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What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery?
While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk! Soon enough Lily and the mystery student are exchanging notes, and lyrics, and even sharing secrets. When Lily finds out that her anonymous pen pal is a guy, she's flustered -- and kind of feels like she's falling for him. She and her best friend set out to unravel the identity of the letter writer -- but when the truth is revealed, the guy is the LAST person Lily could have ever imagined it to be. Now that Lily knows the truth, can she untangle her feelings and gather the courage to listen to her heart?
From beloved author Kasie West (The Distance Between Us) comes an utterly charming story about mixed messages, missed connections, and the magic of good old-fashioned secret admirer notes.
“So you think I’m hot?”
“Doesn’t every girl?”
It surprised me when his cheeks turned a light shade of pink. I wasn’t sure why that embarrassed him in any way. I was positive he already knew it. He ran one hand through his hair. Then he said, almost too quiet for me to hear, “You’re not every girl.”
I find it just so strange that I had never read a Kasie West novel until late last summer. Seriously-It’s so hard to find YA contemporary authors that make such a large range of people happy, that continue to produce cute, funny, witty, and memorable stories, and that do it well. I had personally never heard of her, and then one of my best friends is like…are you kidding? Do you live under a rock?? READ HER NOW! So I picked up The Distance Between Us (Still my favorite Kasie West yet) and fell HARD. Who could resist Xander? Who I ask? WHO?
If only there was a way to transport letters faster, through some sort of electronic device that codes messages and sends them through the air. But that’s just crazy talk.
So here I am almost one year later, eagerly awaiting her next release. As soon as I ran out of her books (it was very quick lol) I was desperate for more. I can’t say she’s my absolute favorite author-that would be a lie-but what I can say is that she is an author I have come to admire and that I always look forward to reading. For instance, the minute this book was announced, I immediately had it on my TBR and let all of my friends know. And you can just tell how obsessed and loyal all her fans are. It’s so crazy! And the thing is…I truly truly had never heard of her.
But now I have, and what I’ve read is nothing but impressive. So here we are, sitting and anticipating her next release-A cute little story about two students who both feel like they are missing something in their lives…and seem to find and express themselves through the words of their favorite bands. What was meant to be just a release one day in chemistry for Lily becomes an instant connection between two people who are desperate for someone to hear them. It begins as a game, a playful flirtation that happens by chance in a boring chemistry class. But, as the days go by, it blossoms into something they look forward to and think about every single night long after the lights have gone out….and turns into something far deeper than they ever thought possible.
I was both equally in love with this book and disappointed by it. And I know that sounds so crazy, what with my extremely high rating, but I am so torn on this one. On the one hand, I’ve seen this done before-and it was done WAY better. I’m sorry, I adore Kasie West, but that other novel is one of my favorites of all time and it had way more, I don’t know, heart. I’m not saying this wasn’t done well…but on the pen pal aspect, I felt myself strangely detached-and it wasn’t until I was done that I realized I wanted that same intensity I felt from my favorite and this didn’t get one tenth as deep as that. So, this aspect was an extreme let down for me-And I wasn’t even trying to compare.
Words brought us together though they almost kept us apart.
You trusted me with your secrets and then you stole my heart.
And I’m sorry to be focusing on the negatives first, but I’d rather be salty and then sweet-I find it leaves a better taste in my mouth to end on a happy, high note. I had two other problems and one bothered me more than the other, if I’m being honest. I was a tad bored in the middle because the pen pal trope got a little bit stale, in my opinion. That’s a small part of my disappointment. But, no, my largest peeve, and I’m sad to say this, was the main character.
I know, I know-I almost NEVER dislike the main girl, but for some reason I have been increasingly pickier with my female leads. Lily was…I liked Lily at first, ya know? But then I saw how judgmental she was…ON PURPOSE. She wasn’t simply just a snarky teenager, she made herself be that way. And I didn’t realize until the final page just how deeply her attitude had affected me. I adored how much she loved her family-it’s what my friend and I loved most about her. But then I saw how she reacted to said pen pal…it wasn’t enough that this person was a kindred spirit. It wasn’t enough that this person was miserable on the inside. It didn’t matter. All she saw was what she wanted to see, and even when said person proved they broke the mold of her pretentious expectations, she still pushed, fought, and clawed to keep things where it kept her comfortable. So she wanted to pigeonhole someone… but was indignant when she thought that others were doing the same to her. This really just…grr. This did NOT please me.
And I told my friend this…That I just couldn’t get past her bias. And my friend Anna said-‘Yeah, I get that. But teenagers are like that. They can be judgmental. I’m used to it.’ And it really bothered me long after-Was I being too harsh? And I finally decided…no, no I wasn’t. I love books where the heroines are unreasonable- I just couldn’t get past this one for whatever reason. She bothered me, plain and simple…and it was probably the largest reason I couldn’t fall head over heels for this story.
But enough of that. I have so many positive things to say about this. Like, how about the fact that after 50-60% I Could. Not. Put. This. Down. It became everything I’ve expected of a Kasie West novel and made me so badly wish that I’d had that connection from the very beginning. Imagine it like this:
Part one: Cute introduction where the plot is set into play and we get to know all our quirky characters
Part two: Pen pal plot drags a little, I begin to lose a little interest in Lily’s attitude and story
Part three: TOTAL transformation where the plot finally expands and we truly connect to the pen pal and our main character (well…you know what I mean). This part was 100% a 5. Things ACTUALLY happen and it feels like an actual story with a flow and a final destination.
And let me be clear-Had this whole story been like that last 40%, this would have been my absolute favorite Kasie West book (Probably). I just…I can’t explain how a complete lack of connection, focus, and butterflies turned into IMMEDIATE butterflies that are so forceful and so out of nowhere that I couldn’t breathe. I’m not kidding. It’s like…okay, it’s like the Beast roller coaster at King’s Island (LOVE LOVE LOVE)-It’s a great coaster okay, but then you get to the final third of the coaster and there are all these wooden tunnels that make you go underground-ish and they are pitch black and you feel as if you are going 1000 times faster and, on the first turn into the first tunnel, your head whips to left so fast you can’t handle it-but you love it and it takes you completely by surprise as you laugh and scream and hold onto your partner for dear life. And, by the end, you have the biggest smile on your face and can’t contain the good feels and your extreme excitement. It was just like that. Literally-Feels out of nowhere.
And I know I haven’t mentioned my main man WHO I AM OBSESSED WITH…but I don’t think I can because it’s a spoiler…is it, though? Is it not obvious? Okay, anyway, I can’t say his name, and I can’t really say much about him or it will make it even more obvious, and I can’t particularly claim he’s above Xander (maybe right below?), but just know that I absolutely loved him. He was an extremely kind, caring, and butterfly-inducing cutie. Misunderstood, if you will. But stop me now, I’m sure I’ve said too much. Whatever, sorry, it’s just so damn hard for me not to say his name and gush and cry like a fangirl professing her love and ah I am just a goner. But, alas, I guess you’ll have to meet him for yourself, unfortunately.
So, anyway, it may seem like I was mostly down on this book…but that’s not the case. I just wanted people to understand why this isn’t a 5 when I’ve rated her others that way. So many stories win me over in the end (a million jump into my mind) and become a forever favorite and a five star. But when I struggled to love this story from the beginning and found that it paled in comparison to my lovelies, The Fill-In Boyfriend and The Distance Between Us, I can’t objectively and fairly give a five for this story. I finished, was smiling so big it’s unreal, proclaimed my love of it to my friend, and said I had to give it a five…but then I slept on it and realized that it didn’t feel right to give it that rating, that it wasn’t a forever favorite, and it it had too many issues I couldn’t get over. So, I decided to rate highly…because the amount of giddiness and happiness I felt for the final third of the story can’t be overlooked-but it didn’t surpass her other novels and needed to be rated thusly. This rating, while a little disheartening to me for KW, feels right and truly says what I want it to say: While this book had it’s issues, it was fun, addicting, butterfly-inducing, and brought the largest smile to my face. P.S. is a good time, if not a little forgettable, and it will take you away from reality and make you feel better about yourself. It will make you happier, if only for the length of the novel. And, really, what else can you ask for?
**ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review**
Alright guys…I’m guna be frank. My favorite thing about this book?? AGHHHHH MY BOYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY….he winssssss. Okay. Phew. Glad I got that out of the way. The boy was everything. He was the pitter-patter in my heart. The butterflies in my belly. He was the smile on my face and the driving force behind my high rating for this book.
Because, frankly? This wasn’t my favorite Kasie West novel. And I couldn’t quite put my finger on why until this morning:
I hated the MC.
Sorry not sorry.