Category Archives: young adults

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Review: to All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. 5 Stars!

I started out reading this book with a knowing snicker that the author has wiped clear off my face. I admit it- I jumped to a conclusion and mentally mocked a book that’s probably going to be a novel that actually sticks with me forever.

What a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL story. Ahhh Jenny Han you have stolen my heart!

When I began this, two words came to mind: ‘Little Women’ and I will say that even now that I’ve finished, I do still suspect that the author may be a Louisa May Alcott fan because so much of the premise of ‘To all The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ is reminiscent of Little Women.

There are only three sisters in this one and they are Korean and modern, but they have a very similar bond those in the afore mentioned story and a few of the plot elements are the same: the boy next door they all fall in love with in their own way who ends up with the eldest sister, the brave, quirky middle child who is more Anne Shirley than Jan Brady, and the hot-headed, mischievous little sister manipulating the eldest ones and every situation behind the scenes. This kid is an absolute handful and if she were my sister well, I would have gone on a cupcake-baking strike for what she does in the beginning of this story. It’s not as bad as burning something precious in a fire, but it is akin to it by modern standards.

The sisters have a lovely bond but off the bat, I’m not the biggest fan of Margo. She’s just a bit bleh in the way that little Kitty is a bit overbearing. Margo is the oldest who has been the mother figure in the home since their biological mother died, and she’s leaving now to go to college in Scotland and leaving the middle sister in charge. Not only that, but she’s leaving the boyfriend behind too.

Look I don’t know if it’s possible to actually dole out spoilers with a book like this that everyone won’t see coming already, but Lara has always been in love with her big sister’s boyfriend and once the sister leaves well, you can imagine what notions occur to her.

It’s pretty predictable but I will say that that’s where the predictability ends.

Basically, Lara has written five love-letters in her life to silently farewell a boy once she’s over her crush on them, but instead of sending them to the boy, she’d held onto them. It’s cute and it’s something I have done so right off the bat, I feel like this character is a bit of a soul-mate of mine. But, shock and horror, those letters end up finding their way into the boys hands and though this probably could have been played out with a bit more mortification involved (come on! they wouldn’t all take it so well!) it sets up an exciting beginning to a story that DOES NOT FAIL TO DELIVER.

I love how this novel develops. The things that you think are unexpected are the things that you end up hoping for without realising that you’re hoping for them, and the things that happen that you see coming hit you square in the gut even though you see them coming. I once had a very nice reviewer use the word ‘Tummy Butterflies’ to describe one of my own novels and I have to say that I felt like I’d feasted on butterflies once I got into this. I just love love LOVE this heroine, and I love the male characters and Peter ohmigosh he’s my new underage sexy book boyfriend. he reminds me like a modern day take on Gilbert Blythe when he was young and clumsy with his ego.

This story is just beautiful and moving but never too shocking or too predictable. Some of the ‘touching’ moments between the sisters made me want to dry-retch a little but I have an incredibly sweet sister of my own so I can only imagine how wonderful it would be to be so tightly bonded. Unfortunately for me, there are seven years between my older sister and I, and sixteen between my eldest and me so we barely got to live together, let alone go through puberty together and I applaud the author for opting for sweet, rather than bitchy for the dynamic between all three of them.

This story isn’t over and I love that. I love how it ended, not a cliffhanger but with the promise of more, and I love reading a novel from a Korean girl’s point of view because it’s an absolute first for me. I loved the writing, the pacing, the surprises, the way it made me feel for her, the way it made me feel for everyone involved really, and I’ll be getting book 2 the second I can.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved before isn’t modern or risky, but it doesn’t infantalize teenagers either and I admire how a story can be so sweet and yet so current. Sex is mentioned a lot but never taken too far, there are a few cuss words involved that were used in the perfect way, and it forces you to care for people without shoving it down your throat.

Read if you love the old Judy Blume and Caroline B Cooney novels of the 70’s to 90’s, read if you’re a teen, read if you’re an adult- just read and have your heart stolen 🙂

Young Adult romance FREE today! If they’re going to whisper, give them something to shout!

Free HOT Young Adult novel! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MGVBET2
Venom Ad
I was sucked into her story so much that halfway through I knew it was getting 5 stars.
-Joycedale, Amazon reviewer

VENOM has heart, sass, and the crushing butterflies we all look for in YA!
-Emm Cole, author of The Short Life Of Sparrows

I can imagine my teenage students falling in love with the boys in this story. Wishing they were as brave and headstrong as the main character. Waiting for the biggest bully to land flat on her face. Holding their breath as the cheer leaders get thrown up into the air.
Me personally? I’ll be waiting for the sequel!
-Kristen boyd, High school teacher

This is a great YA book (I’m an adult and I loved it!) full of teenage angst and everything that goes along with high school life in general. Bullying, gossip and mean spirited teens. The coach finds an unusual way to punish four girls for a prank gone wrong and it manages to change the way Bronte views herself and those around her!
-Nice Puppy, Amazon reviewer

There’s no ‘I’ in team but 4 I’s make the best friends :)

Here’s something cool that I can’t stop thinking about and has been ever-present with me since writing Venom.

The three girls in the picture with me all went to the same high school as me but we did not get along. Not saying who was the queen bee or the meanest or the outcast (Okay I was TOTALLY the loser) and I never EVER would have dared sit near them in school.

Then a few years ago, we met up when I organised the reunion (short straw they’re most of the former students are lucky I didn’t have pigs blood waiting- but I do love to host parties!!!) and got to be Facebook acquaintances. THEN, 2 years later, I started writing a Mermaid story and decided that after years of passing my silly little novels off to my mum or best friend or boyfriend- I’d give it to people who would be honest with me- two of which had been bullies once. I didn’t know how any of them felt about me- but I did know that they’d been, uh, bluntly honest with me 10 years before and that they all read so I held my breath and passed it along.

Well, they loved it. They read the first 3 books as soon as I handed them over, often chapter by chapter. THEY’RE the ones who indicated that I’d done a certain ‘boat scene’ well (I’d never written a sec scene EVER out of 30 novels before that!) and suffered through 5 or 6 re-writes. They were the first to tell me to publish and then jumped on the wagon when I self-published, bought the first copies and have shared my posts the most and have read and reviewed every book since!

We weren’t a clique then, but we are now and what I love about them so much is that when three of us went away a few months ago and left the 4th behind- she wasn’t spoken about except to be praised, and she was in our selfies thanks to my printer.

THAT’S friendship- when the only thing you have to say about a friend when her back is turned, is how much you miss her.

I love these ladies in my ‘evil trio’ so much! And I know, there are times in the last few years when I would have given up on everything if not for their support! The little chat group we started to discuss the books has been going for 3 years because we’re almost always too busy to get together- but we talk all day long, every day and I cannot believe that high school stood between me and my soul mates for 10 years!

Girls I know I’m busy and that I haven’t had a chance to help you even 1/500th of how you helped me- but I love you so much, and Snakebite is going to be dedicated to you and my mum and yes, when we make The Marked Ones movie, you still have dibs on oiling up the Tristan actor, even though I’ve amassed hundreds of fans who’d kill for the chance and have helped me so much since!
(Bros for the special hoes!)

And to any of my young adult readers, who are struggling with female friendships like Bronte- don’t lose heart! The best parts of high school might be waiting for you ten years down the track! I didn’t get my first boyfriend back, a clique OR on a cheerleading squad until I was in my twenties and it felt even BETTER!

[bookcover:Venom|22852240]
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MGVBET2