Review of Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

onceandforallOnce and for All
By: Sarah Dessen
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

My Rating
star

Summary:
As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

My Thoughts:
I haven’t read many contemporary novels and this was my first Sarah Dessen book! It was such a fun read and a really wonderful break from my usual fantasty/science fiction. This novel was fast paced, heart felt and really adorable.

I’m not a huge wedding type person- I’m a rare soul that doesn’t like attending them, didn’t really want my own and I’m just not all crazy for the entire thing. But, regardless of my none obsession with weddings this book had me early on. I loved the humor and Louna was so easy to read about. I was impressed with the depth of the characters early on and how much back story we learned.

The weddings we see in this book were actually so much fun and the entire atmosphere of the book was overall uplifting although there was some aspects that were heavy. The novel jumps back and forth from Louna’s past to present day. She has a very emotional past and first love. These bits were very well done and had me so immersed.

The characters had great chemistry and I loved the relationships we get glimpses of. I of course loved watching Louna grow to appreciate the cocky, flirtatious Ambrose. I thought they really brought out some great things about one another and their dialog was often very funny.

Where the book sort of lost me was in the ending. Things felt rushed to me and the last few chapters felt a bit disjointed and not nearly as developed as the rest of the book.

Final Thoughts:
I think fans of contemporary fiction will really enjoy this read especially if they want to see a bit more about what goes into wedding planning. I will try another Dessen novel in the future and I’m happy that I read this one.

Review of Want by Cindy Pon

wantcoverWant
By: Cindy Pon
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: Print ARC
Source: Convention

My Rating:
star

Summary:
From critically acclaimed author Cindy Pon comes an edge-of-your-seat sci-fi thriller, set in a near-future Taipei plagued by pollution, about a group of teens who risk everything to save their city.

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is, or destroying his own heart?

My Thoughts
Want was my first book to read by Cindy Pon and it was a really wonderful and unique read. I loved that the setting was futuristic Taipei and that the world has been ravaged by pollution. This doesn’t seem all that off base to a possible future for our world so it was easy to relate. The story was fast paced and played on some sort of typical futuristic tropes such as an evil business but it felt fresh and I easily became attached to the cast of characters.

Zhou was the main character and I enjoyed learning about his history and watching him navigate his world and that of the wealthy. The idea that social classes would be divided by the ability to wear suits that protect them from disease seemed all too plausible. The reader can’t help but compare aspects of Jason Zhou’s world with our own which really gave heart to this book and increased the level of intensity.

Though there are a lot of action and it does have the feel of a heist book/movie there was ample character development and relationships. I thought the characters had great chemistry and I was worried for them all.

Pon did a brilliant job putting the reader in her setting- she vividly created the atmosphere with descriptions of the setting, foods and people. It was so easy to imagine everything- even the special suits. Nothing about this read felt unreachable- though this would be classified science fiction it really didn’t lose me in technical talk like some Sci-Fi’s do. I can so imagine this as a movie and it reads like you are watching one.

Final Thoughts:
In Want-Cindy Pon introduces her readers to a beautifully rendered futuristic Taipei which feels incredibly realistic. The characters are very well developed and easy to love. The action kept me flipping the pages and fretting about the outcome.