City of B

Love, Life and the List by Kasie West

Love, Life and the List by Kasie WestLove, Life, and the List by Kasie West
Published by HarperTeen on December 26, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Goodreads
four-stars

Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being. But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.


*This review is for the audiobook version*

Love, Life and the List, like every other Kasie West book I’ve read, is filled with heart, smiles, tears, and a dash of laughter. These are all the things I’ve come to expect and look forward to in any book written by Kasie West, the queen of contemporary romances.

When I’m reading a book by Kasie West, I never feel like I’m meeting the same characters or seeing the same story being told again. Every character that this author has ever created, has had their own individual personality, with unique strengths, weaknesses, and an original voice.

The story in Love, Life and the List is told by Abby, a fun, smart, super-snarky girl, who has been head-over-heels in love with her best friend Cooper for a long time. I loved Abby and Cooper’s relationship, their hilarious banter, and the stories of the past mischief they’ve gotten into. They have such great chemistry, and I was rooting for them to take their relationship to the next level the entire time I read this book.

Abby is quite possibly my favorite Kasie West character to date, because she was deeply conceived, with a great character arc. When the director of the art museum Abby works at tells her that her paintings lack “heart”, Abby starts a heart-growing list as a way to expand her horizons, to gain a greater outlook on life, and to tap into the deeper emotions she’s being told she doesn’t express well enough.

I thought it was pretty shitty of the art director to say that Abby’s work wasn’t good enough, because “art is subjective”, but I also didn’t disagree that Abby would highly benefit from trying new experiences. She has a lot of insecurities, tends to avoid confrontation, and is afraid of change, and the list she created with the help of her mom, and grampa, helped her work through all of those things. The heart-growing list is full of things like face a fear, learn a stranger’s story, read a classic book, and other tasks designed to help push Abby outside of her comfort zone.

Luckily, besides Cooper, who works through the list with her, Abby has her hilarious and endearing grampa to encourage her every step of the way. Her grampa is incredibly smart, and snarky, and definitely gave Abby her snarky-ness. I really loved his character, because I rarely see books with grandparents who play vital roles. Abby’s dad is off in the armed forces during the whole book, so her grampa filled that absent fatherly role. He was Abby’s number one fan, and it was so heartwarming.

Audiobook narrator: She was perfect! Not only did she sound like an actual teenage girl (what a relief), she was able to put a lot of emotion into her voice during highly emotional scenes.

Love, Life and the List is a must read for lovers of contemporary romances!

four-stars
City of B

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Tell Me Three Things by Julie BuxbaumTell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
Published by Delacorte Press on April 5, 2016
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 328
Format: Audiobook
Source: Scribd
Goodreads
three-stars

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

 


*This is a review for the audiobook version*

I had a hard time getting into Tell Me Three Things, because in the beginning I really didn’t like the main character Jessie. Her inner dialogue was incredibly boring, and because she avoided talking to her new family and new classmates, there was an overabundance of that inner dialogue. I kept finding myself zoning out while listening.

I finally started to get into the story when Jessie started talking with Somebody/Nobody, a mysterious, self-proclaimed Wood Valley High school student who offers to teach Jessie the ins and outs of her posh new high school. This mysterious emailer was witty, clever, and handy, and brought out a side of Jessie that wasn’t there in the beginning. I finally started to enjoy her character when they began their online friendship, because Jessie was surprisingly witty too. Like Jessie, I started falling for SN.

I finished this book a tad disappointed, because SN’s identity was too easy to guess, but I was also a little happy when my guess was correct, because SN’s identity was the one I was wishing for.

Overall, this book was a good read/listen. It didn’t hit me with any intense emotions, and Jessie was very yawn-y in the beginning, but towards the end of the book I was hooked. The mystery of SN’s identity was consuming, and I was anxious to know if my guess was right. I definitely recommend this book to other contemporary romance lovers, because I think my problem with Jessie might just have been personal preference.

As far as the narrator goes, I had no problem with her. She sounded like a teenager, and was able to tweak her voice well enough for me to keep straight who was speaking and when.

three-stars