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By Your Side – Kasie West

By Your Side – Kasie WestTitle: By Your Side by Kasie West
Publishing Info: January 31, 2017 by HarperCollins
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 16, 2017
Related Posts: Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1), The Distance Between Us, On the Fence, Split Second (Pivot Point #2), The Fill-In Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.
When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.
Only he doesn’t come. No one does.
Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

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So it’s been a while since I finished this book before I started writing my review (two months, actually. Oops. Life has been busy, okay!?) and this is one of those books where my feelings about it change the further I get away from it. Some books I end up loving even more after the fact but BY YOUR SIDE sort of sticks out as one that’s fizzling out the more time that passes. When I first finsihed BY YOUR SIDE, it wasn’t a Kasie West favorite but it was cute and fluffy and just what I needed at the time… But the more time I spend away from the book, the more I realize how unrealistic it seemed which is such a shame because although Kasie West’s books are cute and light, they still have a sense of true, honest characters and some wonderfully realistic family and friend situations.

Let’s start with the good stuff. I did love Dax and how he came around to Autumn! I really liked seeing him let someone in and I’m a sucker for that boy-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks vibe. I didn’t totally love his story because I felt like it was maybe a bit too melodramatic for the current context and I thought he could have used a bit more personality… But he was definitely my favorite character of this book. I just love Kasie West’s romances and I always love a good bad-boy type finally opening up and falling for someone. It’s so cliche sometimes but it’s such a heart-warming trope that I’ll never get sick of it (as long as it’s done well). I instantly loved Dax and his whole vibe.

I also enjoyed the way that the book wrapped up. While I didn’t really love the journey to get there, I liked that it ended on a harmonious note and could have been incredibly dramatic. I actually kind of didn’t see that coming and I liked the way that Autumn’s friendships resolved, which is always something I enjoy in Kasie West’s books.

Now for all of the things in the middle that left me wanting…

I didn’t feel as much personality as I have from some of Kasie’s other female leads. While I appreciate how the book highlighted someone with an anxiety disorder, I didn’t really feel like it was realistic. Granted, I don’t personally deal with anxiety to that extent but I know several people who do — both socially/situationally and generalized anxiety — so this just didn’t really feel natural to me. While I appreciated that it was in the book, I’m not sure that it’s the most accurate portrayal. I did like that a plot point wasn’t how she discovered the extent of her anxiety but rather that she hadn’t told her friends about it because she didn’t want to be treated differently. I liked that she wasn’t embarrassed by it but just didn’t want to be treated like she was emotionally fragile, but on the flip side, that’s exactly the kind of things I would tell my friends and that they could support me on. It seems like she doesn’t really have a very good relationship with her friends if she can’t even tell them about her anxiety and panic attacks and they can’t even tell that she’s getting anxious and removing herself from situations.

It’s funny because in my initial reactions upon finishing, I wrote down how much I lvoed this friend group and how much her friends ended up supporting her… but that didn’t really happen until the very end of the book. Her friends left her in a library, didn’t notice she was missing, and hadn’t noticed for years that she gets anxious in certain situations and that’s why she’s leaving. They’re all too self-absorbed to notice, I guess. I did like the way that the book ended with these friendships but looking back, I feel like Autumn was not with the right group of friends. Too many of them seemed like they were not even interested in what Autumn was feeling and I felt like she was forcing her way into this friend group.

And let’s not even talk about how the main characters were locked in a library and neither one was like, “Dream come true!” Come on. You’re appealing to bookworms, here…

It’s weird how time changes your perspective on things. I’m not changing my rating because I did enjoy the book while reading it but I think this was the Kasie West book with the biggest problems and while I love all of her books, this one is at the bottom of my list. It’s a bummer because Kasie is one of my queens of contemporary! I’m hoping for better with the next book that’s coming out so soon!

Oh, and I happened to read it during the actual weekend that the book took place so high five for good timing! It just made it that much more fun.

Autumn // Character obsessions: Her crush, her friends, Dax
Soooo, Autumn. She fell pretty flat for me. She was a decent enough character to read about but she didn’t have nearly as much personality as Kasie West’s usual heroines! I always love Kasie’s strong, spunky, proud females and Autumn was much more subdued and shy to the point where she didn’t even feel comfortable with her friends.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Kasie West. This wasn’t my favorite but I will forever be a fan of her books! BY YOUR SIDE was not nearly as fun as her other works but I still enjoyed it while I was reading it.
Left Me Wanting More: Reality. Kasie West’s books can have deep or serious issues but they usually don’t feel so melodramatic. It wasn’t the anxiety but the way it was handled and portayed, amongst other things. I just really wish it had been a little bit different.

Addiction Rating
Try it

I still enjoyed the book and the less-than-happy thoughts didn’t hit me until later. Some loved it. Others didn’t. It’s worth a try!

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BOOKS LIKE BY YOUR SIDE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    26 kisses

P.S. I Like You – Kasie West

P.S. I Like You – Kasie WestTitle: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Publishing Info: July 26, 2016 by Scholastic Inc.
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 14, 2016
Related Posts: Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1), The Distance Between Us, On the Fence, Split Second (Pivot Point #2), The Fill-In Boyfriend, By Your Side

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.

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** SLIGHT spoiler in the sense that I’m revealing who mystery note-writer is later on in my review. It’s necessary in order to properly share swoons. You can probably guess as you read but if you don’t want to know, avert your eyes! ** 

Kasie West is one of my queens of contemporary. When I’m in the mood for a contemporary novel, I usually lean towards light and fun (especially lately) so as soon as I heard about new title P.S. I LIKE YOU from Kasie West, I was ALL over that. A new cute contemporary novel from Kasie AND a secret letter exchange? Oh, boy. It had my name written all over it.

All of Kasie West’s novels are amazing so it’s hard for me to pick a favorite… and P.S. I LIKE YOU made it that much harder. It was good right from the start but I wasn’t sure it was “new favorite” material. I immediately adored Lily and her quirky, unique, and not-afraid-to-be-themselves family but I wasn’t sure I could really relate as much as I had to previous novels like ON THE FENCE (swoon).  The more I got to know Lily and her family, the more relatable they became. I really, really loved how Kasie West showed how Lily was comfortable with who she was (for example, in fashion sense and music taste) and yet she was still shy and uncomfortable to be so different at times. She had such a conviction in what she loved and yet she felt vulnerable about those things as well. There’s so much going on in one person’s life that it’s impossible to tell why they do, dress, or act how they do. Lily has a unique clothing style and makes her own clothes. It’s a passion and art is important in her family but it also stems from the fact that her parents can’t afford to buy herself new clothes and all of Lily’s money usually goes towards her guitar or hanging out with her friends. I can’t say how much I appreciated that Kasie West portrayed a character who was happy with her creations and art and was still so self-conscious of them at the same time.

I loved seeing two present parents for the main character as well. I suppose it’s more common in fantasy/dystopian/paranormal to have a noticeable lack of adults around but I always appreciate seeing two loving parents in a YA character’s life. I suppose part of the reason parents are so often absent (because of divorce or death) in YA novels is probably because that is a major thing for a teen to deal with but it’s also nice to have novels where you get to see a family with two parents who have a good relationship. I’m not saying one is better than the other but when it becomes a noticeable tend in YA to have missing parents, it’s refreshing to see the opposite… But that’s a discussion for another day.
What I loved best about Lily’s family was how supportive everyone was of each other. The kids’ ages range from 8 – 19 so there’s a wide array of sports schedules, practices, friends, places to be, and things to do among all the kids. Sometimes Lily has to grudgingly baby-sit but you can always see the love there for her younger brothers and even though she and her sister are different in many ways and can butt heads, they’re always looking out for each other when it comes to the big picture. Her parents can be a bit embarrassing but in ways that show that they care about their kids and like to have fun. It’s typical silly parents behavior that can embarrass a teenager but I loved how I could just feel the love from the whole family!

And of course there were the SWOONS. (This is the part where you avert your eyes if you don’t want to know who the mystery note-writer is!) I absolutely adored the romance in this book. First off, the letter writing reminded me SO MUCH of some of my high school experiences. We used to exchange notes back and forth all the time in classes in high school. I think I even still have the box of notes that I kept from high school somewhere (you know, if I ever want to re-live those embarrassing world’s-shortest-relationships) and memories of many, many text and instant message conversations with crushes. The beauty of this book was the hate-to-love relationship. Oh yes, I’m talking about how Lily’s mortal enemy #1 Cade ends up becoming the love interest. It was done so well because I spent the first half of the book suspecting the note-writer might be him (he was the prominent male character even in the first half of the book) and wondering how in the world he was going to be turned around into someone I would actually like and it so worked. Everything that Cade did and said truly had a reason behind it and it just goes to show you that you never know what’s going on in someone else’s life and where they’re coming from. The characters really reminded me of myself and some things I had gone through during high school and it also just makes me wonder what sort of things I was missing in other people’s lives because I was too absorbed in my own. I won’t spoil everything here but I will say that these swoons just totally took me by surprise and this relationship ended up being amazingly cute. When the reveal happened and these two characters came together… GAH. I just melted.

Not to be missed in the midst of the swoons was the friendship between Lily and Isabel. They come from a totally different family life, like plenty of different things, and enjoy different hobbies but they’re still best friends. Although a lot of people find friends based on similar interests, not ALL of their interests have to intersect and I really liked that about this friendship! The girls are different in many ways but they’re so supportive of each other no matter what, even when a boy threatens to come between them. (Gasp! Never!) I just loved the maturity of their friendship and also how it continues to grow throughout the book. Lily often has to take care of family matters before hanging out with friends and especially as a teenager that can be hard to understand but the girls end up making it work and hang out when they can. I love that by the end of the book, they understand each other even more than they already did and learned a little something about themselves too.

P.S. I LIKE YOU definitely shot straight into my favorites from Kasie West! (Although isn’t that really all of them? Don’t make me choose!) The beginning started off a little slower for me than previous books but the middle and ending were oh-so-rewarding and just so darn cute. Kasie West never fails to deliver a cute contemporary and characters that are so incredibly relatable. She continues to be an auto-buy author for me and even though I just finished this book, I can’t wait for more!! 
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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Letters in books. I just love when letter-writing is a big part of a book. Emails, letters, texts, you name it. It just reminds me so much of writing back and forth with crushes in my youth and it brings back fun memories and feelings!
Left Me Wanting More: Time with the reveal. I did enjoy that Lily’s mystery man stayed a mystery for about half of the book… but I also could have used more time knowing who he was so we could see more of that crossover time! All of those little moments where they almost find out about each other… And more time of them together and swooning!

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

I simply adore Kasie West. Her contemporary novels are perfection and I will instantly buy any single one of them and so should you.

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BOOKS LIKE P.S. I LIKE YOU

(Click the cover to see my review!)

MEANT TO BE    ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS

Blog Tour: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West | Book Scents

Blog Tour: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West | Book Scents

Welcome to the blog tour for
P.S. I LIKE YOU by Kasie West!

I’m SO excited to share my blog tour post for P.S. I LIKE YOU today! I simply adore Kasie West, no matter what she writes, but I especially love her contemporary novels and P.S. I LIKE YOU may be one of my favorites yet. The books was absolutely wonderful through and through… but I’ll post a review sometime later! Today’s blog tour stop is all about BOOK SCENTS! Thanks to Hannah from Irish Banana Blog Tours and Scholastic for making this blog tour happen!

Before we jump into the tour, let’s take a second to check out some details about the book:

Blog Tour: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West | Book ScentsTitle: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Publishing Info: July 26, 2016 by Scholastic Inc.
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 14, 2016
Related Posts: Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1), The Distance Between Us, On the Fence, Split Second (Pivot Point #2), The Fill-In Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You, By Your Side

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.


LINKS: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository

ABOUT KASIE WEST

KASIE WEST AUTHOR PHOTO

I write YA. I eat Junior Mints. Sometimes I go crazy and do both at the same time. My novels are: PIVOT POINT and its sequel SPLIT SECOND. And my contemporary novels: THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, ON THE FENCE, THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND, PS I LIKE YOU, and BY YOUR SIDE. My agent is the talented and funny Michelle Wolfson.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook

BOOK SCENTS: P.S. I LIKE YOU

Ever since I started making candles, I’ve been so much more in tune with the sensory notes in the books that I read. I feel like aromas in a book are easily skipped over and forgotten once a reader has finished because noticing and committing a smell to memory is such a unique experience that it’s harder hang onto if you haven’t experienced it first hand. I know at least for me, when a book draws on a familiar smell, I’m instantly hit with memories and nostalgia that have the potential to tie me to a book more than any other scenic description so I feel like those smells that add to the atmosphere are not to be overlooked!

Drawing upon my newly heightened awareness, I’ve started keeping tracking of specific scents described in book and how they really paint an even more vivid picture for a reader! Today on Book Scents, I’m sharing some of my favorite aromas from P.S. I LIKE YOU! They immediately had me thinking back on what fragrances I would use to mimic each experience and I’ve included each one below. (Now how do we make these posts scratch and sniff?)

The kettle corn cart was closer to our booth than normal and the sweet smell in the air almost made up for what I’d discovered upon arriving at the Fall Fest.

Inspiration: Kettle corn, Fall Fest
Fragrances: Fresh popcorn, sugar, apple pie and pumpkin pie spices

Is being considered crazy a tradition? Because that’s what our tradition is. Okay, we actually have a real one: The double-blind taste test. First, both my mom and dad make pumpkin pies. Different ones, mind you, but both pumpkin. Then they cut the pies in the other room and put pieces on different places. One each for everyone there. Then they force us — force us — to eat it blindfolded. then we have to tell them whose is better. 

Inspiration: Thanksgiving, pumpkin pie
Fragrances: Pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, whipped cream

It would seem awkward to step back now, like he affected me in some way, so I didn’t. Because he didn’t. But his musky scent sure was doing a number on my breathing.

Inspiration: Musky boy scent
Fragrances: Cool clear water, pine, oakmoss, moon lake musk 

He tasted like mint gum and all my hopes and dreams.

Inspiration: Mint gum
Fragrances: Spearmint, vanilla, sugar

So what do you think?! Which scents do you think are the strongest sensory inspirations? Which are your favorites?


Don’t miss the rest of P.S. I LIKE YOU blog tour stops!

GIVEAWAY

TWO lucky winners will receive a finished copy of P.S. I LIKE YOU! Enter through the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Fill-In Boyfriend – Kasie West

The Fill-In Boyfriend – Kasie WestTitle: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Publishing Info: May 5, 2015 by HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 15, 2015
Related Posts: Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1), The Distance Between Us, On the Fence, Split Second (Pivot Point #2), P.S. I Like You, By Your Side

    When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend— two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.
The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party — three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.
Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

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I have grown to be a HUGE Kasie West fan. I just loved the Pivot Point duology and have been head over heels for her contemporary books so far. As soon as I heard about THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND, I immediately pre-ordered the book and was lucky enough to grab at copy when I was at ALA Midwinter in Chicago this year! Although THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND isn’t my favorite of hers so far, there’s nothing bad to be said about this book and it’s just as delightful and fun as I had hoped it would be!

The book wastes no time introducing the situation at hand with Gia and how she ends up having a “fill-in boyfriend” and their interactions are just plain adorable. I didn’t relate to Gia as much as I have with previous Kasie West heroines but I do admire that she’s not really afraid to ask for what she wants, and when her boyfriend leaves her in the parking lot at prom (what a jerk, right?) all she wants is to save face in front of her friends because her frenemy is pushing the idea that he doesn’t exist. Fortunately, she finds a Fill-In Bradley and he is too adorable and willing to play along to help out a total stranger. The relationship that begins to form between the two just totally worked and I just really loved the dynamic between Gia and Fill-In Bradley. (Yes, he does have a real name but it’s not revealed until later in the book so while other reviews may mention him by name, I’m going to leave you guessing because it was fun for me not to know until Gia did!) They really played off each other quite well, with Gia being a bit more head strong and unafraid to say what was on her mind and FIB being a bit more reserved. They balanced each other out and FIB helped Gia see a different side of herself that she wasn’t able to see around her friends.

The friendships in this book were really interesting and I loved seeing so many different types of friendships! Of course we see Gia and FIB start to become friends out of nowhere and because the way that they met was so wacky and unconventional, they don’t really need to hold back in any way. Gia also ends up talking to a girl in one of her classes who is very much on the opposite side of the social realm. Bec is a bit anti-establishment, definitely not one of the “popular” kids like Gia is, and unlike most people in the school, doesn’t really care what Gia thinks or what anyone thinks, really. She’s able to tell Gia like it is and dish out some of her own medicine and their sort of mutual dislike starts to transform into a solid friendship (especially since Gia is the type of person who doesn’t like to have people dislike her). Then there’s the frenemy story line, which isn’t something I’m usually interested in but Kasie West totally makes this one work. Gia’s best friend is also best friends with a girl named Jules who for some reason seems to have it in for Gia but at the same time, remains in their friend group. Gia struggles with questioning why Jules seems to want to turn her friends against her or if she just feels threatened and is making the situation out to be much worse than it really is. I just really loved all of the different ways these characters come together (or are pushed apart) and am once again so impressed with how well Kasie strings these all together!

The romance, of course, was positively adorable. I love some good banter in books and Gia and FIB just really played off of each other so well. Then of course, Gia starts to develop the FEELS — and who can blame her? This guy is seriously cute and I love that he’s a sort of nerdy type and totally not what Gia thought she would be into. I sort of love unexpected romances like that so I was all for the two of them eventually falling in love! Each character has their own past and skeletons in their closet when it comes to relationships (although clearly FIB knows Gia’s) so naturally, things become complicated, especially when trying to maintain a fake relationship meanwhile wondering if it really is real.

All-in-all, THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND was exactly what I had hoped it would be and I just loved it! I think I connected more with other plots and characters from previous Kasie West books so this one didn’t take over as my favorite of hers but that doesn’t mean I didn’t love it all the same! I’m always so impressed with her storytelling and how she brings characters and plot to life.

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

The Fill in boyfriend gr updates

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Gia // Character Obsessions: Friends, saving face, being alpha, building relationships, social media.
I did like Gia! It was nice to see a popular girl not to be so stereotypical. I mean, yes, some are but the majority of my high school wasn’t like that. Most people aren’t like that. They’re very unique and have a wide variety of interest so I appreciate that Gia’s popularity also stemmed from being on student council (and how awesome is their sober graduation bash instead of the popular girl being a party girl? Loved that). I wasn’t like “omg new BFF” but I have definitely been in her shoes as far as friends and relationships and even family go.
Fill-In Bradley // Character Obsessions: Super cool nerdy things, family, selflessness.
FIB was SO cute. I just loved how he immediately clicked with Gia and he wasn’t afraid to give her a hard time when she deserved it. It was also neat to see their relationship because he was the only one who knew the truth about real versus fake Bradley so it was like they had a little secret! Anyway, just loved him in general.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Frenemies. Usually I avoid books where girls are hating on each other. I just don’t like watching people claw at each other to try to become the top dog for popularity’s sake or to gain social status… but Kasie West rocked this concept! There was a real reason why Jules was kind of terrible and it was a real struggle between the two girls and not superficial so I actually enjoyed it!
Left Me Wanting More: Main character connection. I liked Gia a lot but there were also quite a few ways in which I didn’t relate. That doesn’t make her any less of a character for me but the contemporary characters I usually fall in love with as far as fluffier reads go are the characters who I can totally relate to/want to be BFFs with (like Charlie from ON THE FENCE). Still loved her and it’s just a silly thing because obviously I can’t be like ALL of the characters ever, ya know?

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

Just adorable. All the love for Kasie West. Go buy this and all of her books. I’ll wait.

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BOOKS LIKE THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND

(Click the cover to see my review!)

OPEN ROAD SUMMER     PAST PERFECT

Split Second (Pivot Point #2) – Kasie West

Split Second (Pivot Point #2) – Kasie WestTitle: Split Second (Pivot Point #2) by Kasie West
Publishing Info: February 11, 2014 by HarperCollins
Source: Gift
Genres: Paranormal, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 8, 2014
Related Posts: Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1), The Distance Between Us, On the Fence, The Fill-In Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You, By Your Side

Addie has always been able to see the future when faced with a choice, but that doesn't make her present any easier. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. So when Addie's dad invites her to spend her winter break with him in the Norm world, she jumps at the chance. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He's a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. She wants to change that.Laila, her best friend, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie's memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don't want this to happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.
In the suspenseful sequel to Pivot Point, Addie tries desperately to retrieve her lost memories and piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot.

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** This is a spoiler-free review for SPLIT SECOND but may contain spoilers for book one — PIVOT POINT — if you haven’t already read it! **

I had been meaning to read SPLIT SECOND for a looooong time but never picked up a copy for myself so when I received it from Brianna (Paperback Princess) via Andi’s Spring Exchange, I was so excited to finally finish off this duology and figure out where the story went after the exciting ending to PIVOT POINT!

SPLIT SECOND pretty much picked up where PIVOT POINT left off — Addie has made her decision on which parent to live with after seeing the two possible futures with each one — but SPLIT SECOND also has something that PIVOT POINT did not: a split POV. The book starts with Addie’s point of view, but we also get to hear a different part of the story from her best friend Laila, who I loved! Addie is always the more serious one and the planner whereas Laila is more laid-back, spontaneous, and extroverted so it was great to see the book from two very different mindsets. Another thing that I loved about the dual-POVs is that Laila actually played a really big part in PIVOT POINT — she actually changed Addie’s entire life in a BIG way, as we find out at the end of the book — so I really enjoyed that Kasie West chose to highlight her importance in these books by giving her an even stronger voice.

A very complicated part of the book (and not bad way — in a very interesting way) is the romance that was established between Addie and Trevor in book one and clearly all the readers are rooting for in book two. I want to say SO MUCH about it, but if I say everything, that will lead to very big spoilers so… sigh. I will refrain from spoilers! What I will say is that I love how Kasie West chose to handle this situation. As we find out from the end of PIVOT POINT, Addie is forced to choose the path in which she doesn’t meet and end up falling for Trevor in order to save her best friend, leaving readers sad and on edge in anticipation of SPLIT SECOND… So really that was my main question when I started the book: HOW DO THESE TWO END UP TOGETHER? (Because be honest. You know they have to.) Every step of the way felt bittersweet and tense and exciting all at once and I just really loved how Kasie West ending up weaving this story line. I thought it was simply perfect and couldn’t have asked for a better solution to the problem at hand.

I really enjoyed where SPLIT SECOND took the readers and there’s just something so refreshing about reading a duology! I love being able to get invested in the characters but not feel that long gap between several books or wonder if I’ll still be invested in the series years later. I always connect with Kasie West’s characters and even with a paranormal twist in this series, I still feel like each one was incredibly real. I had a great time reading these two books and I’m even more of a fan of Kasie West than when I first read PIVOT POINT!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Addie // Character Obsessions: Divergence, family history, friendship, para-mysteries.
I really connected with Addie in these two books… She has a level head on her shoulders but she also makes some poor decisions at times. She felt like a very mature soul and I just really enjoyed getting to know her! SPLIT SECOND was no exception and I really loved seeing her mature even more in this book.
Laila // Character Obsessions: Fun, helping her friends, honing her skills.
I loved how much bigger of a role Laila played in this book! So much about her — from her friendship with Addie to her own para-skills — really shaped the entire course of this book so I was really glad she had her own POV. Her voice was also so much fun and I loooooved her romantic interest too!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Paranormal abilities. I’ve been switching up paranormal for fantasy reads way more often nowadays and for some reason, paranormal in general seems to be more “on the way out”. (Maybe just me?) I’m glad I enjoyed this one so much — concept and all!
Left Me Wanting More: Addie & Trevor time. Don’t get me wrong — they still had a lot of face time in this book… But given where PIVOT POINT left off, you can guess how much time was spent re-building that relationship. I still really enjoyed it all but I just wanted them to get together quickly!

Addiction Rating
READ IT!

I love that this is a duology and both books are really great, solid reads. Definitely books I’d recommend to others and what set me on the course of being a huge Kasie West fan!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE SPLIT SECOND

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     the body finder    white cat

The Selective Collective features On the Fence

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The Selective Collective reads ON THE FENCE by KASIE WEST

The Selective Collective features ON THE FENCE by KASIE WEST provided to us by Harper Teen for review and use in The Selective Collective feature!

For my part in this Selective Collective post, I got to write a bout a topic of my choosing and one of my favorite things about the book (obviously) was the relationship between Charlie and Braden. I loved the athletic aspect of the book because I’m more of a tomboy at heart than a girly girl and it was fun to see some more interactions between the two characters involving sports (hello, sports ARE romantic. CONTACT SPORTS. Don’t pretend like that little touch between you and your crush never sent sparks) so I came up with a sort of “perfect day” scenario for Charlie and Braden and what I think they would have a blast with!

ACTIVITY #1: SUNRISE

Charlie and Braden both have trouble sleeping, so why not start the day with the sunrise and take it from there? Hopefully (ya know, since I’m making this whole thing up anyway) this would be a day where they’re awake more towards the 4-5 o’clock hour and not the 2 o’clock hour so they could meet at the fence and talk until the sun rises. Some sunrises can be even better than sunsets and there’s just something so much more calm and quiet about a sunrise… Not too many people awake yet, the day hasn’t started yet. I think it can be utterly romantic with the perfect setting!

ACTIVITY #2: GOLDEN GATE PARK

Source: Time.com

I’m not exactly sure where they live, but I DO know it’s within driving distance of Oakland… So I’m sending these two to Golden Gate Park! There’s tons to do (not like I’ve been there, but still) and they can go for a nice hike, check out scenery, even hop over to a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge! It’s a great place to explore and spend time together before their next activity…

ACTIVITY #3: A’S GAME

Source: The Week

Braden LOVES the A’s so what better activity than going to see a game? Maybe alone, on a real date this time without any friend drama in the mix! It’s the perfect activity for both of these sports nuts. They can sit back and relax, watching the game and still talk about anything and everything!

ACTIVITY #4: FUN CENTER NIGHT

There’s a “fun center” near my house so I’m sure there’s one somewhere close to Charlie and Braden! They have all sorts of great things to do there — from go-karts to bumper boats to mini-golf. Honestly, what better place for two competitive people? Depending on their energy levels after a busy day, they can keep the momentum going with go-karts or wind down with a casual game of mini-golf. (My money’s on Charlie!) Round out the night with some ice cream nearby. (There’s ice cream at this fictional fun center. What fun center DOESN’T have ice cream? That would be a crime.)

So what do you think? Great set-up for Charlie and Braden? Anything else you would throw in or change? I think they’d have a blast on this mega-date day!

 

And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of ON THE FENCE so please go visit their take on the book as well!

Tee @ YA Crush  Interview with Kasie West + Giveaway
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA  Review: On the Fence
Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks  From Page to Screen
Daphne & Kristina @ Gone Pecan  Roundtable: On the Fence

 

 

On the Fence – Kasie West

On the Fence – Kasie WestTitle: On the Fence by Kasie West
Publishing Info: July 1, 2014 by HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 24, 2014
Related Posts: Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1), The Distance Between Us, Split Second (Pivot Point #2), The Fill-In Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You, By Your Side

She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door.With three older brothers, Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, has always been more comfortable calling the shots on a basketball court than flirting with the opposite sex. So when her police officer dad demands she get a summer job to pay for the latest in a long line of speeding tickets, she's more than a little surprised to find herself working at a chichi boutique and going out with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game. Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with her neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden, sitting back-to-back against the fence that separates them. Braden may know her better than anyone. But there's a secret Charlie's keeping that even he hasn't figured out—she's fallen for him. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

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Another fantastic book from Kasie West, chock full of family, wonderful characters, and a romance that will make your heart soar. I really loved THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US and major bonus points for seeing some of the characters from that book pop up in ON THE FENCE! I didn’t really realize that these books were sort of companions but I just adore character crossovers so that was so much fun to see!

One of the reasons I loved ON THE FENCE so much was the wonderful collection of characters that Kasie West always has in her stories. I still need to read SPLIT SECOND but I can say with confidence that from PIVOT POINT and THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, I’ve seen her character development grow with each book. Each new work I read provides characters that just feel incredibly real and I made such a personal connection with Charlie. I was definitely more of a tomboy growing up — my sister was more of the sports nut (and still is) but we played sports, all of the neighborhood kids were boys, and I never really got too much into makeup and accessories and clothes. (I’m still not haha!) I wasn’t as much of a tomboy as Charlie is, but I definitely saw those pieces of myself in her and I really got to connect with her on that level. The neighborhood pick-up games really reminded me of my own childhood and it made me miss the days of playing baseball in the street and hanging out with the guys. I also really loved how Charlie felt like a genuine tomboy. No part of that really ever felt forced to me. She was in her element playing sports and hanging out with the guys and so completely out of her element when it came to the girly things.

I also just love the family dynamic in all of Kasie West’s books. Even though she’s missing her mother, Charlie has an amazing family with her father and her brothers, including like-a-brother who happens to be next-door neighbor Braden. She has a great support and although they give her crap about guys and about girly things, deep down Charlie knows that she always has that family support system whenever she needs it. I don’t know why but I love older brother/younger sister relationships. I always wanted an older brother (which obviously when I realized that’s what I wanted it was way too late for that haha) because I just love the protectiveness that occurs in these relationships between brothers and sisters and for some reason I just think it’s so sweet and it really endears me to the brother. (Although I’m guessing if you did in fact have an older brother, this may get annoying. The grass is always greener, right?) Anyway, I just really loved the relationship that Charlie had with her brothers and I LOVED how her relationship with Braden slowly evolved from him being like a brother and one of the guys to realizing that there were more feelings for him there than she knew.

The romance was ADORABLE. The best-friend-turned-boyfriend trope is one of my favorites because I just love the friendship basis for these relationships. There’s already a deep connection and it’s scary but so exciting to start moving that relationship towards something you both realize is there but are afraid to change. The relationship that evolves from Charlie and Braden’s friendship was just adorable and I loved every second of watching that relationship grow. I loved their banter and watching them tip toe towards expressing their feelings to each other, figuring out what was crossing this line or that.

Clearly you can tell I just adored ON THE FENCE. I immediately pre-ordered the book as soon as I finished my egalley because this was one of those books I needed to hug and then put on my shelf to display proudly. I highly recommend it for a cute contemporary romance!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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I had started reading during BEA but decided to come back to it later when I was more in the mood! 🙂

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Charlie // Character Obsessions: Playing sports, watching sports, family, her new job.
I saw so much of myself in Charlie. I wasn’t as much of a tomboy as she was but I definitely considered myself “one of the guys” back in the day and I was always up for a competition, frequently to prove that I could hang with the guys. I really liked watching her grow up throughout this novel! It was so wonderful to see how her character changed and developed.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Tomboys. I love books with a good tomboy — they’re not always done well and sometimes things feel forced or a little bit too exaggerated but I felt like Kasie West got this just right and it was so enjoyable to read Charlie’s story as a tomboy!
Left Me Wanting More: Backstory on Charlie’s mom. Clearly something is up with the mom situation since Charlie starts off the story by having nightmares about her mother’s death. I think that was the only part of the story that didn’t 100% hook me because I didn’t feel like it was really necessary? But that’s really just picking at the little things!

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

This book was so cute. If you enjoy adorable contemporary romances, I have no hesitation telling you to buy this one! I think it’s totally worth the purchase because you’ll probably want to hug it too.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE ON THE FENCE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

   anna and the French kiss Stephanie perkins   better off friends Elizabeth eulberg

The Distance Between Us – Kasie West

The Distance Between Us – Kasie WestTitle: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Publishing Info: July 2, 2013 by HarperCollins
Source: Amazon
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 13, 2014
Related Posts: Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1), On the Fence, Split Second (Pivot Point #2), The Fill-In Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You, By Your Side

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers learned early that the rich are not to be trusted. And after years of studying them from behind the cash register of her mom's porcelain-doll shop, she has seen nothing to prove otherwise. Enter Xander Spence—he's tall, handsome, and oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and the fact that he seems to be one of the first people who actually gets her, she's smart enough to know his interest won't last. Because if there's one thing she's learned from her mother's warnings, it's that the rich have a short attention span. But just when Xander's loyalty and attentiveness are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn't a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she'd ever realized. With so many obstacles standing in their way, can she close the distance between them?

bookreview1

I have been meaning to read THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US ever since I finally picked up a copy over the summer and I finally made it around to reading it! I really never should have waited that long because I adored the romances that Kasie West incorporated into PIVOT POINT and I was SO up for a book all about a super cute romance in THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US! Guys, you were right. Your squees were so on point.

THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US was straight up adorable. Right off the bat, I knew I was going to love the main character Caymen. She’s responsible, helping her mother run their self-owned doll shop, but she’s also incredibly quick-witted and I just loved her sarcasm. I love sarcastic characters and dry humor and she was such a blast to read about! Caymen was a great mix of things for me. I felt like she had a very level head and growing up with her mother running the doll shop, she not only learned responsibility quickly but also took on a lot of that responsibility herself. From the doll shop, she also learned that the rich just weren’t her kind of people and they lived very different lifestyles as Caymen and her mother constantly struggle to makes ends meet.

Enter Xander. Handsome. Funny. Caring. And rich — a big red flag for Caymen. Of course they hit it off (how can you not?). The romance was effortless and yet riddled with complications. Caymen and Xander just shared that sense of humor and fortunately for them both, Xander appreciates Caymen’s sarcastic nature and let’s be honest — he enjoys letting her tease him. They really just fit together which makes the rest of the story all the more complicated. Caymen begins the struggle of essentially hiding Xander from her mom so she doesn’t know she’s been spending her time with a rich boy. (Her mom tends to frown upon the extremely wealthy.) It’s the classic clash of classes which I don’t always connect with, but I absolutely fell in love with the relationship that developed between these two. I felt for Caymen because she has such a close relationship with her mom and having grown up without a father, the two are really all each other has, besides the family business of the doll shop.

Caymen also has the incredibly difficult weight on her shoulders of whether or not to take over the doll shop from her mother. The store hasn’t exactly been doing great and although her mother tries not to put that financial burden on Caymen, she tends to take it upon herself to try to boost sales and do what she can to help the store be more successful. It’s a lot of pressure for her to figure out if taking over the doll shop is exactly what she wants to with her life because it is her life, even though she’s not necessarily in love with. I definitely feel for her having to choose between what she wants to do (if she even allows herself to think about what she wants) and trying to keep her mother happy and keep the family business… well, in business.

I won’t go into details because I certainly don’t want to spoil anything, but there are also many more layers to this story that make it such a great book. We learn a lot more history about Caymen and her mom, about Xander and his family, and details on Caymen’s father and why he isn’t in her life. I absolutely loved the elements of family, the beautiful few but tight friendships that Caymen has, and the adorable and fun-loving romance between Caymen and Xander. If you’re looking for a contemporary book that has it all, look no further. Swoon, snark, family, friendship, romance, and obligations. THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US has it all.

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Caymen Meyers // Character Obsessions: Working, hot chocolate, family.
I LOVED Caymen’s sarcasm and sense of humor. She was so a girl after my own heart. I also just really connected with her on her dedication to family and her connection to a few close friends. I just felt like we were very similar in the sense of personality as well as personal obligations and I loved reading her story!
Xander Spence // Character Obsessions: Pre-sipping, family, appearance.
Oh, Xander. He was just so adorable. I loved that he allowed Caymen to sort of beat up on him all the time because really, he was a fan of it too. He had such an effortless relationship with Caymen and to him, although money was no object, it was also no obstacle. He didn’t ever care about money or social status (more imposed upon him by his parents). I just loved his relationship with Caymen and oh, all the swooooons.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Kasie West. I loved PIVOT POINT and I had high hopes for a straight-up contemp from her. NO WORRIES HERE. I still haven’t read SPLIT SECOND or ON THE FENCE but I have a feeling that I don’t have anything to worry about.
Left Me Wanting More: Sarcasm. Oh, there was plenty but MOAR always MOAR. I love the dry humor and sarcasm and how adorable it was that Xander played along with it all!

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

This is one you want to keep and own and hug.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        Anna and the French Kiss          Better Off Friends

Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1) – Kasie West

Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1) – Kasie WestTitle: Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1) by Kasie West
Publishing Info: February 12, 2013 by HarperCollins
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 1, 2013
Related Posts: The Distance Between Us, On the Fence, Split Second (Pivot Point #2), The Fill-In Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You, By Your Side

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.
In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

bookreview1

I had been interested in PIVOT POINT for a looong time before I got the chance to read it and I admit it, due to my habits of skimming a book summary so as not to encounter ANY opportunity for spoilers, I wasn’t 100% sure how the book played out. Turns out that Addie is not the only person that has an ability — Her whole community is a group of Paranormals, each one having a unique ability from using more of the untapped part of their brain. I must say though… I was a bit disappointed in the Para community. Not because of how it was written but the Para community, Para high school… It all felt a little cutesy and Fortress of Solitude-ish and for some reason I wasn’t totally sold on it.

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I kind of loved that the entire book flips back and forth between Addie’s Search of her life if she stays in the Para community and her life if she chose to move into the Normal world. It was really interesting to see both timelines side-by-side and when we finally reached the end of her Search, I felt like she had an impossible choice ahead of her! I loved that after every Search, it was like she actually lived both choices so it all felt so real to her – I found that really interesting! – as well as the fact that her ability was a twist on clairvoyance and had a bit more rules & restrictions.

Overall, I can’t say I was really blown away by the book, but I absolutely loved the idea and how it was written as far as the two different paths go and coming full circle to Addie making a decision in the end. It was written so well that certain things in each path appear in both, whether Addie was directly involved in that event or not. The things I was bothered by were little things like the role that football played in the story (way too much, mostly because I’m so tired of the quarterback/cheerleader roles played out) and sometimes I felt like I was just happy-floating-along instead of really being gripped by the story, if that makes sense. I’m definitely interested to see where the sequel goes and how Addie’s ability will continue to affect her decisions! I’m actually DYING to know where things are going to go and I’m a little mad I have to wait because…. well, when you read it, you’ll know!!

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Addie: Addie is interesting. There were times that I really liked her and other times she was really bothering me. Actually, I think I just really liked her when she was with Trevor and really bothered when she was with Duke. I think I just knew there was something about Duke I didn’t like and I just didn’t want to see her with him! What I DID like was seeing how mature she is about her ability and how she’s been able to use it to help her grow as a person. When it comes time to decide in the end which path to take, I think we see that trait in Addie really shine and I think I’m going to like her a lot more in book two!
Trevor: I was allllll for Addie’s time with Trevor! There was a point in the book where I had him in my mind as a cross between Tim Riggins and some kind of prettier-looking guy since she kept talking about his eyelashes. But seriously. Cowboy boot and a wool-lined jacket, high school kid in Texas? That equals Tim Riggins. Besides the physical aspects, I absolutely loved his interactions with Addie, how he treated her, and GUYS. It’s another best-friend-turned-boyfriend romance!!! (Kind of.)
Duke: I just…… Never felt like he was trustworthy! Probably because of Addie’s initial reaction to him being a schmoozer. I was on her side! I got a little more comfortable as the book when on but man, I just really never ended up trusting him! He was all quarterback, too pretty, too nice!

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Buy it!

I just loved PIVOT POINT. I think it could have had a little more oomph to TOTALLY knock me over but that doesn’t mean I didn’t love it. Totally a me book!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE PIVOT POINT

(click on the covers to see my review!) 

Time Between Us      The Darkest Minds