The Travelling Cat Chronicles |AudioBook Review

The Travelling cat Chronicles written by Hiro Arikawa and translated by Philip Gabriel, is a touching, bittersweet and beautiful story of a young man in his thirties – Satoru – and his cat, Nana. When you come across a story with a pet involved, you know you are in for a heartbreak. And yes, this book will have it’s fair share of making you cry.

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The Movie Adaptation

Satoru is this amazing guy – who has lost his parents Image result for the travelling cat chroniclesearly in his life, has been forced to move around a lot during his school life, thus making new friends in every school and in every part of his life – yet leads life with no complaints. When he is really young, he and his friend find a stray kitten and circumstances make Satoru to adopt the cat and he loves it more than his life. When he is forced to move, he has to send the cat away to a relative and is very much heartbroken. All through his teenage, he plans to save money and visit his dear cat but fate once again closes the door on him.

Now an adult, Satoru is living alone and when he finds a street cat under his car, he immediately develops a liking towards it because it of its shocking resemblance to his old pet. When the stray cat is wounded, Satoru takes him in and moves houses for the sake of him and the two of them start bonding. After an amazing couple of years together, destiny forces Satoru to find a new home for Nana and goes on a travel to find his old friends to ask for their help. The story is about how Nana and Satoru meet his friends from every part of his life and what happens to their friendship in the end.

I gotta tell you, this is one amazing book and you MUST read it. Go on! Even if you aren’t a cat lover (hell, I ain’t one) you cannot stop falling in love with Nana’s sass and feisty narration. The author draws a beautiful picture of Satoru and his friendly and compassionate and patient nature that one can’t stop wondering “is he for real”. The man cries for a cat !! How can I not fall in love with the story?

Satoru might be reaching out to his friends for help but in the end he is helping each of them knowingly or unknowingly. He values his friendship so much – both human and feline!.

This is a simple yet an unforgettable journey for both Satoru and Nana and the part where they visit Hokkaido Island is so vivid and the imagery is beautiful.

But its not something to be sad about. As we count up the memories from one journey, we head off on another.

Special appreciation to the translator and LOTS OF LOVE to the narrator George Blagden of the audiobook. He was soothing to listen to and funny when reading Nana’s lines.

My rating 5 stars.

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100 Days of Sunlight | ARC review

Author: Abbie Emmons
Source: E-ARC received through NetGalley
Releases on : Aug 2019
Buy the book from Amazon

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I requested for this book after seeing its beautiful cover and through the recommendation of a bookstagrammer friend.

Tessa Dickinson is a home-schooled, 4572344816-yr old poetry blogger who lives with her grandparents. She has no friends, except for her blogging community friends who she group-chats with. When Tessa loses her eye-sight in an accident, she becomes miserable and angry and is no longer the same person she was before. In an attempt to cheer her up, her grandparents decide to run a advertisement looking for help – a typist – someone of Tessa’s age to write in her blog while she dictates. Enter Weston Ludovico, son of the newspaper where the ad is about to be printed. He decides to help Tessa even though she refuses it and shuts the door in his face. He loves how he is poorly treated by Tessa not because he is some sick psycho but because he lost his legs three years ago and is tired of people treating him differently. The book describes 100 days of Tessa’s life where she is temporarily blind and how her pessimistic self changes over the period.

When I first began with this book I thought why was Tessa’s character written this way – so pessimistic, so cold and inconsiderate about actual visually impaired people who might be reading it. But let me tell you, this book has been written through the point of view of Tessa, who is recently blind, is unable to accept it and is rightfully angry about it. And there’s a whole lot of sunshine and positive aspects that come up later in the book that makes the initial whining acceptable and realistic.

Weston’s story was sooo good, so so good. I loved how the alternating POV’s were used, from Weston’s past and Tessa’s present. I fell in love with how reckless he is initially showed and how he doesn’t quit and grows through his pain and does not allow the amputation to stump his life. Instead of using all of it to Tessa and giving a TedX talk to her, he gradually shows her there’s so much to life, so much more to experience and I totally loved how obnoxiously optimistic he is. And Weston’s family ? God!! I loved every sibling of his and his mother, his best friend Rudy. They aren’t just secondary characters and I loved how Abbie Emmons has given importance to every one of them.

This isn’t your Insta-love story, because Tessa can’t see and Weston isn’t there to fall in love with her (initially..) but to help her cope up. This isn’t about absent parents, prom dates, drugs or college applications. This is about finding light in the darkness and accepting yourself. This is a heartbreaking-uplifting kinda book that balances out romance, grief, friendship, family and happiness altogether.

“You’re not your asthma,” I continued “or your diabetes or you depression or your anorexia or your social anxiety. You see, most people would look at me and say that I have every right to be miserable. But I don’t. I have no right. And neither do you.”

Obviously, a 5 star read for me, considering it’s a debut that is so beautifully written.

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A Very Large Expanse of Sea |Book Review

|Best Books of 2018| YA Fiction|

Author – Tahereh Mafi

Other books by author – Shatter me series, Furthermore Duology.

Publisher : HarperTeen

Get the book from Amazon.in

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi was a book gifted to me by a lovely friend (@natsinbookland )in Instagram.

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If there was one YA book I would recommend to anyone, this would be it! I loved this book, I loved it for it’s representation of post 9/11 America, I loved it for the way it depicted the glorious pre-Facebook days, I loved it for showing how devastatingly painful, the life of a Muslim American teen can be in those days.

This books is a must read, y’all!!!

#OwnVoices – Tahereh Mafi has written this book to share her own experiences of being stereotyped and her struggle with racism and her love for breakdancing. This book is brutally honest and makes you ashamed, angry and regret the things we knowingly or unknowingly do against a community.

“I was stuck in another small town, trapped in another universe populated by the kind of people who’d only ever seen faces like mine on their evening news, and I hated it.”

Shirin is the angry teen who is tired of moving around, transferring to multiple schools before completing high school and is forever pissed off about people asking her questions about her hijab. She puts on a tough exterior so that people will leave her alone and not make small talk or pass racist comments that they think would affect her. She doesn’t shy away from talking back and this applies to English teachers who think she is out of place in an Honors class. Shirin isn’t entirely perfect too, she is prejudiced against people just like they are against her. And thats what makes it more relatable.

When socially-awkard Ocean and Shirin are paired for Bio, there isn’t any sparks flying. There isn’t any Insta-love, exchanging of numbers and planning dates by the end of the week. This is early 2000, mobile phones and talk times are costly and people just don’t reveal everything on social media.

I loved how Ocean and Shirin start interacting, each knowing so very little about the other. Ocean is a sweet guy, who is ignorant of the hatred and whiplash Shirin gets around school and slowly learns about her world. I loved all the mixed emotions going on in their minds. So raw and heart-warming!

Just like Shirin and Ocean, I loved Shirin’s relationship with her brother Navid, #goals!!

This book isn’t mainly about the love between two young people, but about how people around perceive it and treat them based on it. If not for the story line, read this book for its characters, pick it up to see how they affect you , resonate with you long after you finish it.

The more I got to know people, the more I realized we were all just a bunch of frightened idiots walking around in the dark, bumping into each other and panicking for no reason at all.
So I started turning on a light.

All the stars for this book!! 5/5 rating.

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The Color of Bee Larkham’s Murder – Book Review

Some books make you want to jump in and write a review so that the whole world knows about it. One such book that I read recently is.. Sarah J Harris’s The Color of Bee Larkham’s murder.

You can find the synopsis of the book from GoodReads

When I first came across the title of the book last year during its cover reveal, I was much intrigued. When I heard of synesthesia, it perked my interest.

The book is about 13-year old Jasper Wishart, who has this condition called Synesthesia because of which he not only hears sound but also sees the color of them. For example, his father’s voice is muddy ochre, the days of the week have specific colors and even knocking doors, whispers , sighs have colors. Jasper cannot also recognize faces, because of which he remembers people through their voices. Or the color of them.

 

My life is a thrilling kaleidoscope of colors only I can see..

Since Jasper can see colors, he loves painting the colors  – the everyday sounds – around him. Having lost his mother who is the only person who understands and shares his ability to see colors, he copes with his life watching people through binoculars from his window. When he notices parakeets, his favorite colorful birds, on his neighbor’s tree, he befriends Bee Larkham, the estranged daughter of his neighbor, just so he could spend time watching the birds from her bedroom window.

An unusual, unhealthy relationship forms between the two of them and when Bee goes missing, Jasper is the only one who knows what happened to her but he can’t really tell. Or can he?

This book is brilliantly written and told in alternate time periods – before Bee went missing and the present – from Jasper’s point of view. You can see the amazing efforts of Sarah J Harris when she talks through Jasper explaining colors and the difficulty of trying to make others understand the colors. The young child misses his mother terribly and this just breaks your heart when you read it. The book also brings to light an important topic – but no spoilers !!

Trying to find his mother in Bee, he falls in a rabbit hole of emotions and is caught between love and hate.

Must read this book, I cant recommend it enough!!

My rating : 5 STARS !!!!

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also find this review on Goodreads page

About the book:

Author: Sarah J Harris

Publishers : HarperCollins

Published on: April 2018

Source: Own copy

You can buy the book from here:  Amazon.in

Everything I never Told You – Book Review

Author : Celeste Ng

Publisher : Blackfriars

Pub Date: November 13th 2014

Source : Own copy

Get the book from Amazon.in.

You can find my review in Goodreads page as well.

Book Blurb

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet. 

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So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.

A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

My Thoughts

The things that go unsaid are often the things that eat at you.

This book is by far the best I have read in recent times. Its absolutely stunning and tugs your heart at all the right places.

1970’s ~ The plot

How much do we know about Interracial marriages in the ’60’s, 70’s. How ‘different’ are the inter-racial kids treated.. The judgmental eyes of people who cannot look beyond the color of skin, the inferiority complex that’s deep set within the children born for interracial parents or even immigrant parents. This book deals with all of that and more – The expectations set on kids by parents who failed to succeed and trying to enforce their dreams on them, the way the kids are obliged to follow on the path set before them and how not keeping up to the expectations leads to depression and suicidal thoughts.

Above all this, the one thing that made this book unforgettable for me is.. the struggle of the last child in the family. Being ignored and unwanted, silently observing the happenings and obviously having a better understanding of all things, craving for the littlest amount of attention. I just wish this book had been told from the perspective of Hannah.

And even when she got older, now and then each of them would forget fleetingly, that she existed — as when Marilyn, laying four plates for dinner one night, did not realize her omission until Hannah reached the table. Hannah, as if she understood her place in the cosmos, grew from quiet infant to watchful child: a child fond of nooks and corners, who curled up in closets, behind sofas, under dangling tablecloths, staying out of sight as well as out of mind, to ensure the terrain of the family did not change.

Tragedy told differently

Be it the mother who lost her favorite daughter who was supposed to fulfill her dream of becoming a medico, or the father who felt that she would be the kid who really had a ‘social’ life and does things that ‘everyone does’ unlike him, or the brother who is guilty of ignoring the sister who is the center of attraction in the family or my favorite, Hannah, everyone deals with the tragedy of losing Lydia differently. And it cannot be more beautifully emotionally portrayed than this.

This book is wonderfully written, that I never felt like I was being pushed to read about race or PoC. The writing is both subtle and strong. Like it hits the nail at the correct spot but slowly.

What made something precious? Losing it and finding it

I give 5 stars in spite of the tears, Because of the tears..

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The Bear and The Nightingale – Book Review

Author : Katherine Arden

Publisher : Del Ray (Penguin Random House)

Pub Date: January 2017

Source : Own copy

Get the book from Amazon.in.

You can find my review in Goodreads page as well.

Book Blurb

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind–she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to 25493853her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed–this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales..

My Thoughts:

This was truly enchanting and beautiful. I loved the book and I’m glad to have read it at least a year after it was first published.

The book begins with Dunya, the nurse of Pyotr Vladimirovich and Marina’s kids, narrating a story about the Winter-King, Karachun also known as Frost or Morozko, the demon the winter. She tells them about his kindness and cruelty and the story of how he rewards a girl for her courage and punishes another for her greediness. That’s the first introduction we get to have of the mysterious, mythological Winter King.

The book is full of Russian and Slavic mythological creatures and this is the first time I’ve read about them. I googled most of them just to have an idea because when it comes to picturing the book’s characters, especially in fantasy, I find it hard. So Google to the rescue.

If the domovoi wasn’t real, then what about the others? The vodianoy in the river, the twig-man in the trees? The Rusalka, the polevik, the dvorovoi? Had she imagined them all?

I loved how spirited and determined Vasya was portrayed throughout the book. Never yielding, never the one to give up but at the same time kind enough to animals and household magical creatures and ofcourse, a strong protective feeling towards her family, even to the ones who hated her. As a matter of fact, so were her siblings, Alyoshka and Irina and the father Pyotr himself. I definitely hated the Priest – Konstantin and his religious fanaticism.

I loved how the story moved easily and beautifully. The writing was nearly perfect, that you can almost feel the chills of winter with Katherine’s visually descriptive prose. Also loved how the author , in a not-so-subtle way points out how fear is instilled into people’s mind through religion. All of the nightmares listed in the book sort of creeped me out and I had to close the book at night and continue by day 😀

… he makes men afraid. He eats their fear, gorges himself, and sleeps until he hungers again. Disorder he loves above all..

Now, coming to the little disappointments in the book. Nearly 3/4 of the book later, the title characters come in and I was wondering whether Vasya was the Nightingale , maybe it was a metaphor. *still wondering*.  And there were few gaps as well which might be filled in the coming books but still made me wish to know more of Marina’s mother or the Winter King  or Sasha.

The book is the first in the Winter night series trilogy and I cant wait to dive into the second book ‘The Girl In the Tower’ which I will be getting in few weeks (Yayyy). I cant wait to read more about Morozko !

My rating 5 stars 🙂

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The Windfall – Book review

Author : Diksha Basu

Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing India

Pub Date: June 2017

Source : Review copy provided by the Publishers (Thank you!)

Get the book from Amazon.in

Book Blurb

For the past thirty years, Mr. and Mrs. Jha’s lives have been defined by cramped spaces, cut corners, gossipy neighbors, and the small dramas of stolen yoga pants and stale marriages. They thought they’d settled comfortably into their golden years, pleased with their son’s acceptance into an American business school. But then Mr. Jha comes into an enormous and unexpected sum of money, and moves his wife from their housing complex in East Delhi to the super-rich side of town, where he becomes eager to fit in as a man of status: skinny ties, hired guards, shoe-polishing machines, and all.
The move sets off a chain of events that rock their neighbors, their marriage, and their son, who is struggling to keep a lid on his romantic dilemmas and slipping grades, and brings unintended consequences, ultimately forcing the Jha family to reckon with what really matters

Mr.Jha experiences a lucky windfall when his website brings him a huge sum of money and with it a quick turnaround in his life. Living in the shadows of his Uncle’s house his early days of life are unsuccessful and he manages to buy a small apartment in East Delhi. Mrs.Jha manages the household with her husband’s salary and works for a nonprofit organization helping artisans. Their only son Rupak is sent to one of the rich kids schools in Delhi where he always feels like an outsider.

Now in his fifties, Mr.Jha has his lucky breakthrough and a chance to start over in life. He begins by moving over to a posh neighborhood in Gurgaon, lavishly spending on the house and sending his son to the United States to pursue his MBA.

Rupak is a confused youngster who is still coming to terms with the sudden change in lifestyle and his parents decision to move to Gurgaon. He flunks in studies and has an American girlfriend, who he pictures to have the typical American sitcom character’s life and never pays attention to her in real life.

Mrs.Jha is forever in the middle, not knowing how to embrace the rich life and worries about every unwanted expense her husband makes but always proud of his hard work.

The book follows the life of the Jhas and those around them and how East Delhi meets Gurgaon in a funny way.

Mr.Chopra, the show-off neighbor of the Jhas in Gurgaon, does everything to impress people of his wealth and to prove his status. He takes pride in introducing his 28-year old son who he still supports financially because he simply can.

After the move to Gurgaon, there is a constant battle for status between the Chopras and Jhas to show off and Mr.Jha feels that it is totally necessary to keep up with his neighbors.

The book was so much fun to read and you can easily relate to the characters because we meet these kinda people in real life. The struggle to fit in and keeping up is a contant battle in all our lives and this book was very realistic. Its amusing to read how the rich struggle to spend money, the emphasis here, is on the spend and not on the money 😀 They really can’t figure out how to spend everything they have 😛

The book did put into light in a rather subtle way certain things in our society like the life of a widow, the scrutiny she has to undergo for every penny she spends or even just living her life. Widow remarriage especially a suggestion for online dating sites/matrimony sites for divorced & widows was good. Also, thrown in as a matter of fact was, how Rupak knows all about his father’s work but nothing about his mother’s. The understated sad truth about the majority of married women who give up career to concentrate on family.

Overall, this book was fulfilling and not once I thought it was a typical made for Bollywood kinda script. It was funny and without exaggerations.

My rating is 5/5 stars.

P.S. Hi !!

P.P.S  Sorry for disappearing for a while

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Tell Me Three Things – Book Review

Author : Julie Buxbaum

Publisher : Delacorte Press

Pub Date: 05 April 2016

Source : Own copy

Get the book from Amazon.in

Book Blurb :

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Tell Me Three ThingsJust when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.

My Thoughts

I love a good contemporary and this book just made it to my favorite list of contemporaries. A dead parent, a gay character, a love triangle – everything i usually get bore of in YA books. But this book was neatly written, nothing too much of all these things, just a little dash of them.

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I loved the writing, the way Jessie n SN email/IM each other. The identity was really very obvious and that would have turned me off too usually but not this book.  What can i say, i'm seriously bitten by this one ❤

The one most important thing I loved was… how beautifully they portrayed the loss of a loved one, how each one was dealing with the grief. Not just concentrating on Jessie, but her step mom, her step brother Theo, here dad and finally Ethan (I love that name!!) And how they are trying to mend relationships with one another.

Fav quote:

There's nothing lonelier than a hand on a glass.. Maybe because it's so rarely reciprocated.

Tell me three things:

1)I love this book

2)I'm definitely reading all Julie Buxbaum books

3)My rating is 5/5 😀

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The One – Book review

Author : John Marrs

Publisher : Random House UK

Pub Date: 25 May 2017

Source : Own copy

Get your copy from Amazon.in

Book Blurb

How far would you go to find THE ONE?
One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.The One
A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…
A psychological thriller with a difference, this is a truly unique novel which is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

My Thoughts

I will try hard not to include spoilers in my review.

I really liked this book and to my surprise I was not able to guess many things like i usually do while reading a thriller. Actually there’s a killer in this book, but it is revealed in the beginning so that’s not what I meant about guessing. The story actually follows five different people who in some way or the other have registered with the ‘Match Your DNA’ service that promises to find the person’s soulmate by genetic match.

So there are these 5 different narrations all of them told in third person and almost all the chapter gives you a surprise or shock. And in no way I could outguess them. I did , a very few but those were really obvious ones. Just when you think that like you are able to follow the story and predict how its gonna end, there will come another twist 😛

Out of all the five, I liked the serial killer’s story. I was able to guess that one’s ending 😀

There were some typos here and there but the writing was good. I’m not much into descriptive explanations and this book was crisp and didn’t go much into the details unnecessarily. I don’t want to reveal much about the characters but you will enjoy reading about them.

I highly recommend this book if you are looking for one with so many twists and turns.

My rating 5 stars 🙂

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Always and Forever, Lara Jean – Book Review

Author : Jenny Han

Publisher : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Pub Date: 02 May 2017

Source : Own copy

Get the book from Amazon.in

Book Blurb :

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3)Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You. Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding. But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family-and possibly the boy she loves-behind. When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

My thoughts :

This is the last book of the To all the boys trilogy. You have to read the first two before starting this one.

This book kept me on my edge!!! Throughout the book I kept wondering whether Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky are going to break up. I mean I was ready to break down and melt down into a puddle. Having read other Trilogies of Jenny Han, and remembering what a wreck it made me (I still feel sorry for Reeve Tabatsky from the Burn for Burn trilogy ;_( )

So while i was expecting the worst and was kinda prepared for it, I should say I loved this book. It didnt seem like a fitting  end to a series, the second book was more like it. But still, it felt like a nice long epilogue for what happens next in happily ever after.

It’s all about nostalgia, fear of the future and never leaving loved ones yet at the same time carving your niche!!

Kitty was and will always be my favorite of the Song Sisters, she is smart, witty, has great fashion sense and makes things funnier and happier.

Peter Kavinsky is bae and I loved the way he loves Lara Jean ❤ He is perfectly imperfect, a guy who learns to braid his girlfriend’s hair, who wants to surprise her in the sweetest ways possible but feels down when they turn out otherwise. ‘He is such a boy!”

I never like Margot and this book was the same for me, she is my least favorite Song sister. This journey of Lara Jean’s life is definitely a sweet, funny and cutesy story. And oh my god that ending!

My rating is ofcourse 5 stars 🙂

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