if you can find encouragement in the guidance for your animal and zodiac sign. While I probably didn't get as much out of this book as was the intention of the authors, I still enjoyed it nonetheless and it gave me a special calm about moving forward as a Unifier Bride.

Bottom Line: A fun book to check out at your local library if you're planning a wedding. It might give you some encouragement based on your zodiac personality or, if nothing else, be fun to see if your sign describes your wedding planning style. 4/5 stars

May 27, 2014

Mini Review: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

My name is Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered. 
-from The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

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Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones is a paranormal YA novel that explores what happens to 14-year old Susie Salmon and her family after her murder. Narrated by Susie from her perspective in Heaven, Susie watches and guides her family as best she can to her murderer and to their healing in life after her death. I listened to this as an audio book read by the author, which I highly recommend.

The most fascinating part about this book is how it explores the way people handle grief so differently. Susie's disappearance and apparent murder turns her father into a fighter intent on revenge while it makes her mother apathetic, reconsidering her identity as a mother. Susie's sister reinvents herself, her grandmother becomes more responsible and even her friends are changed in different ways. Ultimately the message is that grief changes people, no matter how deeply one is affected. Even Susie grows and transforms in her paranormal struggle to keep in contact with her family. When all these relationships are layed out and explored, it really makes for a well-rounded explication on death.

The one part I did not like is how deeply Susie is able to interact with the living. I won't spoil the way I was mostly irritated, but if you read it I think you will understand. I felt that it cheapened the experience of the book and made it a little too paranormal than it needed to be. I didn't mind the small ways Susie affected her dad and sister, but her interaction with Ray Singh from beyond the grave really disappointed me.

Bottom Line: This is a classic must-read for any contemporary YA lover. I read this in college and was happy to re-read it again via audio book. 4/5 Stars.

May 23, 2014

To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

When I write, I hold nothing back. I write like he'll never read it. Because he never will. Every secret thought, every careful observation, everything I've saved up inside me, I put it all in the letter. When I'm done, I seal it, I address it, and I then put it in my teal hatbox. 

-from To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

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In To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Jenny Han creates a colorful cast of characters that reinforce the importance of effectively communicating emotions. Lara Jean has never had a boyfriend, but she's been in love exactly five times. For each boy that she's loved, Lara Jean writes them a love letter and keeps them in her teal hatbox with no intention of ever mailing the letters or telling the boys how she feels. When somehow the letters get mailed out, Lara Jean is confronted by the boys who receive them, which unfortunately includes her sister's old boyfriend, Josh. Without the help of said sister, who has left for college, Lara Jean must learn for herself how to mature emotionally instead of relying on her family alone.

I cannot express how deeply I was able to identify with this book. Much like Lara Jean, I was too afraid of the emotional repercussions of being in a relationship when I was in high school, so instead I sat on the sidelines and found ways to appease my emotions without involving myself with real boys. I never wrote love letters (and if I did, I certainly would not have addressed them!), but I do have many pictures of my friends posing with the boys I "loved" in the background because I wanted a picture to preserve the experience in a similar way (creepy, right?). My best friend Jenna will also tell you that I was obsessed with Hanson because they were distant enough to be safe; but I digress...

Lara Jean, despite her stupidity of addressing those letters (which I think every review I have read has complained about, too), is a very realistic and likable character. In fact, all of the characters in the book are strong and real. I especially appreciated that every character was so dynamic, none were finite, "all good/all bad".  Han's talent for making realistic, enjoyable characters gives an especially strong platform for their interactions with each other which, to me, really made this book a fun and satisfying read.

There were, however, a few things that I felt this novel was lacking and I think everything could have been fixed with stronger editing. Some of the scenes felt like they could have been cut or at least compacted to make for a more concise story. Similarly, I wanted some things fleshed out more, like the boys Lara Jean "loves" who aren't main characters. I also was disappointed that we didn't get to read all of Lara Jean's letters, only a few. I think a good editor might have brought attention to this and how it just made the story feel incomplete. And I know I'm bringing this up a third time, but maybe Lara Jean could have mentioned the necessity of addressing those letters! ;) Maybe in the sequel there will be some mention of that.

Overall, I really enjoyed To All the Boys I've Loved before. It was one of the most fun and refreshing new released I've read this year and I cannot wait to continue Lara Jean's story when the sequel comes out. The ending was a bit abrupt for my liking which makes me almost wish I waited a year to pick this one up! This was the first book I've read by Jenny Han and I am excited to read more of her work!

Bottom Line: If you love romantic YA, this is the book for you! Sweet, emotional and wonderful characterization make this a quick read. I think it could have been combed through by an editor another time or two, but it works. 4/5 Stars.

May 22, 2014

The One by Kiera Cass

 This isn't happily ever after. 
It's so much more than that.
-from The One by Kiera Cass

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Amazon | Goodreads

*This review contains spoilers for The Selection and The Elite, both by Kiera Cass*

In the highly anticipated conclusion to The Selection series by Kiera Cass, we find America Singer one of four girls left in the competition to be the next princess of Illea by marrying Prince Maxon. While America has struggled with whether or not she loves Maxon and belongs in the competition or not, we find her stronger and more intent on winning in this final installment. But with aggressive competition from the three other finalists and fearsome attacks from rebels affecting the castle more than ever, America finds herself fighting for more than what she bargained for.

It's no secret that I had some issues with The Elite, the second book in this trilogy; it was lacking in storyline and centered almost solely on America's vacillating feelings about Maxon. Well, let me tell you: Cass more than made up for the dull middle book with a gripping conclusion filled with action, romance and tons of drama. This book is so much more fast paced than the previous books giving the series as a whole a much more substantial climax and conclusion than I was honestly expecting.

In addition to the strength of pacing, Cass also gives more depth to America's story in The One. We watch America grow more into herself, instead of pacing around wondering how she feels about a boy, she begins to think bigger and focuses on how to help her country. Similarly, America's relationship with the other finalists matures which really gives a new dynamic to the superficial Bachelor-esque premise of this book. America blossoms into a girl who cares about all the relationships in her life, not simply whether or not she loves a boy.

America isn't the only person who matures. Maxon and even Aspen show new sides that perhaps we wouldn't have expected when we began this journey with them. Instead of focusing so heavily on Maxon vs Aspen, I felt like this book really centered more on Maxon vs King Clarkson, shedding light on how the country could be run in contrast to its current condition. There is a lot to be said about Illea as it is and what could be improved upon, and the consideration Maxon gives his father's reign in light of his relationship with America changes everything.

My only complaint is the stand off America and Maxon basically have over who will say the big L-word. At some point it gets almost as irritatingly superficial as the lack of action in most of The Elite. While I'm glad they're both responsible enough not to just throw out, "I love you" without thinking, it becomes more of a power struggle which didn't feel much like love at all. In the grand scheme of all the action, this wasn't a deal-breaker for me, but if you aren't a fan of all the time spent on romance then you might not be a huge fan (although, if that's the case you probably never picked up this series in the first place!).

While you might be able to suspect the end game to The Selection series, the route Cass takes you on to get there is anything but predictable. With everything that can go wrong, there are twists and turns throughout this entire novel to keep you thoroughly entertained. Fans of The Selection series will not be disappointed to follow along with America during this conclusion of her journey.

Bottom Line: As far as series enders go, this was one of my favorite conclusions! If you're a fan of The Selection you will not be disappointed! 5/5 Stars as a series conclusion.

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I was lucky enough to meet Kiera Cass on Tuesday night at Barnes and Noble in Los Angeles and she was a total sweetheart! I realized I'm probably too old for YA events now (as Kevin  Emerson put it: he's too old and surly to sit and write in coffee shops-- well, I'm too old and surly for the YA crowd!), but I'm glad I got to meet Kiera and get all of my Selection books signed! 

Spring TBR List Checkpoint #2

With one more month left in spring, I am slowly but surely chipping away at my TBR list. I think these checkpoints have been especially helpful! Here's what I have left:

I've finished: Just One Day and Just One Year by Gayle Forman, Legend, Prodigy and Champion by Marie Lu, To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han, and The One by Kiera Cass.

I've also finished a bunch of others books not on this list.

Hopefully I can get these 3 read before summer! I think there's hope for me to finish a seasonal TBR list yet! ;)

May 19, 2014

Monday's Reading Recap

Bout of BooksCan I just say how proud of myself I am for completing my read-a-thon goal?! I know it wasn't lofty: to read 3 books, 1 of which comes from my TBR Pile Challenge list- but at least I succeeded! After barely getting through a book a week the last month or two, this challenge really helped me refocus on my goals for the year and catch up a little bit.

The next Bout of Books read-a-thon is August 18-24, so mark your calendars!

Last Week I Finished Reading: To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han, The One by Kiera Cass, Are You There God? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume and Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

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This Week I Plan on Reading: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart and The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman

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This Week I'm Sharing a Review For: To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

May 17, 2014

Bout of Books Read-a-thon Checkpoint #3

Bout of Books

Goal: To read 3 books, including 1 from my TBR Pile Challenge list.

So far I have finished three books from my list: To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han, Are You There God? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume and The One by Kiera Cass. However, I have not finished a book from my TBR Pile Challenge list. I'm starting to understand why all of those books go unread-- because I never feel like reading them! I am in the middle of Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry, but it's not as great as The Giver, so it has been a rough go. Hopefully I will get through it by the end of the read-a-thon and be a true success!!

P.S. A very special and happy birthday to my dear friend, Frances! I know getting a shout out on my book review blog is not nearly as cool as getting a shout out on the Troubadour's newsletter, but it's all I've got! If I don't finish reading Gathering Blue, it's because we were having too much fun celebrating Frances tonight in LA! :)

If you're participating in Bout of Books, how are you coming along?

Late Morning Update: I did it!! I finished Gathering Blue which means I have officially reached my Bout of Books Goal! Yay! This read-a-thon always helps kick me into gear and I hope you had success if you participated in it also! 

May 16, 2014

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

I couldn't be kind to him after what he'd done, couldn't be cruel after what I had done
-from Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

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I love re-told classics and fractured fairy tales, so this rendition of Beauty and the Beast really excited me to read! Spinning the classic fairy tale with heavy mythology, Rosamund Hodge's Cruel beauty follows the fate of Nyx, a girl who was sold by her father to marry the evil Ignifex. Her entire life she has been trained on how she might be able to seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle and break a curse on her people. She is their only hope. But as Nyx begins uncovering the secrets of the castle and becomes more drawn to Ignifex, she begins to see that things are not always as they seem. Nothing is simply black or white, good or evil, love or hate and that only makes it more difficult for Nyx to find her way out.

I have very mixed feelings about Cruel Beauty and I think most of them are because it is so heavy with mythology. While I have nothing against mythology, I'm just not very into it or well-versed in it, so I think that took a lot away from my experience reading. However, I strongly feel that if you are a huge mythology fan, you will adore this book! In fact, you will probably get so much more out of it and recognize much more symbolism and literary allusion than I noticed. Overall, the story is great, but there was just too much time spent explaining mythology for my taste.

While I didn't love the mythology element as much as I was probably supposed to, I was able to appreciate that this is a grown up fairy tale and a very unique take on a popular story. Where most fairy tales dwell on good versus evil, Cruel Beauty highlighted that we are all both good and evil. Even Ignifex, who is supposed to be the embodiment of evil has many redeeming qualities about him and shows this through his actions. I really enjoy when books break the myth that things are all good or all bad; life is full of grey-area and this book did a great job of exploring that. Nyx was not a typical fairy tale heroine; she acknowledged the poison in her heart and yet she still let goodness lead her on her journey.

Bottom Line: A very unique re-telling of Beauty and the Beast intertwined with a lot of mythology. If you aren't a huge mythology fan, you might find some of the content a little taxing, but it's still very interesting and adds to the story. I highly recommend to anyone who loves re-told classics! 4/5 Stars

May 15, 2014

Bout of Books Update #2

Bout of Books

Goal: To read 3 books, including 1 from my TBR Pile Challenge list (2/3 complete)

So far I have finished two books from my list, To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han and Are You There God? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume (which I don't remember if I had ever even read!).  I am totally straying from my original list, but oh well! So long as I get my 3 books read, right? I think I'm also trying to read estrogen-charged YA books with super long titles... ;)

Last night I started reading Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry which is on my TBR Pile Challenge List. My local library is also transferring The One by Kiera Cass to me now, so hopefully I will get that one by the end of the week, too! 

If you're participating in Bout of Books, how are you coming along?

May 13, 2014

Bout of Books Update #1 + Challenge

Bout of Books

Goal: To read 3 books, including 1 from my TBR Pile Challenge list 

So far I have finished one book from my list, To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han (and I loved it!). Right now I'm trying to figure out what my next book will be because I want to enjoy it as much as I did my first book. I forgot to pick up The One by Kiera Cass when I was at Target yesterday, so now I'm kicking myself for the delay. At least I've got one down! ;)

If you're participating in Bout of Books, how are you coming along?

River City Reading has a fun challenge going on today where you list Books You're Most Looking Forward to. Here's my list (in order of anxiety induced anticipation): 
  1. Winter by Marissa Meyer (2015)
  2. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (2015)
  3. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (August 2014)
  4. Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle (October 2014)
  5. Just One Night by Gayle Forman (May 2014)
What books are you waiting for? 

May 12, 2014

Monday's Reading Recap

Bout of BooksI am amped up and ready for the Bout of Books read-a-thon!! What about you? Are you participating? I highly recommend it as a way to focus on your reading goals and help give you the push you need to realign yourself. I have been successful with the past two Bout of Books, and I hope this week is no different!

My Bout of Books goal is to read 3 books, 1 of which comes from my TBR Pile Challenge list, so here goes nothing! :)

Last Week I Finished Reading: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

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This Week I Plan on Reading: To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han, The One by Kiera Cass and The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. Honestly, I may totally stray though!

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This Week I'm Sharing a Review For: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

May 9, 2014

Just One Year by Gayle Forman

The devastation caught me off guard. There's a difference between losing something you knew you had and losing something you discovered you had. One is a disappointment. The other is truly a loss.
-from Just One Year by Gayle Forman
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Amazon | Goodreads

This review kind of contains spoilers for Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Willem spent one day in Paris with a girl he nicknamed Lulu, but after they were separated he can't stop thinking about her. Gayle Forman's Just One Year is Willem's story of the events that transpire the year after their one day together. From having to face his father's death, to dealing with his emotionally detached mother, and never being able to let go of "Lulu", whose real name Willem doesn't even know; Willem journeys through self-discovery over the course of a year very similarly to Lulu in a love story that's more about loving one's self more than romantic love.

This was one of the most difficult books for me to rate since it took me more than three weeks to read because I just was not feeling it. I don't think I care enough about Willem, or Lulu for that matter, so I never fully attached to this series (Duo? Couplet? What do you call 2-book series?) the way it seems everyone else did. And I cannot understand why because for the most part Willem and Lulu are pretty realistic and likable. I think that theirs is a smart and responsible love story and I commend Forman for not just writing about what is essentially love-at-first sight superficially (like so many other love stories). The writing is solid, the characters throughout are great and the arc is fine- but it just didn't click with me. However, because I think this is more just my attention-span than any issue with the book, I do think it deserves 4-stars. Does that even make sense? I hope you understand.

I think my biggest problem with this series is that I felt like I was blindly led into a story and I really didn't know where it was going to go beyond the one day in Paris. It made me realize that as a reader I like an itinerary: I like the synopsis to lead me at least halfway through a book and by the time the unexpected comes, I want to be so captivated that the characters or plot can carry me the rest of the way. Both Just One Day and Just One Year were solid books, but all I knew was that I was going to have to follow Willem through a whole year and, not really caring much about him in the first place, I was instantly bored.

However, Willem's story isn't boring (which makes this the most bipolar review I've ever written). There is a good arc that leads him to self-discovery, introduces new characters, and helps him understand his relationship with his strange mother. Unfortunately for me, I was better able to appreciate the arc at the end of the story and not knowing where it was going while reading was not as interesting to me. Even when I expected to find his overlapping destinations and feelings with Lulu to excite me, I was just kind of resigned as a reader. Fortunately I wasn't so resigned that I missed the Adam Wilde reference, that was pretty clever of Forman.

Perhaps I would have enjoyed this book better if Willem's story was written within the same book as Lulu's story so that their missed connections would have been more pronounced. But I also do appreciate that their stories are separate to reinforce their individual journeys. I truly think I am just outside the norm in not loving this book, but I have to understand that I'm not going to love all books just because everyone else does. That's the beauty of reading and why there are so many millions of books in the world. This book isn't bad, but I wish I would have maybe invested my time in something I would have loved more.

Bottom Line: Great characters, strong writing, wide arc - but somehow this one missed the mark for me. I can't quite explain it because I can tell you all the ways it was a great book, but some books just don't hit everyone the same way. I recommend this to you if you enjoy stories of self-discovery in the midst of romance, especially if you love reading about world travel. 4/5 Stars.

May 6, 2014

Mini Review: One More Thing by B.J. Novak

If you love something, let it go. If you don't love something, definitely let it go. Basically, just drop everything. Who cares.
-from "If You Love Something" in One More Thing by B.J. Novak

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One More Thing is B.J. Novak's collection of funny and insightful short stories that will have you laughing out loud and considering things about human nature and the human condition. The lengths of the stories range from many pages to just a few sentences, but all of them contain a bizarre realism with ideas and themes that are just left-of-center but not too far to misunderstand.

I listened to the audio book in just one day and it was thoroughly entertaining. Most of the stories are read by Novak himself, but he also gets help from some friends which include Mindy Kaling, Rainn Wilson, Katy Perry and Lena Dunham. My favorite story was "Missed Connection", and it might be my favorite because it was read by Kaling and reminded me so much of her character on The Mindy Project. I also enjoyed the fractured fable "The Rematch" which explores what happened after the tortoise beat the hare in that infamous race. "I Never Wanted to Walk on the Moon" was another story I really enjoyed because it was so relatable (seriously, visiting the moon just sounds like no fun to me!).

Some of the longer stories were more difficult for me to maintain interest in because of my short-story attention span. This is no discredit to Novak's storytelling, but more a judgement on my part. It's just that when my brain is in short-story mode and the story goes on and on and on, I kind of tune out, especially with an audio book. I probably shouldn't admit this. ;)

Bottom Line: This is a wonderful collection of funny and insightful short stories and it is highly entertaining. I would even recommend this as a book club book because there are a lot of ideas to talk about. 4.5/5 stars.

May 5, 2014

Monday's Reading Recap & Bout of Books Goals

Oh hi, remember me? I haven't done a reading recap in awhile because I kind of haven't been reading! Terrible, I know! But with my sister's wedding this month and my wedding in less than six months, I am kind of going crazy. Mostly I have been working on my fitness and it's kind of hard to read while you're walking or doing the machines at the gym (unless it's on a treadmill).

Bout of BooksBut with the Bout of Books Read-a-thon coming up next week, I am hoping to change that and get back into the swing of things! I have some great books in my queue to start and my goal is to read 3 books over the course of the read-a-thon, one being from my TBR Challenge List. I know it's not a lofty goal, but considering I only read 4 books in all of April, anything would be helpful to push me right now! :) There is also an author event at my local Barnes & Noble promoting The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon on paperback, so I hope to read that to see if I would want to go.

Last Week I Finished Reading: One More Thing by B.J. Novak
(Technically I also finished Just One Year by Gayle Forman, but I had anticipated finishing that way sooner and I already mentioned it last recap post. This is what's wrong with scheduling recaps! ;x)

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This Week I Plan on Reading: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black and To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

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This Week I'm Sharing a Review For: Just One Year by Gayle Forman

May 2, 2014

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

And that's when I understand that I have been stained. Whether I'm still in love with him, whether he was ever in love with me, and no matter who he's in love with now, Willem changed my life. He showed me how to get lost, and then I showed myself how to get found.
-from Just One Day by Gayle Forman

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Imagine if you had one day in a foreign country with a gorgeous total stranger. That's what 18-year old Allyson Healey gets in Gayle Forman's Just One Day. Allyson is a rule follower who lets everyone else dictate her life's course until a fateful day on a post-graduation international trip when she meets Willem, a handsome stranger who offers to take her to Paris for just one day. Allyson blossoms into a bolder version of herself with Willem that raises the question of who she is and what she wants to do with her life. 

I'll admit, this book was not what I was expecting and that kind of affected my rating. I was anticipating a mildly-gushy super-romantic international love story, but the love story between Allyson and Willem only lasts about a third of the way through this book. The rest of the read I found myself asking, "Where is this story going?" way too much that it got kind of annoying. Hopefully my review will help you fill in the gaps the synopsis leaves out so that you will understand that this is not a story of romantic love, but actually self-love. 

I found that I could identify enough with Allyson to understand her and I think most girls who went through the challenges of not quite figuring out their identity in high school will be able to identify similarly. Allyson's love for herself is practically non-existent at the beginning of this story, but she also doesn't know if she's "Lulu", the version of herself Willem identified her with. Once I was able to deny my expectations of romance and see that this book was more an explication of Allyson's growth and self-love I was better able to enjoy it. 

Allyson's apathy toward her life and/or her fear of failure and making poor decisions are just the superficial problems she has. She doesn't know how to stand up to her parents because she feels responsible for their happiness, namely her mother's. She doesn't know how to be a friend or participate in life because she's mostly just watched. It's fun to see Allyson blossom and, through new people and experiences, learn to love herself. 
My favorite thing about this book was the use of Shakespeare. I think Forman's usage of various Shakespearian plays really helped to reinforce the themes of false identity and pretending to be things that you simply are not. Shakespeare comes full circle and after reading this book I want to rush out and see a live performance of As You Like It. I think most Shakespeare loving English majors will also adore this aspect of the story, especially because it adds so much to both the arc and themes.

I can't say much about Willem because I don't want to spoil anything, but I highly recommend having the sequel, Just One Year, beside you once you finish this book. Unfortunately, I did not and I really wanted to continue the story! 

Bottom Line: This is not simply a romantic love story, it's much more than that. This is a story about finding who you are and loving that person, not pretending to be something you're not. If you like YA stories about self-discovery, travel, and love, you should definitely read it! 4/5 Stars