I loved this book. It was cute and sweet and romantic without being overly so. I am not a big contemporary romance reader. Even when I was deep in my...moreI loved this book. It was cute and sweet and romantic without being overly so. I am not a big contemporary romance reader. Even when I was deep in my romance book phase I always tended to stray towards the historical romances (especially Regency) I'm even less into YA contemporary romances. Maybe for the same reason that I no longer really enjoy teen movies I'm just not a teen and am so far removed from being a teen at this point that those issues while something I can relate to from a "been there, done that" point of view I can't really full relate to it anymore so usually it falls very flat for me.
But that was not the case with this book. Yes they were teenagers in high school and yes that was a big part of the story but it was mostly just a framework for the wonderfully crafted romance between the two main characters. Though important their teenageness wasn't the focus of the story and it only rarely fell into the cliche territory you might expect to find in teen related stuff I appreciated that very much.
I loved all the characters in this. They all felt real and believable. Yes there were the typical sterotypical bitchy girl and jerky boy but they were marginal enough to be unbothersom for me. The characters we did experience the most felt like people you could actually meet in real life. Even though we were only seeing them from Anna's POV they still lived and breathed. And let's talk about Anna she was amazing mostly because her normalcy. She wasn't too perfect, she wasn't too shy, she wasn't too smart, she wasn't too beautiful, she wasn't the Chosen One, she was a normal teenager perhaps a bit more "pretty" then a regular person but not overly. I really 100% of the time enjoyed spending time with her in her head.
The romance for this was very well done. It's the focus of course you know it's going to happen but it wasn't Insta-Love. It was Insta-Crush but that's fine and believable especially in a highschool setting. This was a slow building romance so very rare for fiction in general and especially in YA fiction. These characters had to grow throughout the story to come together. And when they did it made sense because they were ready for it. They didn't fall in love at first sight and then have to fight to be together. They still had things to overcome but that came before the realization that they were in love and that felt real and believable.
So yes I really enjoyed this story and I really wanted to give it 5 stars and if it had stayed the course that it had for the first 3/4 of the book I definitely would have however the last 1/4 of the book felt extremely rushed and in parts forced. It's like Stephanie spent all this time slowly building the story and the romance up and then realized "Oh no I only have 100 pages to wrap it all up in" and it became a race to the finish. But even so I loved the ending. It felt real and wonderful and I just wish she could have spent 100 extra pages getting us there instead of forcing it into the space she had.
So yeah I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a good solid slow building romance regardless of if you adore YA or avoid it. It's a good, wonderful romantic read.(less)