First Lines: A lightning strike. A shark attack. Winning the lottery. No. I lined through all the words. Too cliche.
When I got this in my Uppercase box last month, I’m pretty sure I squealed out loud. Yes, how very adult of me. (I don’t care.) When Kasie West comes out with a new book and you get a signed copy of it, you respond appropriately, regardless of your age.
Chemistry class is the bane of Lily’s life. So, bored, she starts doodling song lyrics on her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message for her. Interested, Lily and this secret writer strike up a pen pal-like friendship. They share bands, secrets, and song lyrics. And when Lily starts to realize that she’s falling for her pen pal, she begins to ask the most important question: who is writing these notes? As she begins to unravel the mystery while balancing family, friends, and her own dreams, she begins to see that life doesn’t always go the way you planned…
For fans of Kasie West, this is pretty much exactly what we’ve come to expect of her contemporary romances. It’s cutesy, funny, and still quirky enough to pull at your heartstrings. I tend to like the more caustic, sarcastic heroines (which Lily is not), but she was cool.
Lily is a social outcast. After a horrid nickname stuck her freshman year, she’s been much more comfortable living on the outskirts of popularity with her best friend Izzy. Oh, and it also doesn’t help that she looks like she’s having a stroke every time she tries to talk to a guy. But at least on the outskirts she can be weird and embrace the things she enjoys, like her favorite bands and her songwriting. I liked Lily. I liked that she was quirky and so so awkward. I even liked that she tends to be horribly judgmental because it gave her a believable flaw that she even acknowledged that she had. (If they acknowledge it and are even attempting to make themselves better, I’m sold on it. I can’t stand it if they think it’s fine.)
The plot plays out pretty well. It moves quickly, mostly because of the letters, but the events in Lily’s life definitely help keep things moving as well. She’s got friend issues and family issues, so that always meant there was something to read about.
Even though I thought this was cute, I didn’t think it really brought anything new to the genre. Like how The Distance Between Us talked about socioeconomic status. Or how On The Fence dealt with breaking stereotypes of what it means to be a “girl”. (I feel ridiculous putting quotes on that, but I think it helps stress my point.) And true, those things aren’t exactly new, but they are still pretty rare. I struggle to finds clever books about money issues or books with an athletic heroine who loves playing in the dirt with the boys. I didn’t think that Lily’s story really had anything like that. It all felt kind of cliche. Cute, but cliche.
Overall, I liked it. It’s certainly not my favorite Kasie West story, but I liked it.