The Summer I Turned Pretty Season 1 // Series Review

About The Show
Belly Conklin is about to turn 16, and she’s headed to her favorite place in the world, Cousins Beach, to spend the summer with her family and the Fishers. Belly’s grown up a lot over the past year, and she has a feeling that this summer is going to be different than all the summers before. The Summer I Turned Pretty is based on the book by Jenny Han, who is creator and executive producer.
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My Rating

If you know me, then you know that ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ trilogy by Jenny Han is one of my least favorite trilogies. Honestly, the books started off okay, and then just got worse. However, when Amazon Prime released their original series based off the books, I was intrigued. I hoped that it would be a fresh take on the books.

And, I’m happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the show. The first season obviously follows the first book in which we meet Belly (Isabella). Every summer, Belly (along with her mom and brother) goes to Cousins to spend the summer with her mom’s best friend (Susannah) and her two sons Conrad and Jeremiah.

Belly has always had a crush on Conrad, yet to him she’s like a little sister. But, now that she’s a little older, and has had a major glow up, she’s hoping that maybe he’ll see her in a new light. However, while Conrad might be falling for her, Jeremiah might start taking notice of the new Belly too. And that’s basically the majority of the plot of the first book, although a lot of other things happens throughout the book.

The show follows the first book pretty closely, but I liked a lot of changes that they made. From the first episode I knew that I was going to enjoy the series 100% more than the book. I’m not embarrassed to say that the show, in my opinion, is better.

“For me, everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.”

I don’t know about other people, but it gave me classic teen drama vibes. I’ve always been a lover of ‘Dawson’s Creek’ and ‘One Tree Hill’, so when I say I got total Dawson’s vibes from the show you better believe it’s a compliment. Also, Conrad, Belly, Jeremiah – think Dawson, Joey, Pacey. Just saying.

The actors did a great job bringing the characters to life. And, I might have to admit that this version of Belly didn’t annoy me nearly as much as the one in the book. By the way, did anyone else get transported back in time seeing Rachel Blanchard? Not only is she stunning, but I still remember loving the Clueless series where she played Cher.

Overall, the show was a good time. I think that teens today will really enjoy it, as well as adults that are desperate for a good classic teen drama. If you are a fan of the books, I think you’d still like the show, because the root of the plot is still there. Just a side note, the fact the series pointed out that teens today probably don’t know who The Olsen Twins are makes me feel so old.

In the comments, let me know if you liked the series or books better. Also, let me know if you’d like me to review the second season of the series. Don’t forget to show your support by following my book blog.

Until The Next Chapter,

Maybelline ‘Sky High’ Mascara Review // Toss-Up Tuesday

Hi Friends,
I wanted to try the ‘Sky High’ mascara from Maybelline, since everyone was raving about it a few months back. This product got popular do to TikTok, or at least I believe that is where all the hype began. I haven’t tried many Maybelline mascaras, but not for any particular reasons. I just find that Maybelline isn’t a brand that I necessarily buy from. But, let’s get on to the review! The mascara retails for around $9 (at Walmart), which is pretty comparable to other drugstore mascaras.

The mascara wand is very thin and long, and I was pleased with how much I enjoyed a smaller brush. I liked how much volume and length the mascara provided. It didn’t make my lashes spidery looking at all. I would say that this is more of a natural looking mascara. It doesn’t change your lashes drastically, and I think most people might find the product to be underwhelming. However, if you have naturally long and black lashes like me than it is a great everyday mascara.

Also, I enjoy the brush so much that I have been using it in other mascaras, which probably is silly. I personally think the hype is well deserved, and I would be interested to try more TikTok recommend products. Let me know your opinion on this product, and if you agree with the hype surrounding it. Please follow my blog for mainly bookish content and occasionally beauty posts like this one.

Until The Next Chapter,

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Dash and Lily // Series Review

Title: Dash and Lily
Network: Netflix
Released: 2020
Genre: Series/Romance/Holiday
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A whirlwind Christmas romance builds as cynical Dash and optimistic Lily trade dares, dreams and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations around New York City.

After reading the book, I knew that I had to watch the Netflix adaptation. First off, I want to say that the book and series are fairly different. I have seen a few of Netflix book-to-movies, and suspected that the series wouldn’t be exactly like the book. However, in this case I think that the changes that were made worked well.

The movie did have the same major plot as the book, which I have reviewed. Lily and Dash meet during the holidays, through a red notebook left by Lily at their favorite bookstore. By exchanging the notebook, the two getting to know one another. And, every pass of the notebook has a dare the other must to complete.

I found the show to be adorable, and definitely something that I would rewatch every holiday season. I enjoyed the acting, and connected with the character in a way that I didn’t with the book. A change that I liked was how they met (before they actually met). In the book, I felt that it took too long before they met in person. It was nice to see Lily’s quirkiness in real life, and Dash was far more relatable in the series.

I liked how Dash wanted to meet Lily, and he couldn’t even think about any other girl. He was all in with Lily. One of my major dislikes of the book was changed in the series, which probably added to my enjoyment of the show. One being, Lily seemed stronger and didn’t apologies for her mistakes, because she’s a teenager. Making mistakes is part of the job description.

“Sometimes Words Aren’t Enough.”

As for the family aspect, it was interesting to actually meet Dash’s dad in the series, since we didn’t get much info on his parents in book. The scene with his dad though brief explained a lot about Dash’s cynical personality. I noticed that Lily and her brother had a lot more scenes together than in the book, and seemed to have closer relationship. He was even the one to encourage her to leave the notebook, and wrote the first dare. This is a major change from the book, since Lily did it all on her own due to her lonely Christmas. It was refreshing seeing their close sibling bond.

Some of the characters in the series were pretty different, but still really likeable. And, there were some other relationships that I liked seeing develop as well. The ending wasn’t exactly like the book, which you can probably tell by now is a theme with the series. However, I absolutely preferred the series ending over the books. Honestly, it made my heart swoon and even my husband was a fan of the show.

I didn’t hate the book at all, but out of the two I completely favor the series. It fixed all the issues I had with the book, as slight as they may have been. It was such a heartwarming holiday teen romance show that I would recommend to everyone. In all honesty, I would even say that you could skip the book and just go for the series. Also, Nick Jones produce the series, which I find to be interesting.

Let me know if you agree with me on the series vs. book comparison. Please share this post, and like it as well. And, give the blog a follow to support my blog!

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Lucky In Love // Book Review

Title: Lucky In Love
Author: Kasie West
Published: 2017
Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary
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Maddie’s not impulsive. She’s all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment — She wins! In a flash, Maddie’s life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she’s talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun… until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn’t sure who she can trust.

Nothing is better than reading a young adult contemporary with a sweet story. I had low expectations going into the book, since the plot didn’t pique my interest much. But I did enjoy my reading experience, and liked the approach the author took on the story. I haven’t read a ton of ‘lottery winning’ contemporaries, but this one has definitely made my favorites list.

The main character, Maddie, was a solid female lead, but also more than a bit naive. She and I are similar in a lot of ways, like how she wanted to share the money with the ones she loved. She didn’t want people treating her differently because of the money. Most of all, she tried to fix things that weren’t really her problems to solve.

The one thing we for sure have in common is our need to plan literally everything. Like me, Maddie was trying to plan out every detail of her life. However, I think we have both learned that not everything in life can, or even should, be planned. We are also both major worriers, which can be very stressful. But by the end of the book you could see that she was growing and changing for the better, though she didn’t have to completely alter herself to learn from this experience.

Some of the characters made questionable choices and mistakes, but the situations were handled well, and resolved easily. Maddie’s family was being held together by duct tape and glue, but (realistically) money didn’t make their problems magically disappear. It did help some, but it also caused a few problems. It’s easy to think that money can erase all your troubles, but life is filled with struggles. Sometimes, money can make things worse, which the book addressed well.

“Weird is the new cool.”

One of the most important messages to take away from the story is that money can change everything. Maddie’s life was turned upside down, and she didn’t know who to trust. Once people know that you hold the keys to a fortune, suddenly everyone wants to be your best friend.

Truthfully, not all people will be responsible with a huge amount of money. Money just burns a hole in some people’s pockets. Maddie’s older brother was extremely grateful when she shared her wealth, but he was no financial genius. As much as Maddie wanted to save him from himself, she eventually realized that he needed to clean up his own messes.

The romance was so sweet. I don’t know if I can classify it as friends-to-lovers, but it felt natural. They got to know each other prior to the lottery winning, and it didn’t change their feelings for one another. I enjoyed seeing the love interest, Seth, help Maddie break out of her bubble and try new things. There were some bumps along the way, but I liked how things turned out.

This is another Kasie West book that didn’t disappoint. If you are looking for a quick read, or something to pick up when you feel a reading slump coming on then give this one a chance.

Until The Next Chapter,

The Dazzling Heights // Book Review

Title: The Dazzling Heights (Thousandth Floor, 2)
Author: Katharine McGee
Published: 2017
Genre: YA/Sci-Fi
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New York City, 2118. Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a breathtaking marvel that touches the sky. But amid high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, five teenagers are keeping dangerous secrets…

*This review contains information that might be seen as spoilers.*

After reading ‘The Thousandth Floor’, I couldn’t wait to see where the story was going to go. This trilogy follows multiple perspectives, and each character is hiding something. After book one’s insane ending, I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, the events that occurred in the first book weren’t a major plot point. It seemed that most of the characters were fine sweeping everything under the rug and moving on with their lives. Sure they were being blackmailed, but the fact that nobody considered going to the police didn’t sit well with me.

The plot of ‘The Thousandth Floor’ was incredible, and the characters’ story lines were engaging. This time around, they had far less depth. Avery was a favorite character of mine, but her love story went way too far. She borders on being possessive of her brother/boyfriend. Wyatt is one of my favorite characters, but I wasn’t a fan of him being paired with Leda. How was he was falling for her after everything she had done?

I did enjoy the addition of the character Calliope. She and her mother are con-artists, but you get to see the real Calliope behind the facade. Honestly, I would read a whole book just about her, and I’m genuinely curious to see where her story goes from here. Also, I liked that Avery had many sweet moments with Cord throughout the story and wish we could see that relationship develop more. What can I say, I love a good friends-to-lovers story.

The biggest problem with the plot was that the author wanted us to sympathize with a killer. I know it was an accident, but her blackmailing people and lying to the cops was her own doing. The character might have felt remorse for her actions, but didn’t want to take responsibility for them. The characters were way to quick too forgive and forget. In my book, they all have blood on their hands.

“Rich girls never left something expensive on the ground, unless they’d been the one to toss it there.”

Unlike the first book, a lot of the story was about how if you’re rich or have the right friends you can get away with anything, including murder. This time around no one seems to have any kind of moral compass. The characters are willing to commit crimes indiscriminately, provided it doesn’t ruin their lives, and that makes me dislike them all.

The story kind of let me down, which is probably why it took me forever to get through. I was hoping for more excitement, definitely more consequences. There was a cliffhanger ending, which is probably the only reason I’ll pick up the final installment. Things can only go up from here, right?

Leave your thoughts on this book in the comments below. Don’t forget to share and like this post, and show your support by following the blog.

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Bridge Of Souls // Book Review

Title: Bridge of Souls (Cassidy Blake #3)
Author: Victoria Schwab
Published: 2021
Genre: Middle-Grade/Paranormal
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Nothing can prepare Cass for New Orleans, which wears all of its hauntings on its sleeve. In a city of ghost tours and tombs, raucous music and all kinds of magic, Cass could get lost in all the colourful, grisly local legends. And the city’s biggest surprise is a foe Cass never expected to face: a servant of Death itself.
Credit: GoodReads

I was sad to finish off this trilogy, but excited to see how things would end. In my opinion, the previous books were slightly different from each other, but followed a similar format. The first book was spooky and interesting. While the second book was gripping, it was quite sad as well. I was curious to see where this book would fall.

For me, the story was a bit underwhelming. As the reader, you could tell that the author was trying hard to make the story spine-chilling and exhilarating, but something about it didn’t work. I wasn’t as invested in the plot, and characters like with the other books. In this book, we aren’t following a ghost mystery, but being chased by a soul eater. Personally, I missed the simple story of helping a ghost move on.

One of my major issues with the book was Cassidy’s personality. In the earlier books I had nothing against her, but this time around she thoroughly annoyed me. It is possible that I was more critical this time around, with it being the final book. But she acted reckless and immature throughout the book. She wouldn’t listen to anyone putting others lives in danger.

“Once, I stole from Death. I’m ready to do it again.”

I was glad to see that Lara was back, since she is my favorite character. Not only do I love her accent, but her intellect as well. As always, Jacob is a treat and adds the much needed comic relief. I did feel as if we didn’t see many of the side characters in this book. Cassidy and Jacob were alone a lot of the story until Lara joined them. I could be wrong, but I remember Cassidy’s parents being more prominent in the other books.

One thing’s for sure Schwab had a way of bringing each city to life. This time around we are in New Orleans, yet the author didn’t utilities the city as she did with Scotland and Paris. The only thing that was talked about was New Orleans cuisine.

Don’t get me wrong, the book wasn’t all bad. I do enjoy Schwab’s writing and storytelling. However, the energy in the story was off, and it didn’t read like the first and second book. The ending to the series was satisfying, but there was something missing in the plot.

These are good middle-grade ghost stories that I can see fans of Neil Gaiman enjoying. The author left the series somewhat open-ended, so she might revisit these characters in the future. If you asked me to name my favorite book out of all three, I’d pick ‘Tunnel of Bones.’

Let me know if you have read the Cassidy Blake trilogy. Did you like the final book? Please like and share this review. Don’t forget to follow my blog for more bookish content.

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Little Women // Book Review

Title: Little Women
Author: Louisa May Alcott
Published: 1869
Genre: Classic/Contemporary
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Generations of readers young and old, male and female, have fallen in love with the March sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s most popular and enduring novel, Little Women. Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.
Credit: GoodReads

Being a long-time fan of the movie adaptations, I knew that I was eventually going to have to pick this book up. The story is very iconic and timeless. At a young age, my mom would compare me to Jo. At 15 years-old, I thought that this was the highest of compliments.

Each sister (Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy) had their own stories, but they were all connected. They learned to be selfless, grow-up and above all less that family comes first. Jo March is the most notable character from the book. Probably because her arc is the main focus of the story. Also, she was an offbeat girl of that time, which was refreshing. I found Jo to be a little too stubborn for my liking, but I did notice some similarities between me and her.

Jo was outspoken, strong and not afraid to be herself. Throughout the book she mentioned how marriage, class or money wasn’t her goal. She wanted to be known for her talents instead of her status in society. Meg was the oldest of the sisters, and at first wanted nothing more than to fit in. I enjoyed her journey most of all. She chose love and a family over a career, which isn’t always a bad thing. I liked that she married for love, and though she wanted expensive things, never regretted the life she picked. Out of all the sister, I found myself relating most to Meg.

Beth didn’t have a big plot in the book, but she was the glue that tied the sisters together. She was kind, shy and had a great love of music. In the book, she probably went through the most physically, and it was painful to see how her story ended. She never complained about the cards she was dealt, and wanted what was best for her family. This is something we both have in common.

Amy, like many, was my least favorite sister. I do understand that the author was trying to portray her as immature and selfish, since she was the youngest March girl. It was evident that her character development was supposed to be the most drastic.

In some ways, I get Amy’s need to marry rich and move up in society. Her desires weren’t purely for herself, but for her family. She wanted to be able to provide for the ones she loved, even if it meant marrying someone just for money. Although, I would never do that, I can see her point of view.

As for the boys, Meg and Brooke’s relationship was very wholesome and real. They started as friends and grew into something more. What can I say I’m a hopeless romantic. On the flip-side, Laurie’s obsession with Jo was a tab much. I hated that he acted poorly when she refused his proposal. His relationship with Amy started as a fallback for not getting Jo, which left a sour taste in my mouth. Does he even really love her?

“I hate ordinary people!”

For me, Jo and the Professor’s relationship was my favorite. Some people might think that Jo was better off single. Because not all women need a man to be complete. Although, I agree, it was heartwarming to see Jo fall in love. Throughout the book, she was so against marriage and being seen as somebody’s wife. It showed that you can achieve your goals, and find love too. Once you find your person, everything changes.

After reading the book, I found that I could relate to each March sister in one way, or another. We are all Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy in are own way. I will probably always ship Jo and Laurie even though his fixation was a little much.

The one final thing I learned from my reading experience is that classics aren’t for me. Yes, my favorite book is a classic, but I don’t generally enjoy classic books. I’ll continue to watch all ‘Little Women’ adaptations that are released. And, probably read a few more classics in my lifetime. But they aren’t my first reading priority.

Is Little Women one of your favorite books? Do you enjoy reading classics? Give my blog a follow, like and share this post.

Until The Next Chapter,

Undead Girl Gang // Book Review

Title: Undead Girl Gang
Author: Lily Anderson
Published: 2018
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal
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Meet teenage Wiccan Mila Flores, who truly could not care less what you think about her Doc Martens, her attitude, or her weight because she knows that, no matter what, her BFF Riley is right by her side. So when Riley and Fairmont Academy mean girls June Phelan-Park and Dayton Nesseth die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.
Credit: Google Books

From what I’ve seen and heard, this book isn’t very liked. However, I found it to be a funny and thrilling. Their were some twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, but loved. At first, I thought this would be fun, witchy contemporary, but it surprisingly has a lot of thriller aspects.

To be honest, the writing isn’t the best, so that might turn some readers off. Yet, I found that the writing fit the story perfectly. The entire book felt like an old-school teen movie. It was lighthearted, but had spooky elements too. I noticed that there were a lot of pop-culture references throughout the book.

These days a lot of contemporary seem to be full of pop-culture references. Perhaps authors believe that they’ll relate more to the younger generation if they talk about ‘Instagram’ and ‘HP’ in their stories. I personally don’t care when authors do this, but I know some readers find it annoying. I will say that those references worked well in this case, since the story was very campy.

“You wouldn’t understand. It’s a dead girl thing.”

The best part of the book was the twist at the end. Now, I am not the best at solving mysteries. So I found the reveal at the end to be shocking. However, I can see how some could find it underwhelming. Looking back, there were a lot of red flags when it came to the killer that I seemed to have overlooked.

Personally, my favorite thing about the book was the dialog. For a spooky YA story, I found it to be pretty funny. The author did an amazing job mixing a mystery-thriller with a cheerful contemporary. I probably wouldn’t rereead the book, since I already know the big twist at the end. Still, I will recommend it to others looking for a more tame YA thriller.

Let me know your thoughts on the book in the comments. And, like, share and follow the blog. Please and thank you!

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Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel // Book Review

Title: Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel
Author: A.W. Jantha
Published: 2018
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
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Hocus Pocus is beloved by Halloween enthusiasts all over the world. Diving once more into the world of witches, this electrifying two-part young adult novel, released on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 1993 film, marks a new era of Hocus Pocus. Fans will be spellbound by a fresh retelling of the original film, followed by the all-new sequel that continues the story with the next generation of Salem teens.
Credit: GoodReads

The idea of a Hocus Pocus sequel is awesome. Especially, now that one is officially happening. However, I was unprepared for the concept of the book. Part one is the Hocus Pocus movie we know and love. I listened to this on audiobook, which is my preferred method of reading these days. But it was as if I was listening to the movie instead of watching it. Of course some parts were different, and scenes were omitted, but overall they were one in the same.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of the 90s film. There is just something strange about an author taking a movie and trying to adapted it into a book, while still making it their own. I guess I shouldn’t be so unimpressed by this since Hollywood has been adapting books into films for years. Nevertheless, I’d much rather just watch the movie. Don’t lie you know you would too.

However, the first half of the book did keep me entertained. The author tried their best to bring the movie story to life in a different way. And, give us all the feels we get from watching the film. Part two of the book was a whole new story; thus the sequel. It follows Max and Allison’s daughter, Poppy. All her life she’s heard stories about the Halloween her parents and aunt brought back the Sanderson sisters. Usually she laughs them off, because the story is too unbelievable to be real. But on Halloween night, Poppy and her friends sneak into the Sanderson museum and accidentally bring the witched back from the dead once again.

This sounds like a solid concept, but it was very lackluster. I wasn’t invested in the characters, which made me not care if they lost against the witches. The author tried to play off readers love for the movie by adding cameos of some of the movies characters. However, those characters felt out of place and didn’t fit it the story. And, it was clear that the author didn’t know how to right Max, Allison and Dani as adults.

Max and Allison were so far off from their original personalities. Allison was lawyer, which made no sense to me. Max was a teacher, which was weird as well. I would have mad Allison a teacher instead. Max seemed very creative, so I would picture him going that route. Maybe writing fiction books that stemmed from his experience with the Sanderson sisters. As for Dani, she was portrayed very childish. Like an adult, who think they’re still in high school.

“Oh, look, another glorious morning. Makes me sick!”

Throughout the book, Poppy talked about how her parents always freaking out on Halloween. They didn’t ever celebrate the holiday most years. This is another fact that was unrealistic to me. Sure three witches almost taking over Salem would probably change anyone perspective on Halloween, but that drastically. I think not. You would think that over time the story would start to sound fake even to them. They might even chalk it up to a nightmare of sorts. When paranormal thing happen most people convince themselves that their mind is playing tricks on them. So why wouldn’t these characters.

For me, the book was so-so. I would have preferred a ‘what if’ type story. Kind of similar to the Disney twisted tale books. Now that would have peaked my interested. Let me know your thoughts on the book in the comments below. Don’t forget to like and share this post. If you are a book lover follow my blog for book reviews and more.

Until The Next Chapter,

Five Feet Apart // Book Review

Title: Five Feet Apart
Author: Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis
Published: 2018
Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary

In this moving story two teens fall in love with just one minor complication—they can’t get within five feet of each other without risking their lives.
Source: Goodreads

I wasn’t sure if I should give the book 5 or 2 stars, because it truly broke my heart. However, I settled on 4 stars. I loved the writing style and the plot isn’t too far from John Green’s ‘Fault in Our Stars’. I was not a fan of Green’s book, yet it is very beloved. This book is not nearly as popular, but captivated me in ways ‘Faults in Our Stars’ didn’t. This was much more than a love story, even though that was a big part of the plot. It focused on death, illness, and not always getting what we want.

Stella is a major control freak with Cystic Fibrosis, waiting on new lungs. Will also has CF, but has contracted Cepacia as well, which is terminal to patients with CF. However, the two are drawn together after meeting during their most recent hospital stays. The only catch is that they must stay six feet apart at all times. I adored both characters, and watched their relationship grow organically. The book takes place solely in the hospital, and tries to paint the picture of what living with a chronic, life threatening condition is like.

“Everyone in this world is breathing borrowed air.”

I felt every heartbreaking thing Stella and Will felt. I hated their disease right along with them. And, I cried when the ending came. I don’t want to giveaway spoilers, because I do think that everyone should read this book. But this book doesn’t have a “happy” ending. Yes, the ending is somewhat great, still it breaks the readers heart in many ways.

The book was beautifully written and will give you great cry. I finished it in a day, which for me says that the plot was very engaging. I would have given it 5 stars, but I will probably never read it again. Only because it made me extremely sad. However, I could just be an overly emotional reader.

Remember, this isn’t a lighthearted ‘sick kids falling in love’ story, but it all works out in the end. But if you are looking for a book that will leave an impression on you, and give you a good cry, then you should give this book a read.

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