Anna and the French Kiss by: Stephanie Perkins

Summary:

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

The Review:

I have seen this book around the blogosphere as a good summer/beach read, mainly because it was a YA contemporary romance novel, and I also needed a break from the SFF books I have been reading.

The book deals with the fact that Anna is forced to go to a boarding school in France which of course she hates a lot because she is going to be away from her friends, especially during her senior year. Anna is a great character, mainly because she was a normal teenage girl going through teenage things in another country without the friends and family to support her

She also deals with trying to make new friends such as Meredith, Rashimi, Josh and St. Clair, and all of the supporting characters are also pretty well developed, and they didn’t go into the cliche high school character stereotypes.  While St. Clair may come across as the YA romantic lead, especially with a British accent. But he also had a good arc dealing with his father and his girlfriend, who he didn’t really mention to Anna. So there was a sort of love triangle but it wasn’t one of those bad love triangles.

Anna and St. Clair’s romance was really well done and it felt like a good love story, and while he did act like to typical YA romantic lead, his soft side was actually well developed. I liked that he wanted to know more about Anna’s life in the states. While there was some aspects of insta-love in the beginning, I liked how their relationship blossomed.

I also like some scenes spent in Paris and that it wasn’t just set around the boarding school, and the author did a good job at taking advantage of the setting.

The supporting characters were also good, mainly Rashimi and Josh. Both had a little bit of story with their characters, and I like that it wasn’t just about Anna and St. Clair. I also found a few Easter eggs with some other characters from other Stephanie Perkins books.

In the end, this was a great summer read, and a good addition to my YA contemporary reads. Anna and St. Clair was a good relationship that you would love to root for. I have also heard great things about Stephanie Perkins other books and I will be adding them to my TBR.

Grade: 4/5

Some Boys by: Patty Blount (TW: Sexual assault)

Summary:

When Grace meets Ian she’s afraid. Afraid he’ll reject her like the rest of the school, like her own family. After she accuses the town golden boy of rape, everyone turns against Grace. They call her a slut and a liar. But…Ian doesn’t. He’s funny and kind with secrets of his own.

But how do you trust the best friend of the boy who raped you? How do you believe in love?

A gut-wrenching, powerful love story told from alternating points of view by the acclaimed author of Send.

The Review:

This was a book on my TBR for about a year, but since it was at my library I decided to pick it up and read it. (Also TW; this book does discuss sexual assault.

The story takes place after a young girl. Grace was sexually assaulted at a party by the town golden boy Zac, and when it comes out she is branded as a slut, or someone who was asking for it, and a liar who wants to get revenge on Zac for a break up. After her assault she was ostracized by her friends and most of school because of it.

Grace, is a very strong character, especially for someone that has been through sexual assault. There was so many scenes in the book that got me saying “you go girl”, mainly the part of her owning some dude in class who tried to mansplain “slutiness” to her. Throughout the book she tries to not be defined by her assault, even if she loses friends in the process she never backed down. She also goes through many panic attacks, especially during times of stress.

Ian, was a character I felt wasn’t really as needed. Okay, I get that the author’s intention was to show the other side of the story and Ian’s relationship to Zac and the other lacrosse players. Grace and Ian both meet during a detention of cleaning lockers during spring vacation, while they do strike up a friendship it basically gets ruined by the peer pressure of the other lacrosse players, and I really hated what he did to her at lunch. While towards the end of the book he did finally grow a brain, he wasn’t the character I thought he was going to be.

I did some of the parent characters, mainly Grace’s mom and Ian’s dad. Grace’s mom was very supporting of her daughter’s assault and trying to be a good mother that I know she was trying to be, and making sure that Grace was okay. Ian’s dad was the one that basically schooled Ian on what sexual assault is and to stop being an ass towards Grace.

The main strength about this book is how it handles sexual assault. It deals mostly with the aftermath bu it also deals with the how other students reacted. There was a few students who Grace befriended who actually believed, and I kinda wish they had more development. It also kinda paints a grim reminder of what happens when a girl comes forward along with the sexism and misogyny that goes with it. According to the author it was suppose to be about Stubenville rape case, and how it focused primarily on the “poor boys” rather than the actual victim. Grace also dealt with harassment from the other lacrosse players, calling her a slut who was asking for it. Also it talked about how when she first went to the police they kept asking; what were you wearing? How many drinks did you have? Are you slept with him before?. Those all add up to how rape culture is defined.

In the end, Some Boys was a very great read. It highlights a pretty compelling issue with rape culture and how it affects the survivor, which is also added by a great and developed main character which could also add to the discussion.

Grade: 4.3/5

If &Then Thursday 5/18/2017

Happy Thursday everyone, and here is another If & Then Thursday

If&Then Thursdays is a book meme created by Alex@ Young at Heart Books. How do you participate? It’s easy! All you have to do is choose two books that are somewhat related in theme, writing style, genre, etc. Tell us how they are similar and why we would like them! All recommendations should be made in this format:

“If you like Book A, then you might enjoy Book B”

If you liked:

One of my favorite contemporary novels, which deals a lot with growing up, dealing with high school and also issues of depression. Its a great book that I am always happy to revisit again.

Than you might like:

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

Why: Both have a high school setting with great main characters who you want to root for at every page. Both Charlie and Aaron have a lot of similarities to each other including dealing with depression and trauma, and how it affects them.