Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Title: Tell Me Three Things

Author: Julie Buxbaum

Published: 05 April 2016 | Delacorte Press

Date Read: 16 April 2017

Synopsis:

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.

Tell Me Three Things is probably one of the fastest book I’ve read this year. I read it about a week ago, in one sitting (roughly 4-5 hours) and GAAAAAA I’m totally fan-girling about this book because it was so so so good and amazing!!!

“My mom once told me that the world is divided into two kinds of people: the ones who love their high school years and the ones who spend the next decade recovering from them.”

Jessie’s first week at her fancy new school was a disaster. Transferring from Chicago to Los Angeles, it’s been a huge transition. Add in the fact that her mother died two years ago, and her dad remarried a fancy-rich girl from LA. It’s been a rough start for Jessie. Until she received an email from an anonymous person who refer to himself as “Somebody/Nobody or SN”. As SN said, navigating the wilds of Wood Valley High School ain’t easy and that’s the reason he initiated sending an email to Jessie to help her navigate the jungle in the concrete city.

I loved Jessie. She’s an amazing character. She’s still grieving the loss of her mother (she actually know the exact number of days since she died) and I do feel her pain, hurt and anger. As the story progress, we get to know who Jessie really is. She looks strong and confident on the outside but inside she’s trying her best not to show her weaknesses. I love her wit and intelligence. She’s one of the most amazing characters I’ve read.

The secondary characters also played an amazing part in the story. Dri, Agnes and even Theo – Jessi’s new step-brother, I have come to love as well.

Of course, the story will not be complete without the romance and I enjoy each page of that said romance. I enjoy how Jessie and SN’s virtual relationship really worked. Their connection is palpable and I really enjoy their everyday conversations especially when they started this tell-me-three-things game.

I’m also hooked with the whole chase on who really SN is in real-life. I have my suspects or erm guesses who SN really is that’s why I’m quite afraid if it isn’t who I thought it is. But luckily, my guess is right!!! Yay!! I loved SN and I can say that I loved who he is IRL (if that’s not spoiling or anything). Another plus point for me is that there is no love triangle or any complications like that. The romance is linear and I loved it and I’m swooning over it!

“Were all better versions if ourselves when we get extra time to craft the perfect message.”

I really admire the overall message of the story about familial relationships as well as school relationships. Overall, I totally enjoyed each page of Tell Me Three Things, I will definitely be on the look out for the future works of Julie Buxbaum.

PS. Before reading this, I just finished Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda and I’m surprised that I’ll be facing another story with a virtual romance but I’m not surprised that I loved it just as much as I loved Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda. *wink*

Blog Tour & ARC Review + Giveaway: How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Title: How to Make a Wish

Author: Ashley Herring Blake

Published: 02 May 2017 | HMH Books for Young Readers

Date Read: 29 April 2017

Synopsis:

All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.

Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.

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Ashley Herring Blake’s debut book Suffer Love has been a remarkable read for me last year. I loved how uniquely the plot of that book was written as well as the characters. That’s why I made it my mission to ensure that I’ll get to read her upcoming novels as well.

I’ve read my fair share of diverse books but this is the first F/F YA story that I’ll be reading. I don’t know what to expect. I’m excited and curious all at the same time. How To Make a Wish is another remarkable story given by Ashley Herring Blake about two-girls who found each other on what may be the lowest points of their lives.

Grace is channeling all her focus in finishing High-School and soon going to a top music school in New York to do what she loves – playing the piano. I really admire Grace’s character. She’s smart, talented, strong-willed and dedicated. These were shown thru her passion in playing the piano, her relationship with his friends and her mother.

“I can’t leave her. She’s my mom; I’m her kid. We belong together.”

Grace and her mom doesn’t have the perfect relationship. Grace’s mom, Maggie is spontaneous, reckless, unreliable and unpredictable leaving Grace into the mother role of their so-called mother-daughter relationship. The way their relationship was written is raw, heartbreaking, painful and real. I literally shed a tear or two after reading several events between Maggie and Grace that are literally sad. With these events shown, we were given a window to see why Grace is feeling the way that she’s feeling – her anger, sadness and helplessness. I really admire her strength as a teen and her love for her mother.

Eva, on the other hand is grieving. She’s grieving the loss of her mom. She’s running from her own demons. I actually had a hard time getting to know Eva. The book already ended but it feels like I still don’t know her that well. Which I think could’ve been remedied by giving her a chapter or two because it feels like I only saw glimpses of her and her life.

“Up there, I didn’t belong to a messed-up mother. She wasn’t the grieving daughter. We were just Grace and Eva.”

“Just Grace and Eva. Two girls who need to feel young and free, need to feel like girls. Need to scream from the top of a lighthouse and eat peanut butter out of a jar and swear and accidentally brush up against each other and giggle about it. “

Grace and Eva are cute together. The chemistry is there! I love their moments in the lighthouse where they are simply Grace and Eva.

The main thing that makes this book stand out is the author was brave enough to introduce us to a set of characters that are not afraid of their sexuality. The main characters Grace and Eva are both bisexual. I really appreciate how real the sexuality of Grace and Eva were portrayed in the story. I also kind of like how we’re saved from all the “coming-out” stuffs because their family and friends easily accepted them. This part was thoughtfully written.

The set of supporting characters that this book has was also easy to love. Luca – Grace’s best friend was so charming. His mom Emmy has been a great help as well. I even ended up liking Jay Lanier!

The storyline flowed smoothly. The setting was dreamy as well – the little coastal town of Cape Katie. And above all, for me, the author well portrayed the F/F relationship in the story.

Overall, How To Make a Wish is a very heartwarming story. The ending was inspiring. It leaves us a very good note of accepting and loving who you really are and who you’re friends and love ones are. And, believing that dreams do come true. You just surely need to chase them.

“If you really want something, baby, the stars won’t help you. You have to reach out and take it.”

 

Ashley Herring Blake is a reader, writer, and mom to two boisterous boys. She holds a Master’s degree in teaching and loves coffee, arranging her books by color, and watching Buffy over and over again on Netflix with her friends. She’s the author of the young adult novels SUFFER LOVE and HOW TO MAKE A WISH.

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Review: Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

Title: Written in the Stars

Author: Aisha Saeed

Published: 03 May 2016 | Speak

Date Read: 14 April 2017

Synopsis:

A heart-wrenching tale of forbidden love

‘A wonderfully complex love story unlike any you’ve read before. Saeed has given a novel that is both entertaining and important.”—Matt de la Peña, New York Times bestselling author

Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.

Written in the Stars is a touching and moving story about a Pakistani girl and her conflicts with her parents and their culture.

“You can choose what you want to be when you grow up, the types of shoes you want to buy, how long you want your hair to be. But your husband, that’s different. We choose your husband for you. You understand that, right?”

Nalia is a Pakistani girl living in the USA. Her parents are cool with her going on a normal American High School and even being friends with a girl that is an American. But one thing her parents instilled in Nalia’s mind is they are going to choose who she’s going to marry. However, what Nalia’s parents doesn’t know is that she’s already in a romantic relationship with another Pakistani boy from her school – Saif.

“Getting to know family I’ve never met, exploring a part of the world I’ve never seen-suddenly spending a month in Pakistan doesn’t feel daunting at all.”

After Nalia was caught with Saif on the day of their senior prom, her parents took her and his brother on a month of vacation in their home country Pakistan. This is actually an interesting part of the story as we get to see and picture the local Pakistani life. But then a month was extended for a week then a week then another week…

“My uncle locked me in a barred room. My parents drugged me and forced me into this marriage. I didn’t think anything could get worse, but today, for the first time, I know what it feels like to be completely broken.”

Written in the Stars is a very heavy and heartbreaking story for me. I find myself getting teary-eyed and even shedding a tear or two with everything that happened. I can’t believe how things went thru. To force her to marry someone is something; but to let her marry someone while she’s drugged is so much worse. That is just too drastic! I understand cultural stuff with arranged marriages, but does that really have to happen? Can parents be that cruel? Nalia was given no choice at all.

Nalia is a good narrator. Her story shoots straight to the heart. I really admire her strength after everything that happened. The strength that she has to make it and live each day regardless of the circumstance that she’s currently in. Yes, she could’ve done more to get out of the situation that she’s been into but in the end, she’s just a normal teenager who relies on her parents and relatives for everything – not knowing these people she’s relying into are the one’s who’s going to push her into this unwanted life.

The pacing of the story was fast. The pro to that is I easily finished reading the story. The con is that it seems to skip several details that I’m really interested to know more about especially on the latter part of the story. Plus, the last chapter seems to end abruptly as well. Though there is an epilogue, I didn’t get the chance to really appreciate it because the last chapter left me a bit hanging. It seems that the epilogue was included just to say that the story did have a happy ending.

Another thing is, I would’ve wanted to know more about Saif – aside from him being Nalia’s boyfriend. It would’ve been nice if we could read about his side especially during the time he and Nalia were separated.

As the author said on the notes at the end of the book, though Nalia’s story was fictional, the reality of forced marriage not only in Pakistani culture is very true. I just hoped for a lighter way of telling it.

In all, Written in the Stars is a very compelling, thought provoking and eye opening story that your diverse hearts will surely appreciate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARC Review: The End of Our Story by Meg Haston

Title: The End of Our Story

Author: Meg Haston

Published: 04 April 2017 | Harper Teen

Date Read: 13 April 2017

Synopsis:

Meg Haston’s romantic and thrilling new YA novel explores a star-crossed high school relationship in a tale rife with deeply buried secrets and shocking revelations.

Bridge and Wil have been entangled in each other’s lives for years. Under the white-hot Florida sun, they went from kids daring each other to swim past the breakers to teenagers stealing kisses between classes. But when Bridge betrayed Wil during their junior year, she shattered his heart and their relationship along with it.

Then Wil’s family suffers a violent loss, and Bridge rushes back to Wil’s side. As they struggle to heal old wounds and start falling for each other all over again, Bridge and Wil discover just how much has changed in the past year. As the fierce current of tragedy threatens to pull them under, they must learn how to swim on their own—or risk drowning together.

*ARC Kindly provided by Harper Teen thru Edelweiss for review*

It’s been a day since I finished reading this book and still I’m having a hard time grasping for words on how to describe how I felt when I’m reading it and after reading it. I’m having a hard time right now choosing words and thoughts without spoiling anything. I’m happy, surprised, baffled and I don’t know. My thoughts and feels are everywhere. But one thing I’m certain about is I do enjoy reading The End of Our Story.

For some, breaking-up is the end. But for Bridge & Wil, it’s just the beginning.

Bridge & Wil has been best friends since they are young. Best friends whose feelings for each other turned into something more. They are solid: snack-dates, school dances and first kisses. It took them years to get to that point and it all vanished because of a very unwanted situation.

I like Bridge & Wil. Together and/or separately. Bridge is our female lead who’s very easy to read and like. She’s an open book. I like how she appreciates her mom, brother and best friend Leigh. Wil is our male lead with penchant for making boats. They are not perfect. They are your typical teenagers who make mistakes and learns from it.

“Tragedy is a powerful magnetic force. It either draws people in or pushes people away.”

A year after they parted ways, a tragedy hits Wil’s family. Bridge knows for certain that she needs to help Wil. Not knowing that in just 1 year that they are apart a lot  has changed.

Just when I thought the story would focus more on the break-up of our two main characters, I was proven wrong. The story focuses more on the familial and social aspects. What happened with Bridge & Wil was revealed on the early part of the story and after it was revealed, more thought-provoking & stay-in-your-seats scenes begins to happen.

The sudden turn of events got my heart racing so fast wanting the pages to turn faster to get to the end of it. Plus, there are literally a lot of emotional blows over the course of reading this book.

I don’t know the technical term to use but I really love how the story was written. I guess we can call it lyrical or just plain catchy? (please feel free to correct me here) Each word just flows. It took me half-day to finish reading this and it was one of the fastest reading I have done!

I also appreciate the alternating POV’s on each chapter as well as the alternating timeline. Though it may come quite confusing at times but it gives me as a reader a glimpse of the past which makes us understand the current happenings.

“I don’t think you have to understand every little corner of a person to love them, I think you can love them first, and you spend the time you have trying to learn the parts you don’t know.”

In all, The End of Our Story is a powerful and heartbreaking story about life realities, family, choosing who you really are and doing the “right” thing for the sake of you loved ones. The ending left me quite hanging but I guess that is the best way to end it because in that way we have enough space for possibilities on the future of Bridge & Wil.

Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Author: Becky Albertalli

Published: 07 April 2015 | Balzer + Bray

Date Read: 13 April 2017

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts and write-ups from my bookish friends gushing about Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda. I’m scared to read it because of the “hype” it is surrounded with especially now that it is being made into a movie. But after several hard teasing and egging, I finally pick this one up and read it and OH MY GOD I’m literally so happy that I finally read it!!

“And you know what? You don’t get to say it’s not a big thing. This is a big fucking thing, okay? This was supposed to be—this is mine. I’m supposed to decide when and where and who knows and how I want to say it.”

Simon Spier – sixteen-year-old, high school junior, Harry Potter fan, Oreo Lover and Gay. But no one knows about that last part. Yet. Simon is a very likeable and charming character. He’s the type of gay that I really wanted to be friends with. He’s fun, smart and have a great sense of humor.  From the very first chapter, we already saw him struggling with the personality he’s trying to hide to his friends and family. But there is a little sunshine on Simon’s life – his email chatting buddy under the pseudonym – Blue.

That is until he finds himself being blackmailed by his classmate Martin. Martin discover Simon’s secret when he accidentally stumbles into Simon’s open email account at the Library Computer Hall. He’s threatening to post the emails on the school Tumblr page if Simon will not agree to fix him with Simon’s close friend Abby.

To say this book made me smile from beginning to end is an understatement. I devoured each page. I feel myself getting more and more excited as the story goes.

I really ate up and love the mystery that is Blue – the smart, grammar nerd who Simon has been chatting with. I don’t have even the littlest idea who Blue is (the reveal was so surprising) and I guess that makes my reading experience more exciting.

Though the only communication they have is thru their email exchanges, Simon and Blue have a lot of cute and adorable moments. I’m living with their email exchanges and salivates over their talk and common love for Oreos. Simon feels that he can be his real self with Blue. He finds himself confiding and telling cute random things to Blue. Their email banters are everything! I always do the “squeee” expression especially when there’s some flirting going on. *wink*wink*

Aside from our two main characters, Simon’s friends and family also played a huge part in the story. I really appreciate the unique characters of Nick, Abby and Lea. I do love Simon’s family – his parents and sisters – and their love for TV Shows and random family games and activities. These people made Simon’s coming out easier than he thought so. I really appreciate the support and the acceptance that they have given him. Without any questions.

“People really are like houses with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.”

Another thing I really liked about reading Simon vs The Homo Sapiens agenda is there no unnecessary big drama, unwanted turn of events or whatsoever. It was straight up to the point of the story which is all about Simon, Blue, their family, friends and school.  It is a great LGBT story that offer us a window for the voice of the teens on the same situation as Simon and Blue.

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens deserves all the hype and attention it is getting. A definite must read for everyone. Now that the movie is in the works, I’m so excited to see all the characters I met here really come to life.

ARC REVIEW: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Title: Hunted

Author: Meagan Spooner

Published: 14 March 2017 | Harper Teen

Date Read: 08 April 2017

Synopsis:

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

* ARC Kindly provided by Harper Teen thru Edelweiss for review *

Disclaimer: It took me a very very very long time to finish reading Hunted and I’m the one to blame or erm my busy work schedule. As much as I love the whole concept and the story of Hunted I feel bad for not having the chance to immerse myself fully into reading this. Due to my busy schedule, I only get to read a couple of pages and bits and pieces from time to time. But anyway, I finally finished it and I was able to write a review as well so here it goes.

Hunted is a tale as old as time. A retelling of one of my favorite fairytales – Beauty and The Beast. A very intriguing fantasy story about Beauty and the Beast set it the wilderness and snow. The release date of Hunted is very timely for the release of the new movie adaptation and I’m overflowing with love and happiness that is all about Beauty and the Beast.

“The depths of the wood were dangerous, far more deadly than the more commonly hunted perimeters of the wilderness.”

Ever since she’s a little girl, Yeva thrives on freedom and exploring the wilderness. She felt more comfortable being near nature. She seeks more from the daily norm of her life. But something dangerous lurks in the forest and when her father went missing Yeva hunts down the dangerous creature that might have gotten into her father. But what she finds is not quite what she’s expecting. He’s a Beast that supposed to be without a heart not a beast with a penchant for the stories she’s telling and cares for her.

Like Yeva, The Beast wanted freedom. Freedom from the curse that he’s been into. They are both trapped into something unfortunate and they must find a way out of it.

I love Yeva. She’s not an ordinary heroine. She is fierce, brave, selfless and will do anything and everything for her family. I really appreciate the familial bonds presented in the story. Yeva, Lena and Asenka’s loving relationship as sisters and their love for their father. I also love the friendships that has been made along the story.

The beast’s character was greatly written as well. He’s someone that you’ll love to hate especially in the beginning when he’s all rude and impatient with Yeva. But overtime, I can’t help but love him and understand his own story.

“The Firebird made him a being of two natures. You changed him into two beings grappling for a single heart.”

There is a romance part on the story but don’t expect to get something all touchy-feely kind of romance. It was all more focused on the emotional kind of romance where as a reader you’ll just feel that there is a romantic connection between the characters that you are reading.

Magic also played a part in the story. Though the story didn’t have talking coat racks or tea kettle and pot, the story does have magical creatures. The story of the Firebird and the other creatures were creatively written. I got invested with Yeva’s stories – stories that were passed on to her by her father.

On a side note, is it just me or does Beauty and the Beast really do have an aspect of Stockholm Syndrome somewhere? I don’t know why I just realized it now but there’s a case of Stockholm Syndrome, right? What differs from to the other books that I’ve read that do have an aspect of Stockholm Syndorme is that Yeva realizes that she shouldn’t feel something for beast as he’s her captor.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Hunted. The thing that I liked most is the fact that it didn’t stray from the original plot line of Beauty and the Beast. It just changed setting but the plot line is just the same. If you love fantasy stories especially retellings, please do yourselves a huge favor and pick this one up now. You’ll definite love it.

PS. I NEED AN EPILOGUE WITH BEAST AS A HUMAN PLEASE.

Review: Joyride by Anna Banks

Title: Joyride

Author: Anna Banks

Published: 02 June 2015 | Feiwel & Friends

Date Read: 19 March 2017

Synopsis:

A popular guy and a shy girl with a secret become unlikely accomplices for midnight pranking, and are soon in over their heads—with the law and with each other—in this sparkling standalone from NYT-bestselling author Anna Banks.

It’s been years since Carly Vega’s parents were deported. She lives with her brother, studies hard, and works at a convenience store to contribute to getting her parents back from Mexico.

Arden Moss used to be the star quarterback at school. He dated popular blondes and had fun with his older sister, Amber. But now Amber’s dead, and Arden blames his father, the town sheriff who wouldn’t acknowledge Amber’s mental illness. Arden refuses to fulfill whatever his conservative father expects.

All Carly wants is to stay under the radar and do what her family expects. All Arden wants is to NOT do what his family expects. When their paths cross, they each realize they’ve been living according to others. Carly and Arden’s journey toward their true hearts—and one another—is funny, romantic, and sometimes harsh.

Joyride started in a very interesting way. It’s another ordinary night on duty at the convenience store for Carly when she witnesses her frequent customer Mr. Shackleford being robbed in front of the store. She went on his rescue and from there started a new path on Carly Vega’s life.

“Heroics brings attention. Attention bring scrutiny. And scrutiny exposes secrets.”

Carly Vega’s family is an immigrant in the USA from Mexico. She goes to school in the morning and works at night and/most of her free time. Working hard is necessary for her and her brother Julio not because of their personal needs but the money they earned will be put into savings to pay for their parents and younger siblings way to come back illegally to the USA across the border.

Carly’s character is an open-book. It’s easy to get to know her and understand her life situations. She’s kept to herself at school seems shy and reserved but she do have a strong personality. What really saddens me a bit about her life is that she’s sixteen years old but have yet to experience childhood/teenhood. Until she met Arden Moss – the sheriff’s son.

Arden Moss is into crazy pranks but not really into school related activities. His character is charming and easy to like. I really appreciate all the help he did for Carly – finding her a job that pays higher and even driving her to/from the workplace. Despite the easy-go-lucky persona he lets the people see, his back story was heartbreaking.

“Everyone deals with things differently, son. But you don’t seem to be dealing with it at all.”

Arden’s sister committed suicide. His sister’s passing left a huge emotional mark on Arden as she – his sister –  was the one who is into the pranks originally. I just felt bad for Arden because it seems like though he has everything materially he’s lacking on fatherly and motherly love.

The dual POV really did great in getting to know both of our main characters Carly and Arden. These two are very much different and it’s pretty interesting how they were able to work out their relationship despite these differences.

The plot of the book is also something new for me. The story flowed smoothly and it didn’t go as to where I was expecting it to go. However, the last 2 chapters feels a bit rushed for me. As much as I wanted to savor the last few pages of Carly and Arden, I have this feeling the it ended abruptly.

Overall, I enjoyed reading it. Will surely look forward to Anna Bank’s next works.