Reviews of Teen Books by Genre: Chick Lit

Isla and the Happily Ever After
Perkins, Stephanie
2 stars = Meh
Review:

Isla and the Happily Ever After is the third installment in the Anna and the French Kiss series. In my opinion, this book was far better than the Anna and the French Kiss series but still contains a couple of flaws with it. To start off, Isla and Josh's love story was pretty sweet and contained just the right amount of cheesiness. I enjoyed that their romance followed a typical, but also a well-done trope of the sunshiney girl versus the more brooding introverted boy. However, despite some of the cute moments, I couldn't ignore the glaring fact that Isla and Josh's story seemed way too sudden. Right after they meet, they practically dive into their relationship right away, with no suspense or build-up. Isla and Josh rush right into the thick of things, something that made the story seem a little rushed and underdeveloped.
Isla as a character also seemed slightly underdeveloped, because I could not really find myself relating or having any strong feelings towards her at all. Isla was a very "meh" character, her personality traits mirroring mediocrity. Adding on to Isla, her obsession with Josh was also a little worrying. Isla seemed to pin everything about herself to Josh, to the point where she felt like she didn't deserve someone as great as him. At some point in the book, I felt that Isla's only character trait was her romance with Josh and that she relied on him far too much. Overall, while the novel had some weak points, I'd say it achieved the minimum of what a cheesy and sweet teen romance book should be. However, I hesitate to say that this book was a well-thought-out work. If a cheesy romance is what you're looking for, there are thousands of far better romances you should reach for before this one.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
Anna and the French Kiss
Perkins, Stephanie
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

Anna and the French Kiss is supposed to be a sweet teen love story, following Anna, a senior in high school who suddenly gets sent to a foreign school in Paris. While I could see what Perkins was going for, the whole "teen cliche love story" was not executed well. For one, Anna is far from a likable protagonist. Although having dreams to be a professional female film critic, when Anna is forced to attend school in France, she claims that she is shocked when she discovers that movie theatres exist in France. It's hard to believe that an avid film watcher is so ignorant of the fact that other countries besides America also have movie theatres. Not to mention that France is one of the major film capitals of the world. Anna continues displaying an almost disbelieving amount of ignorance when she also avoids her school's cafeteria because she doesn't know how to order food in french. Later, she is told that the school's chef does indeed know how to speak English, and that one doesn't have to be fluent in French to speak to him. Anna also is unaware that in France, most people have a basic grasp of the English language, and thinks that nobody knows how to speak English, thus convincing herself that she must learn French. Anna is almost too oblivious of the world outside her to be believable, but over and over again, Anna continues to dumbfound readers by displaying more and more ignorant thoughts and behaviors. Adding on, Anna's love interest is also far from a likable character. Etienne St. Clair (a name that might be too overboardly french to be true), is a boy who conveniently has a British accent, but is also somehow French and American, all at the same time. It's almost like Perkins wanted Etienne to be French and American, but also to have the typical British accent that every teen fiction love interest must have all at once, thus resulting in the confusing cliche mess that Etienne is.
Lastly, Anna and the French Kiss, while containing problematic characters, also contains problematic behaviors, such as the romanticization of cheating and an absurdly ignorant and offensive main character. While I understand the route Perkins may have intended to take, Anna and the French Kiss was far from a cheesy and sweet romance novel.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
Someday, Someday, Maybe
Graham, Lauren
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Lauren Graham, the charismatic actress, writes an endearing and entertaining story about the struggles of show business in her novel Someday, Someday, Maybe. Franny Banks is a frazzled young woman with big dreams of making it in New York City, but she finds herself stuck in an unfortunate cycle of disappointment, only booking the occasional commercial acting job. When she finally gets an agent, Franny thinks things are looking up, but instead she becomes consumed by a toxic acting culture and loses sight of herself. Graham tells Franny's story with wit and relatability, conveying hard truths through sarcastic, sometimes hyperbolic observations, complete with Franny's amusing inner commentary and scribbly, sketch-filled planner pages. This novel could be a rude awakening to those who wish to pursue the acting industry or show business, but the truths it tells about life are important. Sometimes we forget what's best for ourselves when trying to please others. Sometimes failure can lead to the unexpected. And sometimes things don't work out like we hoped they would.

Reviewer's Name: Alexa
Anna and the French Kiss book jacket
Perkins, Stephanie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is one of my favorite reads, mostly because Stephanie Perkins has a way of writing a fictional universe to feel real. In the book, the main character Anna is sent to a Parisian boarding school and must learn how to adapt to a new environment- and new friendships. Anna is a relatable character- she's a perfectionist who constantly feels out of control and uses witty remarks to cope with overwhelming feelings. I love Etienne's compassionate personality, as well as the rest of Anna's friends' humor. This book is an accurate representation of dealing with a new change, like being away from home. Despite being new and even scary, so much good can come out of it.

Reviewer's Name: Maggie
Beach Read book jacket
Henry, Emily
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Beach Read by Emily Henry is a feel good book that will leave you rooting for January and Augustus. These two famous authors have nothing in common except that they are neighbors. One night, they make deal. Augustus will write something happy with the help of January’s expertise in romance and January will interview surviving members of a cult to write the next Great American novel. Whoever writes the bestselling book wins. Nothing else will happen, right? Beach Read reveals how being opposite in every way could quite possibly be the best thing. I highly recommend this book to anybody who needs a feel good book.

Reviewer's Name: Jaala
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Han, Jenny
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is absolutely amazing compared to the hit film on Netlfix; TonAll The Boys I've Loved Before. The movie covers the basic climax diagram andnonly runs through shallow waters. In the meantime, the book adventures moreninto Lara Jean's life and world. The places described and the moments thatnoccur make the reader feel as if they are a friendly neighbor walking by.nEven though this book has been made into a film, I was shocked about how thenbook set the scene in various ways and made each moment special.

Reviewer's Name: Savanah
The Proposal
Guillory, Jasmine
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

A romance filled with heartwarming moments, and powerful women this book is pretty good! If you want a cute, quick read this might be the book for you. The main character is a hard worker who puts her priorities first, which is very refreshing to see. She dose not take anything from anyone and it’s great! If your looking for a cute book with a strong female lead definitely check this one out!

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
Fix Her Up
Bailey, Tessa
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Travis, a once super popular baseball star gets hurt and can’t play baseball anymore gives up on life. Enter Georgie, a once Tom-boyish now super hot girl who has always had a crush on Travis (She’s also his best friend's sister) this roller-coaster of a book tells Travis and Georgie's adorable love story, and you can’t put it down. While definitely meant for an older crowd, this story will leave you smiling. Its characters are so cute, and you are just rooting for them the whole time. If you are looking for a more mature, rom-com book then you should check out this book!

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Cohn, Rachel and Levithan, David
2 stars = Meh
Review:

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, co-authored by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, is a lighthearted romance set at Christmastime. When Lily, a spunky nerd, leaves a red notebook filled with mysterious clues at the Strand in New York City, an unexpected relationship begins. Her notebook is found by Dash, a cynic who detests Christmas, and thus begins a montage of absurd dares as the red notebook is passed back and forth around New York City by the two teenagers and their strategically-placed relatives. Along the way, Dash and Lily come to believe they love each other, though they’ve never set eyes on each other before.

This book lacks a stable plot and character development. Lily’s character is unbearably obnoxious and immature, while Dash’s cynicism is over-the-top and irritating. Lily undergoes virtually no change through the duration of the book; however, Dash does open up and become slightly less self-absorbed. The authors’ excessive use of big, flowery language did not fit the characters. It seemed as though the authors believed this was necessary in order to portray Dash and Lily (mostly Dash) as intelligent and intellectual beyond their years, but I found it to be distracting and inappropriate for the context. The plot of this book was severely lacking. It was chaotic and disjointed, and never reached a strong climax. I was irritated with the unrealistic and completely bizarre parts, and disappointed when the ‘romance’ fell flat.

I understand that this book is meant to be fun and amusing, but it would have been much higher quality with likable characters and a coherent plot. I enjoyed the Christmas-y setting, but I believe the authors could’ve used New York City in a more impressive way for the dares. Only read this book if you’re in the mood for a fluffy, vapid story with no substance whatsoever. There are lots of Christmas romances out there, and I’m sure most are better than this one.

Reviewer's Name: Alexa
Crazy Rich Asians
Kwan, Kevin
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Rachel Chu expects to be met with an average trip when her boyfriend Nick Young invites her to Singapore, but when she arrives she is met with Nick's childhood home that is beyond anything she could ever imagine. She has
unknowingly been dating one of Asia's most eligible bachelors. Rachel is eventually met by the crazy rich of Singapore and is forced to endure their strong criticisms, especially by Nick's judgmental mother Eleanor. Kwan exposes the vast riches and glamorous lives of the crazy rich of Singapore. Though the massive Young, T'sien, and Shang family tree can be confusing at times, it allows every reader to personally connect to at least one character and expresses and variety of personalities within this grand family. The novel will transport you to a world that is all too real. If you have seen and enjoyed the movie, I can guarantee that you will definitely be blown away by the book. The novel expands beyond the movie's humor and highly emotional scenes and drastically improves its impact.

Reviewer's Name: Jenna W.
Tweet Cute
Lord, Emma
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This rom-com style book while can be cheesy at times is over-all heartwarming and charming. Pepper always has something going on, from swim practice to running her Baking account online. When she meets a mystery boy on an anonymous website, they spark a connection; pepper cant wait to find out who this mystery person is. This adorable story, is heartwarming and very sweet. If you like a cute romance story, this book is definitely for you! Grade: 8th

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
Clutches and Curses
Howell, Dorothy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Haley Randolph has been cursed by a customer at her job, and soon after, everything starts going south. This leads her to transfer to her job's newest location in Las Vegas to try and get some relief, only to find the body of her high school nemesis in the store and become the prime suspect in their murder. With two detectives breathing down her neck, a hotel with a shady owner, and the hot handbag of the season in her sight, Haley must put her detective outfit on and find the culprit before she's as dead as Holt's Department Store's fashion line.

Overall, a very well-written novel with great build-up, lovable characters, a truly demented antagonist, and plenty of coffee to keep it going (Best drink on the planet. Fight me!). It's not without its flaws, as the writing is a bit sloppy in the beginning and they made the eventual culprit a bit too sus for it to be too big of a surprise. It also isn't for everyone, especially not guys, with its girly atmosphere and side plots, but it's still a good fashion-themed mystery I highly recommend you check out.

Reviewer's Name: Naomi S.
Big Little Lies
Moriarty, Liane
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Big Little Lies is about a group of parents who come to know each other when their kids all start kindergarten together and all their drama collides and ends with a death. I loved how this book kept me interested the whole time. Every chapter something new is thrown at the reader. All the characters were very well developed and everything came together very nicely. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good book that can keep you interested through the whole book just wanting to get to the end to know what happens.

Reviewer's Name: Jana
Beach Bags and Burglaries
Howell, Dorothy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Haley Randolph and her friends have just won a free trip to one of the most high-end resorts in the California area. However, the minute they arrive on shore, things start taking a turn for the worse. One of the resort staff's bodies were found at the bottom of a cliff, and Haley suspects that foul play was afoot. Thus, she winds up plunged into solving yet another murder case, all while looking for her best friend's stolen underwear (I'm not kidding) and the latest and hottest beach bag: the Sea Vixen.

Overall, I think this novel was very well done. The mystery flows as smooth as Mondo Butter, the side plots are entertaining, the characters are great, and the writing itself left me unable to put it down. However, this book is not for everyone, as its girly tone and bag search side plot won't appeal to guys all that well. The mystery can also be a bit hard to follow at times, and it starts out really slow, although it does pick up the pace after the first few chapters. Overall, I recommend this to any girl who likes a good cozy.

Reviewer's Name: Naomi
Killer Cruise
Levine, Laura
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Jaine Austen is looking forward to a relaxing Mexican cruise, but things go south when her cat Prozac hitches a ride in and is caught by one of the staff, who blackmails her into editing and typing a huge and unreadable story in just a few days, as well as denying her any luxury. On top of that, one of her only allies has been accused of murdering her unfaithful boyfriend and is being detained below the deck. Determined to save her friend and clear her name, Jaine dives into her most dangerous case yet, all with a furry castaway locked in her room.

I cannot stress how much I love every part of the Jaine Austen mystery series, and this book is no exception. I felt like everything in this novel is done to perfection, even one detail I'm usually critical of. While it still has the problem of its finale being just like every other entry in the series, this book actually does what I didn't expect: make that unpredictable to the reader. I'm confident in saying that Killer Cruise is the Jaine Austen mystery series at its best.

Reviewer's Name: Naomi
Cover of the book A Walk to Remember
Sparks, Nicholas
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A Walk to Remember is set in 1958, North Carolina, and is about two seniors who fall in love despite their different personalities. Landon, the mayor's son, is fun and carefree, while Jamie, the preacher's daughter, is 'annoyingly' perfect. Jamie is often clowned by her classmates for her rigid lifestyle, feverish devotion to Christ, and her rather drab way of dressing. When Landon finds himself in desperate need of a date to the school dance, he has no option but to ask Jamie to come with him.

Landon and Jamie begin spending time together, and while Landon tries to hide his feelings, he eventually realizes he loves her for her kindness. He tells Jamie about his feelings, but Jamie responds with hesitance, leaving Landon confused.

The ending is a little sad, but it's also cute and romantic. I liked how Landon developed as a character; he was a bit of a jerk at first, but being with Jaime helped him learn compassion and kindness. Jamie and Landon's relationship is a good example of why you shouldn't take things or people for granted.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma M.
No Judgments
Cabot, Meg
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Sabrina Beckham moves to a little island in the Florida Keys. She moves to Little Bridge because she had just gone through a rough time. She moved to the island to take a break from the busy life of living in New York. After 3 months of living their a category hurricane is coming. After the hurricane Sabrina and her friend Drew go out to take care and feed all the pets of the people who evacuated and couldn't come back, because the bridge to the main land got washed out. The book ends with a happy ending and everything in the hurricane worked out.

The one reason I picked this book was because it was one of the books by Meg Cabot I hadn't read. I really like her other books. After reading the book I thought about what I thought the way it would end, but the ending was different then I thought. The book was really good and I recommend it to any one who doesn't know what to read.

Reviewer's Name: Jaime
The Bridges of Madison County
Waller, Robert James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Bridges of Madison county is a tear jerking love story. It tells of a middle aged photographer who is sent to photograph some of the bridges of Madison County, Iowa. On his lonely journey, he meets an old house wife whose children and husband had gone on a trip. The story tells of a love with a burning passion that happened too late. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a beautiful romance story detailing a beautiful relationship that could never be. Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Kyle Y
Wanderlost
Malone, Jen
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wanderlost is about a girl named Aubree who is perfectly comfortable with living in laid back Ohio. It's predictable and she's fine with that. One night when her parents are gone, Aubree decides to throw a party where her perfect goody two shoes sister named Elizabeth unexpectedly shows up. She doesn't seem to mind and she promises to keep the party a secret. But then the cops show up at the house and when one of the cops knows Elizabeth, he is desperate to get her into trouble for "serving underage drinkers" even though she never did. The tour company Elizabeth was going to work for is her only way to get into the job that she's been dreaming about forever. But because Elizabeth gets arrested, she begs Bree to go do the tour and pretend to be Elizabeth. After lots of persuading, Bree reluctantly agrees. She never expected to spend her summer traveling across Europe to several different incredible sites with five elderly people. Bree then has phone conversations with a boy named Sam whom she can't help falling for. I bet every reader will fall for him too ;) I know I did. Eventually, Bree knows she needs to tell Sam the truth about who she is. Can she do it? This book is one of the best books I've ever read. The author is great at describing feelings and the characters were round. I hope you guys will fall in love with the characters and plot as much as I have.

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth P.
Alt text missing.
Devos, Kelly
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Cookie Vonn is fat. And while she doesn’t want her weight to rule her life, she’s interested in fashion design. And in fashion, size is everything. Her dreams of getting out of Scottsdale, attending Parsons, an elite fashion design school, and becoming a fashion designer for women of all sizes might not work out if she can’t lose the weight.

Fast forward two years. Thanks to insane self-control, and the power of NutriMin (a stand in for Weight Watchers) Cookie has lost the weight. And the opportunities do start to roll in. She’s offered the chance to meet her idol and cover his fashion show for NutriMin. Better yet, after a breakfast meeting with him, she gets an offer to design a special plus size line that will be released as a preview for his upcoming Winter/Spring Collection. But even as Cookie’s life seems to be exactly what she wanted, she finds being skinny isn’t a panacea, and that somewhere along the way, she might have lost not only the weight, but herself.

This is a great new adult coming of age novel that I ate right up. It’s not my normal fare – I typically don’t read YA romances unless the protagonist is a person of color. While Cookie is white, she is fat, and that is definitely an underrepresented group of people in most modern literature, so I decided to take a chance on this one, and I’m really glad I did. I think some overweight readers will balk at the idea of this being a Cinderella story, but that’s not what this is – a lot of the book really centers on Cookie realizing that while her weight might be part of her identity, its not what makes her Cookie, and that realization is what makes this a strong coming of age tale.

The book switches back and forth between past and present Cookie (fat and skinny), a literary device that worked well here. We know Cookie gets skinny, but we learn why and how in the “fat” chapters, and we get to learn how she reaps the fruits of her labor in the “skinny” chapters. I wanted to know what happened to both versions of Cookies, and I found myself staying up way too late one night reading this. Cookie herself is a smart, resourceful young woman, and while she makes some seriously stupid decisions, they all seem in character and are the sort of decisions an inexperienced young woman might make – especially when the adults around her were sometimes giving her awful advice. I hated both of her relationships, but they seemed pretty realistic, and hopefully young women can learn from Cookie’s mistakes. I wish she had cut both guys out of her life as they were both toxic (one of them gets off way too easily), but that is my really my only major complaint.

I really liked this one, and I think new adults and older teens who enjoy contemporary reads will as well. If you like Meg Cabot, Sophie Kinsella or Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’, this book is definitely for you. 4 stars.

Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen for the eARC, which I received in exchange for an honest review. Fat Girl on a Plane is available for purchase now, and you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: Britt