Okay, Twice in a Blue Moon isn’t YA but it also wasn’t very good so I’m shoving it in here. These were all middling to fair kissing books — two chaste YA novels and one sexier (but really, not very good) adult novel.
(3 stars) The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
“A lot of people don’t get my humor. My mom calls it dry humor. I think that means “not funny,” but it also means I’m the only one who ever knows it’s a joke.”
I think I’m just getting too old for these books. It’s hard to root for a romance between a couple of bratty 17 year olds when all you really want to do is tell the main character to stop lying to her mother.
“His eyes are so intense I want to look away . . . or never look away, I can’t decide.”
Caymen Meyers has grown up rather poor in a very wealthy town. She and her mother live above a doll store that they operate, catering to the rich old ladies in town. One day an extremely attractive young man comes into the store. His name is Xander because of course it is. Cayman has it ingrained in her to hate rich people, thanks to a story from her mother (that sounds SO fishy), so she resists all of this good-looking and charming young man’s advances because of course she does. They eventually form a friendship but Caymen is so wrapped up in her own nonsense that she can’t figure out if she really likes him, or maybe she really likes this punk rocker boy that her mother likes, and honestly, I think she needs to concentrate on her schoolwork.
“Is that your subtle way of saying you missed me last week?”
“I’ve missed my hot chocolate. I just think of you as the guy who brings it to me. Sometimes I forget your name and call you hot chocolate guy.”
I actually did like Caymen’s character. She’s very dryly sarcastic and I found myself laughing at her jokes more often than the other characters did. But the relationship between her and Xander and the love triangle with rocker boy just had me rolling my eyes. And of course the big reveal about the real reason her mother hates rich people was exactly what you expected going in. I got this one for free through audible Escape and I doubt I’ll remember it 6 months from now.
(3 stars) There’s Something About Sweetie (Dimple and Rishi #2) by Sandhya Menon
I really liked Sandhya Menon’s When Dimple Met Rishi, but found this follow up (which focuses on Rishi’s little brother and features the characters from the first book for like 10 seconds) kind of disappointing. It was fine, but again suffers from a lot of teenager tropes.
“But with Sweetie time passed in gentle waves. A conversation with her was like a warm hug and a cup of hot coca on a cold day – comforting, familiar, a place you never wanted to leave.”
Rishi has always dated white girls, but when one breaks his heart, he follows his friend’s advice and asks his parents to set him up with a desi girl. They pick one — a track star named Sweetie — but her parents won’t let them date until Sweetie loses some weight. Nevertheless, Rishi and Sweetie meet up and decide to go behind her parents’ backs to go on 4 dates with HIS parents making all the choices. Sweetie sees this as proving that she’s good enough to date a popular handsome guy, and Rishi hopes these easy dates will get him back on track. He quickly falls for Sweetie (she’s pretty cool, I liked her too) but all of the sneaking around messes with her head and does nothing but cause trouble.
“She was constantly being forced to think of herself as the before picture, but when she spoke to her cousin, she saw that the after picture could include her just as she was right now.”
Menon does a decent job of shaking things up a bit — Sweetie is not conventionally attractive, and the characters are very diverse — but it doesn’t quite overcome the fact that the plot is basically “basketball star gets dumped and slums it with the chubby girl to get his mojo back”. Also, the word mojo is used WAY too much. I kind of wish Sweetie would get her own book, where she runs track, sings in her band and generally kicks ass, but I could have done without Rishi.
(2 stars) Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren
I really enjoyed Christina Lauren’s last few novels (Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating and The Unhoneymooners in particular) so I was psyched for their latest: Twice in a Blue Moon. Unfortunately, it really didn’t live up to the last few. If you told me this was one of their first novels, before they honed their voices, I would have believed you.
“It was two weeks of my life, a long time ago, but I loved him. I remember the feeling; it’s still the only time I’ve ever felt it. Maybe this is why I can call it back whenever I need to–though it’s been a long time since I tortured myself that way.”
Tate Jones fell head over heels for a boy named Sam when she visited London with her grandmother after high school. They have a passionate affair that lasts just a week or two, and then Sam completely disappears. But first, he betrays Tate by revealing her biggest secret — she’s the daughter of a famous movie star that’s been hiding from the spotlight since her parents’ divorce 10 years later. Tate moves forward in life after her identity is discovered by the press, and even becomes a successful movie star in her own right. But at age 32, as she prepares for her first serious role, she still hasn’t gotten over Sam — so of course they cross paths again.
“Can you believe me, though?” he asks quietly. “That the worst thing I ever did was for the best reason I ever had?”
I thought Tate was a strong character, I enjoyed watching her come to terms with her relationship with her estranged father, and grow as an actress and human being. Sam was very blah — I got more attached to Tate’s PR guy who has a much smaller role. I think my main complaint, and this is only because I did just read a couple of their other books, was that this one was not funny. I think the humor in Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating and The Unhoneymooners and even My Favorite Half-Night Stand really set those books apart from other romances, and this book was almost humorless.