Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Reading on a Theme: 5 Spring 2014 YA Romances

Are you looking for a little romance? Three of these books got me through a bout with the flu earlier this year. They were the perfect distraction.

A Runaway Prince:
Becca is on a European river cruise with family when she bumps into the runaway prince of Mondovia. She has no idea who he is, but the two hit it off immediately. This could be a recipe for a fun, light romp, but instead it's the worst book I've read so far this year. The fact that Becca was so miserable in Europe and hated learning about history was my first clue that this was not the book for me. The constant lying to one's parents bothered me a lot too. I think my biggest issue, however, is that neither Becca nor Nicolai have a personality. Almost all else could have been forgiven if the characters had any bit of sparkle or punch. Royally Lost is out May 6th, 2014 Review copy from Edelweiss.

Getting the Boy Back:
Lainey Mitchell's summer is set to be great. She's got a job at her parent's coffee house with her best friend. And she's dreaming of spending as much time as possible with her boyfriend of two-and-a-half years, Jason. But then said boyfriends breaks up with her. At her parent's coffee shop. In front of everyone! Lainey and her best friend Bianci employ Sun Tzu's tactics from The Art of War to win Jason back. I liked Lainey. She is a complete character with flaws, strengths, and insecurities. She makes mistakes. I like that she is an athlete. Lainey's friendship with Bee feels real as well. Micah is more than meets the eye. What I loved most about Paula Stokes's The Art of Lainey is that Lainey gets a chance to discover herself. The Art of Lainey is out May 20th, 2014. Review copy from Edelweiss.

A History of Lackluster Romance:
Claire really wants a good boyfriend. One who doesn't fall for her irresistible friend Megan and who can deal with her fragile family. Rachel Allen's debut novel 17 First Kisses perfectly navigates the complications of high school; friends who like the same boy, social awkwardness, issues at home, longing to and simultaneously dreading moving on. I love how this story is told. One by one Claire's previous kisses are told in little flashbacks--from the playground kiss in second grade to the cheating boyfriend in tenth--that offer a lot of insight into Claire's past and character. 17 First Kisses is out June 17th, 2014. Review copy from Edelweiss.

First Summer On Their Own:
The summer before their senior year best friends Lucy and Mikayla set off for the small town of Bridgeport, Minnesota for summer jobs and the adventure of living alone. Then Lucy discovers she is working with Jackson, the boy who ruined her life in 8th grade. Meanwhile, shy Mikayla literally runs into a very cute boy and begins crushing on him before she realizes he is her best friend's supposed nemesis. Catherine Clark's How to Meet Boys is more about friendship than romance. The story alternates between Lucy's and Mikayla's point-of-view. What's a girl to do when she falls for her friend's enemy? How can Lucy get over these hurt feelings? I liked the focus on friendship. It's sure to be a fun summer read. How to Meet Boys is out May 6th, 2014. Review copy from Edelweiss.
Island Romance: 
Huntley Fitzpatrick's What I Thought Was True has a rich island setting, complicated families, and good friends. But I didn't really love the book because Gwen and Cass's relationship doesn't sizzle or spark. It took a really long time for their interactions to be anything but uncomfortable for the reader. Also, there's a lot of sex in this book, and Gwen doesn't handle that part of her life with her usual maturity. She grows, like good characters do, and comes to a fuller understand of romantic relationships. Read What I Thought Was True if you want to read about a girl with a messy romantic past and a truly good guy. Cass is a good one. What I Thought Was True is out April 15th, 2014. Preview from NetGalley.

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