Tag Archives: Chick Lit.

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (Review by Lizzie B. ’24)

The Sun Is Also a StarThe Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’d like to preface this by acknowledging that just because I didn’t enjoy it doesn’t mean you won’t. With that having been said, this book single-handedly put me off of reading contemporary for several months.

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon is a contemporary romance novel taking place over the course of a day featuring teenagers Daniel Jae Ho Bae and Natasha Kingsley. They meet through a series of freak coincidences and proceed to fall in love as Daniel follows Natasha around New York City, unaware that this might be her last day in the US. Now let me share my critique.

Firstly, despite all the drama, I could not force myself to care about or like any of the characters. There were some themes that I did enjoy, but the endless stereotypes and unbelievable story overshadowed them. The best segments were the short perspectives of the side characters, as I found them insightful and frankly more interesting than Daniel’s and Natasha’s, but I certainly wouldn’t read the book just for that. Initially, I thought contemporaries might just not be for me but since then I have read several contemporaries that I greatly enjoyed, only furthering the idea for me that this is simply not worth the hype.

Without spoiling the story, there’s not much else to say but honestly, if you’re looking for an inspiring comfort read, I wouldn’t recommend this. It half-heartedly discusses fate to some extent and while I think it might be fun to analyze, it was not fun for me to read. –Review by Lizzie B. ’24

***** 4 STARS *****
Written by Nicola Yoon, The Sun is Also a Star is a novel revolving around two young adults Natasha and Daniel, who fall in love despite the numerous obstacles that come their way. First, Daniel is Korean and Natasha is African-American, which is a racial difference they believe their families would not approve of. Moreover, Natasha is an undocumented immigrant and is to be deported the exact day they meet, forcing the two lovers to separate. Despite the challenges they face, both Natasha and Daniel attempt to make the best of their bad situations. They focus on the present and on each other, cherishing the time they have left together, instead of constantly worrying when they will have to leave each other.

This book is unique and showcases the perspective and thoughts of each character by labeling their names at the top of every page rather than being narrated from only one perspective. This allowed the reader to really feel what the lovers are feeling, and anticipate and fear what will happen to the protagonists. I would definitely recommend this book due to its beautiful concept of how living in the moment is such an important concept that everyone needs to implement in their own lives. – Sachi B. ’21

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The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me (review by Anya W. ’20)

The Birds, The Bees, and You and MeThe Birds, The Bees, and You and Me by Olivia Hinebaugh

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

WARNING: Opinions presented herein may be skewed by the fact that I was reading this book at two in the morning.

While not the most memorable book I’ve ever read, Hinebaugh’s novel is founded upon a strong premise: when a school’s curriculum is misinforming students to a level of danger to their safety, what’s a girl with the know-how to do? Of course, then people come and just make things more complicated.

In a tale of secrets, friendship, and self discovery, Hinebaugh uses a compelling premise to clearly send her messages. While the romance seems at times an easily shed distraction from the drama, it is well written enough not to disappoint fans of romance. The drama is on point, the injustice enough to move hearts and the writing clear enough to read but complex enough to enjoy, even while sleep deprived. -Anya W. ’20

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Lovely, Dark, and Deep by Justina Chen (review by Anya W. ’20)

Lovely, Dark, and DeepLovely, Dark, and Deep by Justina Chen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Viola Li has a Plan. After the end of her first trip with her aunt, to Africa, she’s working on several more bake sales to raise money for the causes she’s written about. A few more of her scheduled vacations, and she’ll have just the right resume for acceptance as a journalism major to her dream school in Dubai.
Except, as it turns out, sometimes the malaria vaccine can give you extreme, permanent, photosensitivity. Thanks to her professional disaster manager parents, Viola’s entire life and all her plans for the future are permanently deconstructed within a week. All that’s left now is figuring out how to cope.

Chen’s novel is a good beach read, and typical YA. The romance, while not badly-written, is not particularly epic-it would have had the same impact as a friendship. However, her writing is excellent at evoking empathy within the reader, and breathes life into her main characters.
-Anya W. ’20

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Once and for All by Sarah Dessen (review by Anya W. ’20)

Once and for AllOnce and for All by Sarah Dessen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After losing Ethan, Louna isn’t sure if she can ever fall in love again at all, and her summer job helping out at her romantically jaded mother’s wedding planning business isn’t doing anything to change that. Not even a friendship with Ambrose, the new hire and a natural playboy, or an intriguing bet will change that. But now, it is a matter of who will give up on the bet first: Ambrose, who has to find someone to go steady with for seven weeks, or Louna who has to go on two dates a week for the same amount of time. After all the winner’s prize (getting to choose who the loser goes out with next) is too good to turn down… And Sarah Dessen has rolled out another instant classic. Just like her other works, the novel is a cute romance with a few more serious undertones filled to the brim with lovable characters. While I would not have minded a bit of more rounding out of Ambrose and Jilly (the best friend) neither were by any means flat. – Anya W. ’20

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Heartless by Marissa Meyer (review by Prameela K. ’19)

HeartlessHeartless by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a fan of Marissa Meyer and her science fiction fantasy Lunar Chronicles series, I was eager to read her standalone debut. Once I learned that Heartless was a fairy tale origin story with a Victorian setting, my anticipation only heightened. A fantasy period novel based on Alice in Wonderland? Count me in.

Heartless draws upon many aspects of Lewis Carroll’s whimsical world in Meyer’s re-imagination of the Kingdom of Hearts, where Wonderlandesque oddities and the social constructs of Victorian-era England intermingle to create a setting equally strange and captivating.

At the center is Catherine, a teenage girl with big dreams and an even bigger heart. Unlike many young adult protagonists, she is not overbearing or infuriating, and her kindness is admirable. She is a lover of all things sweet, and her aspiration in life is to open up a bakery–but her parents have different plans for her and aim to consolidate her marriage to the foolish, and incredibly annoying, King of Hearts.

Oh, but of course, there is a love interest: Jest, the roguish and devilishly handsome court jester. He has a mysteriously magical past and the obscurity of his identity may be frustrating at times, but he makes up for it with his humor and charm. He and Cath have instant chemistry and their interactions are chock-full of witty repartee. Oh, and do not forget Jest’s equally mysterious raven, who is reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem and only speaks in, well, poetry. Jest is also a friend of the famed Hatter, who was really quite a hunk back in the day — before he went mad and all.

Because Cath starts out as a well-rounded character with a strong sense of right and wrong, there is little room for moral development. Instead, Meyer focuses on her progression from being an aspiring young baker to being the Queen of Hearts. The plot is filled with twists and turns as Catherine embarks on a journey to fulfill her goals and discover who she truly is. While the novel has its fair share of romance, the action is what truly captivated me–Cath’s bravery shines through when it matters the most.

At points, the plot progresses slowly, but as the page count dwindled I found myself more and more enthralled in the characters’ fates. Whopping revelations, nail-biting action sequences, and heart-wrenching plot twists combine to form a stress-inducing final 100 pages that culminate in an ending that is, at first, shocking. But after a few days of deep thinking, I realized that the plot had really been going in that direction all along, and one of the main reasons why Heartless made such a strong impression. – Prameela K. ’19

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Girls Like Me by Lola StVil (review by Anya W. ’20

Girls Like MeGirls Like Me by Lola St.Vil
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Girls Like Me is an artistic collection of prose starring Shay, an overweight, quirky, junior still coping with her father’s death with the support of her two best friends, and her budding romance with “Blake,” someone she talks to exclusively online. As their connection deepens, she finds out Blake is actually one of the most popular guys in her school. Because she deems him to be way out of her league, she attempts to conceal her identity. Mishap and mayhem ensue, just as her friends’ lives start getting tougher and tougher, sending Shay–and the reader–on an emotional roller coaster. Along with giving readers a (very) relatable protagonist, all the main characters have some level of depth and uniqueness. Although at least one plot point that could have been quite interesting was dropped (but not badly enough to make,**horror of horrors**, a plot hole!), all in all Lola StVil crafts a realistic story about first love and friendship that is pretty much guaranteed to give every reader major feels.

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Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan (review by Jenny B. ’16)

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should FeelTell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel is a fantastic book, one of the only good books I’ve found that includes a lesbian romance. Aside from the love story, however, the book lacks interest. Its somewhat clichéd series of events could happen in any YA book and some of the character development was not believable. Despite its shortcomings, I loved the romance and the way the book portrayed real feelings that teenagers experience, awkwardness included. The book follows Leila, a young Iranian girl, on her journey of self-discovery. She makes new friends and participates in ever fun high school romances, and finds her ‘love nugget’. It will appeal to anyone looking for a cheerful LGBT YA romance, or anyone bored on a long bus ride.

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Walk Me Home by Catherine Ryan Hyde (review by Melissa K. ’18)

Walk Me HomeWalk Me Home by Catherine Ryan Hyde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After their mother dies, two sisters Carly and Jen trek from New Mexico to California in hopes of living with her ex-boyfriend. Trying to dodge Child Protective Services, they risk hitchhiking with strangers, dehydration in the desert, and stealing for sustenance. They pass small towns and encounter an odd variety of people, whose quirks are the highlight of the novel. Even the minor characters have distinctive voices. Catherine Ryan Hyde manages to convey regional accents so naturally that the reader barely notices them. The downside of the novel was the overuse of fragments, which distracts from the plot. If that annoys you, avoid this book. Otherwise, Walk Me Home is an easy, satisfying read. – Melissa K. ’18

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Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook (review by Joyce Z. ’17)

Nobody But UsNobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nobody But Us is a cliched (but with a twist) novel about a boy and a girl who run away together. Zoe has dealt with her drunken father’s abuse ever since he was responsible for her mother’s death when she was young. Will was abandoned by his mother and is constantly being bounced from one foster home to another. Zoe never stands up for herself; Will often causes trouble because he can’t control his temper. Although Zoe and Will are constantly facing new challenges, I feel like this book dragged on for too long. Most of the book is about their constant fighting and their emotional up and downs while running away. Towards the end, however, this book becomes more intense and ends with a heartbreaking twist. Some may feel the storyline is too predictable, and that there are not enough turns and twists. One positive aspect of this book is that the point of view is constantly switching from Zoe’s to Will’s so that we are able to know the internal thoughts of both protagonists. Overall, I think that Nobody But Us is a good book but not a must- read. – Joyce Z. ‘17

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Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (review by Sana A. ’17)

Beauty QueensBeauty Queens by Libba Bray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens begins with fifty beauty pageant contestants on a plane to The Miss Teen Dream Pageant, which is hosted by The Corporation. When the plane crashes, hilarity ensues. Bray’s wit and sarcasm is on every page. The characters may, at first, seem like perfect representations of their stereotype; but upon closer look, they are anything but. As they scramble to survive, the girls grow close and realize that The Corporation — and its numerous products and television shows — has only been damaging society’s view of women. Adding pirates, hilarious commercial breaks, a view of what is happening at the secret Corporation base, and insight into many of the girls’ backstories, Bray has created a tightly interwoven novel that expertly combines humor, action, romance, and a little bit of feminism. This fun and light female-oriented read will make one snicker and sigh as they are swept away with a group of beauty queens. – Sana A. ‘17

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