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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.
“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.”
Several times during my read I asked myself, “what would it take for P.S. I Like You to reach a 4.5/5 stars?” and in all honesty, I don’t think it could, no matter how cute some parts were. Now, I’m all for rating a novel according to its genre, but where am I supposed to put Kasie West books? In YA contemporary? Sure! Then they can’t – and will never – compete with the raw honesty and the avalanche of feelings I associate with some of my favorites : Please Ignore Vera Dietz, On the Jellicoe Road, Raw Blue, to name a few.
Truth is, P.S. I Like You put a smile on my face and was well, cute, but I cannot deny how unmemorable it is.
Fact #1 : I’ve read all of Kasie West‘s books and I’ve never come across a female lead like Lily, which is to say, the typical quirky girl with weird self-made clothes and notebooks. The tomboy, the popular girl, absolutely. Not the artist.
Fact #2 : Yet I’ve read my fair share of YA novels, and Lily doesn’t bring anything different in the sea of female leads. She likes music, makes (false) assumptions about people, is convinced that no guy would take an interest in her, fantasizes about this crooked-smiling, earbuds-addict guy with cool hair, has one and only friend because people suck (or something). When it comes to analyze someone else’s actions, she’s blind, but aren’t we all? I mean, TEENAGER 101, anyone? I don’t necessarily complain upfront about stereotypes, because sometimes they can be twisted to add something more to a story. Let’s just say that it wasn’t the case in P.S. I Like You.
Fact #3 : Lily’s family is what I like the most about her, but it may be because it is so relatable to me. A four children family and general messiness? It was my playground. Anyone who grew up in a family of six and who looks blank when confronted with the concept of a one child room will easily understand what she goes through. Her family is weird, crazy, annoying, roll-eyes worthy, yet so lovable, with a special award for Bugs Rabbit XD
As for the love interest, given the fact that it’s supposed to be a “surprise” (come on, I knew who it was on page 6 – more on that later), I won’t say his name but he was pretty great, if completely forgettable. I know, I know, I am harsh, but really : no matter how much he made me smile, mark my words : I will have forgotten his name next week. I just know it.
Look, I’m all for pen pals and stuff, as it’s a plot which usually really work with me. Yet if I accept having doubts, I still ask for the story to keep its mystery, at least a little. Take Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, for example. I loved that I did not know if I was right until the very end.
P.S. I Like You, though? I knew who her “mysterious” pen pals was almost instantly, and every time a new event would occur, the threads were always so thick that I felt like I was only waiting for what I already knew to happen. Granted, the story mostly revolved around Lily’s romance with ***, and romance novels are always all kinds of predictable. Yet it annoyed me because given that I knew who it was, I couldn’t help but feel the urge to skim through all the useless scenes with other boys. Just, nope. I didn’t care, and it awfully felt like filler for me.
As for the romance, I cannot deny that Lily and *** shared a great chemistry and that I rooted for them to get together from the beginning. They made me smile, especially when they were writing to each other. But I cannot deny either that something was missing, or perhaps I’m finally too old for this kind of cute, kissing book. Maybe. See, it was adorable to see them getting to know each other, but it lacked some tension and character development in my opinion.
Finally, the music part felt flat and contrived, and rather useless. It’s as if YA contemporaries had to incorporate some kind of artistic vibes, without needing them to add something to the story. I’m quite tired of this.
It’s no surprise that Kasie West‘s writing is addictive and smile-inducing. Her books, how flawed they can be, always manage to make me happy, even if my feelings stay superficial. However, if I really appreciated the letters, the dialogues didn’t flow as well. Although they were often funny, they sounded fake and I forced myself to adapt and ignore the stiffness – or rather, the fakeness. Yes that’s a thing.
► All in all a cute but unmemorable novel. I would still recommend it to anyone who needs to smile.