Author: Kasie West
Release Date: July 26th, 2016!
*Physical review copy kindly provided by Scholastic.
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.
Kasie West books are brain candy. They’re fluffy, full-of-bantery-goodness books, but they do have underlying messages that I love to see. The one in this? Don’t judge a book by its cover, and the people who want to be in your life are in it for you, and not who they think or want you to be. There is one big issue I take with her books, though, something that has been in at least 3 of them that I can remember. It’s that her female main characters are always put on this, like, pedestal because they’re different. They’re not like other girls, that horrible line that I call complete bullshit. It’s not said in those exact words, but it’s there. The characters are always made out to be almost, better, because they are different. And it’s awful, because the love interests subscribe to that belief as well, and just UGH. There is nothing wrong with other girls. And why do your MCs always have to be unlike everyone else? It doesn’t make them better. It’s annoying.
It’s something that truly bothered me in this book. And it’s also something that put me off from the main character, Lily. There wasn’t anything truly horrible about her, but she wasn’t my favorite MC of Kasie’s. I can’t even put my finger on what it was about her, but a lot of times I wanted her to be a lot more self-aware of the people in her life, and others. That don’t judge a book by its cover was a lesson to be learned, as Lily came to realize that she’d judged people based on the surface of who she thought they were. And it was hypocritical of her to do that when she wished people would give her a chance as well, see beyond her awkwardness and weird sense of humor. She did understand that by the end, and she definitely had some growth as a character. I liked her. Her humor made me laugh, though not a lot of people got it. She’d have to explain, I was joking, many times. But she needed to stay true to herself, and I’m glad she did. She didn’t need to change for anyone or to make them more comfortable. The people who love her love her for who she is.
I really appreciated the element of strong relationships in this book. Between her best friend, Isabel, and her loud, sometimes obnoxious family members, Lily had love and support, especially when she wanted to go after a dream of hers. As someone who loves songwriting, I could totally relate to Lily’s problems with it, and how scared she was about letting people see her lyrics. But she’s got a wonderful family, siblings who saved up to help buy her a new guitar, and an older sister who wouldn’t let her give up. And a best friend who pushed her to honest and to allow herself the chance to love a guy she’d never expected to. I won’t say his name for spoilery reasons, but let’s just say that I loved the letters they wrote to each other. And I loved that they both found someone who loved the same type of music and who they felt comfortable enough with to share secrets and personal problems. It was really fun watching all of that play out, though I kinda wish it had been out in the open earlier. It was super cute, and the banter in this book was A+.
Though I may have issues with her books, I am NEVER disappointed by Kasie West. I’m such a fan of her books, honestly, and I love how they all have such aspects that teens (and even adults!) can relate to. I’d love for that whole, my-MC-is-not-like-other-girls thing to go away soon. Yes, they don’t seem to subscribe to the normal teenage experience (as if there really is such a thing, lbr). And part of the whole letter-writing deal helped Lily find someone who had the same taste in obscure and indie music as she did. But making them seem superior to the rest of the girls in high school is a huge stretch and not something that makes the MC actually seem like a good person. Being different, liking different things, is cool. But it’s been such a big focus in this book, and the last West book I read, On the Fence, and I’m tired of it. It doesn’t exactly hurt my reading experience, though, especially since I thought this was such a cute and fun book!