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BOOK REVIEW: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1) by Jenny Han

BOOK REVIEW: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1) by Jenny HanTo All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1)
by Jenny Han
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

What must it be like, to have a boy like you so much he cries for you?

I’ll be up front and honest about my like/dislike for this book: Everything I disliked is because of the author. It’s as simple as that. I needed to know if it was simply me that didn’t connect to the characters or scenarios in Burn for Burn or if it was, simply put, a dislike for the authors writing. So, I gave this one a chance. If some of you don’t know it, B4B was written by two authors-I didn’t know that at the time. So, and I SWEAR this is a coincidence, I read two different books this weekend that had the same type of feel. I’ve been reading the fake and/or secret high school relationship books, lately, so I wanted books that gave me the same kind of feels that The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend did. You know-funny, lots of banter, hot but committed player boyfriend, yada yada. ANYWAY, back to the coincidence: I ended up reading two books by these two separate authors that wrote Burn for Burn together-Weird, right?? I didn’t even realize!

Needless to say that I figured out who the cheesy author was…and it wasn’t the other-it was Jenny Han. And I think what makes me the saddest about that is she actually has the cutest ideas. Like, the cutest. She creates these wonderful male leads that make you giddy and excited to obsess over. She finds the funniest scenarios to put the characters in. And she creates some pretty admirable jealous scenes that, admittedly, suck you in. There’s no denying that the ideas are there. I believe this author just lacks in execution-well….that’s subjective, isn’t it?? I mean, this book has a broad, widespread love that I couldn’t cut down even if I wanted to. Just because I think it was kind of corny doesn’t mean that everyone else does. It just means that I know this author isn’t necessarily for me.

I think I can see the difference now, between loving someone from afar and loving someone up close. When you see them up close, you see the real them, but they also get to see the real you.

And let’s get right to the point….I couldn’t identify with the naivety of the main character, Lara Jean. I found her to be so unbelievably blind that it was almost sickening. It’s not that she didn’t have her cute moments where I could have hugged her….it’s just that she was mostly dumb. Like, a lot dumb. If a boy is hanging out at your house when no one could even possibly know he’s there….he likes you, if only even a little bit. If he kisses you in front of the neighbor when no one is around, just to make said neighbor ‘jealous’, he likes you. Stop making things bigger than what they are and simplify the facts. I’ll say it again….it’s THAT simple. People who have inexperience with boys will make mistakes-I get that. But tucking tail and running to your buddy(ies) every time you think he’s wronged you makes you juvenile and more than a little pathetic. Talk to the person…don’t just assume. I swear to god…Just…Just….so much assuming. Ugh. Gawd.


 photo tumblr_n12xexNrlN1trmkp7o1_500_zpssm5jrw3b.gif

But, here is the reason I did like so many parts. Here is the reason I did like Lara Jean, at times: Peter. He was sweet, charming, and he made me laugh more than once. His sweet, possessive streak had me smiling so big, though I can’t say I got the why of it all. He became increasingly interested in her and started hanging out more than was even necessary. It started to become this little tradition in the morning with him, Lara Jean, and Kitty, her kid sister. I don’t know, I just really enjoyed his character. But, another reason this wasn’t a four?? Because of the whole Gen or Gwen or whatever thing. Eh. I didn’t much care for it, near the end. I thought it seemed a tad…odd…on his part. But not at first. So, it’s not to say this whole rating was because of Lara Jean…..just 99.9% percent of it ;).

I let out an aggrieved sigh. Why does Peter not get the concept of picking a favorite thing?
Peter mimics my sigh and laughs. “Fine. I like cinnamon toast. That’s my favorite thing.”
“Cinnamon toast?” I repeat. “You like cinnamon toast better than crab legs? Better than a cheeseburger?”
“Yes.”
“Better than barbecue?”
Peter hesitates. Then he says, “Yes! Now quit picking my choice apart. I stand by my choice.”

-lol very cute

So, you know, I’d take my opinion with a grain of salt on this one. I clearly don’t like how Han executes, even with her ideas being of an adorable variety. If you’re looking for cute, this is your book. If you’re looking for a light, easy read, this is your book. But, if you strive for something a tad bit deeper…you won’t find it here. And as for the cheesiness I so astutely placed on Lara Jean’s shoulders??? It’s not the good kind of cheese…if you were wondering (Jen), she, most assuredly, was the BAD kind.

BOOK REVIEW: Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn #1) by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

BOOK REVIEW: Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn #1) by Jenny Han & Siobhan VivianBurn for Burn (Burn for Burn #1)
by Jenny Han, Siobhan Vivian
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Postcard-perfect Jar Island is the kind of place where nobody locks their doors at night, where parents can sleep easy, knowing their daughters are tucked away safe and sound in their beds.

But bad things can happen, even to good girls . . . and sometimes, the only way to make things right is to do something wrong.

Lillia used to trust boys, but not anymore. Not after what happened this summer. And she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her little sister from the same fate.

Kat is over the rumors, the insults, the cruel jokes made at her expense. It all goes back to one person--her ex-best friend. Someone needs to teach her a lesson, and, with Lillia and Mary behind her, Kat feels up to the task.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she’s not the same girl anymore. Now that she’s got friends who have her back, he's going to be in big trouble.

Three very different girls who come together to make things right. Will they go too far?

Welp. That wasn’t what I expected. In many ways I think I’ve been putting this one off because I knew it wasn’t going to be what I wanted. It’s not that it didn’t have it’s exceptional moments where I found some immense enjoyment out of the three girls’ bonding experiences or the revenge they were seeking on the individuals who treated them badly. But, at the risk of sounding hoity toity, it all just came across so….juvenile.

So many people liked this book and I have to think that maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for it-but then I start to backtrack and wonder: would I have enjoyed the cliquey cliches even months ago, even when I was in the mood? Would I have enjoyed the somewhat childish conversations everyone seemed to have? And, most of all, would the fact that those people didn’t deserve to have even a little of their lives ruined bother me? And I have to believe that, even when I was excited about this book, it all still would have bothered me.

And that’s not even mentioning probably my biggest problem with the whole book: Every single scene or idea seemed like a contrived, watered down, wannabe version of other books and movies that, frankly, did it way better. I feel so bad saying that, but it doesn’t change the fact that every other page I kept seeing Janice from Mean Girls or Brittany Snow from John Tucker Must Die. Literally every single scene had me unintentionally thinking of other movies I have watched over and over again and loved in the past ten years of my life: Mean Girls, John Tucker Must Die, and I know there was one other that I just can’t remember at the moment. And then it also reminded me of a book that I LOATHED-*The Keatyn Chronicles*-though I must say Burn for Burn was written way better and had a little more class. That much I can say for it.

Which leads me here. People loved it. Hell, I even loved the idea of getting revenge on the bitches that I felt wronged me back in the day. Don’t we all have that secret little (if only a minuscule, tiny piece) place where we wish people that were cruel would get what’s coming to them? So yes, on that level I enjoyed it-that’s why I couldn’t one star this story. The writing was great. The IDEA of all of it was great. I just…something was missing. I rolled my eyes more often than not, the only character I really and truly connected with was Lillia (And Mary, sometimes-she could be a bit pathetic…I don’t know) and that’s only because I could see some humanity in her even as she hung out with the devil. Her love for her little sister was great and I could totally relate, remembering how protective (I still am) of my little sister I was when she started to stray from the path. But nothing could really ground me and connect me to this story. At the end of the day, all I could think of was how annoying Kat was (And I felt a tad trashy, for that matter), how I wished Mary could move on, and how Lillia was going to be heartbroken after all the acts they planned against her ‘friends.’

So, all in all, I don’t know if I’ll ever continue to the next book. It all seemed so petty, which of course it was supposed to be, and I felt bad for the people they targeted. Some of the things they had planned were vile, but then I felt some fell short. I don’t know HOW the plan at the end would truly scar Rennie-it seemed very small, really, compared to everyone else’s revenge. I just, AGH. I don’t know. I suppose I never will. It’s one of those books that is a super easy read, fast-paced, and fun if you are in the mood. In the end, I guess I just really, really, really was not in the mood. Maybe next time.

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