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When Life Gives You Lemons Instead Of Lattes

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Kylie was looking forward to a fun-filled summer after high school graduation, but when the FBI shows up at the family’s California beach house looking for her father, her life takes an unexpected detour.

Now, instead of beach days and endless parties, she’s in small-town Ohio living in a rundown house with no internet and zero social life. Lucky for her Otto and Tristan filter into her world, creating an interesting diversion. One is geeky and easily puts her in her place. The other, gorgeous and her perfect match. But as the summer heats up, so does desire, and the obvious choice may not be as clear as she thought.
One thing is for sure, her life will never be the same.

Rayna York crafts a heart-warming story about the deception of appearances and starting over in unexpected places. Perfect for young adult fans of Sarah Dessen and Kassie West.

316 pages, Paperback

First published June 12, 2020

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About the author

Rayna York

3 books54 followers
Rayna York grew up with hippie parents that moved a lot. Where change was the norm, books were her constant—a way to escape. As an adult, many careers came and went, but writing has always been her passion. Her books tend to be based on dreams, and since that’s the way inspiration strikes, she wakes up every morning and writes them in her notebook with barely an eye open. When she’s not tucked away in her writing shack, she’s pursuing other passions, like chocolate, reading, or movies/TV series.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 51 reviews
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,290 reviews215 followers
November 2, 2020
I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I'm not going to lie to you guys.. Kylie, who just happens to be the main character, was hard for me like. In the beginning, she was beyond selfish and acted like a brat to everyone. Some times I just wanted to slap her into reality because she was being completely horrible to everyone.

I mean, I get it. Her dad is on the run and the FBI took everything from them. So she moves from being rich to being poor rather quickly. Kind of sounds like an episode of Schitt's Creek (which I love). After a while, like more than halfway through the book, Kylie started to grow a heart and became likable. She definitely went through some awkward situations and it was kind of entertaining to see how she would handle them.

Then there's her dad, who was kind of an asshole and very manipulative in my opinion. Well, he got what he deserved - even if I was expecting more from the FBI or something. In the end, it was an okay book that I wasn't necessarily invested in. I'm just glad that it's over if I'm being honest.
Profile Image for Aly.
2,606 reviews
October 28, 2020
3.5 stars rounded up

This book reminded me so much of Schitt's Creek, which I love. An exceedingly wealthy family has their money and assets seized by the FBI and must relocate to a small town and learn to live without their luxuries. Kylie is a typical spoiled rich girl who thinks she's above her new neighbors and can't wait until all this is sorted out and she can go home. It was difficult to like Kylie at first because she can be so mean and I couldn't wait for her to get a reality check. Luckily, she quickly does and she mellows out over the story.

Kylie has a couple romantic prospects, but one is clearly better than the others. Otto is sweet and smart and doesn't let Kylie get away with being snotty or entitled around him. There's also Charles, the elderly grocer who bickers with Kylie and gives her a job. He's great, so nice to Harlow and he and Kylie sort of balance each other out. His backstory was heartbreaking and he gave some nice depth to the story.

The plot with Kylie's dad is sort of on the backburner, but it looms over everything and does resolve by the end. It wasn't my favorite part, but I am glad Kylie changed her attitude toward him and matured.

This is a quick read with some sweet and sorrowful moments. I definitely recommend this for a fun read!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Brinley.
1,016 reviews68 followers
September 24, 2020
This book was a pleasant surprise, especially because of how disappointed I was at the beginning. The beginning really made Kylie out to be a total brat, and I'm really not good at reading books in which I hate the main character. Thankfully, Kylie got serious character development, and it Cam fairly fast.

This book follows Kylie, a teenager who's father is accused of embezzling. Her family goes from a lifestyle in which they have everything they wanted, to having to pinch pennies. They move out to her grandmothers old house in a small town, and there she is forced to confront herself and change.

This was a fairly heartwarming story, and while it did have some issues, I did still enjoy it. This story was heavily reliant on the characters, as the plot was fairly uneventful, which actually helped the book out a bit. Kylie has the largest character arc, and I really liked how it was written.

Like I mentioned earlier, Kylie was a conceited brat at the beginning of this. She uses her looks to get what she wants, and isn't used to being denied her comforts. This was definitely irritating for around the first 1/4 of the book, but it got better quickly. I loved watching her develop a relationship with her mother, it was as touching, and one of the better elements of the story.

I've seen other reviews mention it, and although I'm in no way educated on the topic, the coming out scene in this was not written well at all. I had been expecting it, so it wasn't a surprise, but the writing was. Kylie, instead of just accepting that her friend was gay, and leaving it there, tries to convince him otherwise. I'm sorry, that just didn't work for me very well.

I really liked how the romance in this was pretty understated. Instead of making the romance a driving feature, York kept it on the sidelines, adding a pinch every once in a while. It really allowed the characters to grow on their own. At the beginning, I was worried we'd be stuck with a love triangle, but thankfully that was resolved,

After being pretty excited for this book, I'm happy with it. While it definitely wasn't amazing, and I'll probably forget it, I did enjoy it. I can definitely see myself going back and rereading it when I need a happiness boost.

Thanks to Rayna York and Netgalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Céline.
33 reviews10 followers
September 16, 2020
I got a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. So here we go. I give this book 3 and a half stars.

This book is about Kylie, a young girl who just finished high school and is looking forward to going to university. Her family is loaded with money but one day the FBI comes in and freezes all their accounts and takes everything away. This wile her dad is nowhere to be found. They’ve got no place to live so her mom decides to go back to her hometown to live in the house of her grandmother. For Kylie this is a hell because of the lifestyle she’s used to.

I was curious about this book because 1) the cover really spoke to me as well as the title. 2) The description of the book. But while reading it I was oh so frustrated.
First of all the main character Kylie is a spoiled, egocentric brat who thinks she’s the hottest girl on earth and uses her looks to get what she wants. I had no pity for her of suddenly living a poor life because her behaviour was over the top.
second of all, she uses what’s happening to her to justify her behaviour. No you can’t drink and do stupid things and say it’s because of what’s happening. No you can’t snap at people who are trying their best to help you because suddenly you’re poor.
Also. This book is so anti LGBTQ+ little spoiler but: saying “are you sure” “maybe you’re confused” “do you want to be fwb’s” to somebody you know is gay is not okay!

The other characters are really likable and they’ve got depth as well which I really like. For example her little sister is my favourite character in the book.
I liked the ending of the book. They did leave some plots unattended which sort of bothers me but I’ll get over it.
I think the writing style was okay, it was an easy read but you’ve got to be able to handle the main character’s poor behaviour to actually enjoy the book although like I said she does get better. This book is a coming of age cheesy romance novel with some mystery in it.
Profile Image for Shrilaxmi.
210 reviews58 followers
November 27, 2020
I received a free copy of this book from the author.

This book gave me major Schitt's Creek vibes. Not complaining though, I absolutely love that show! I really enjoyed this book. The protagonist Kylie, is annoying and frustrating, to say the least, and this makes her loathsome at the onset of the story. But that's okay. I could understand why she was acting the way she was and I could see where she was coming from, as much as what she was doing exasperated me. Sometimes it isn't as important to like a character as it is to comprehend them. I loved the story - it was a coming of age tale that was told really well!

What I didn't like very much though, was the part concerning the gay character. It seemed like he was just inserted to create a plot twist and I was appalled at the way the coming-out scene was written. It made me really uncomfortable.

Other than that, this was quite an enjoyable read. Would recommend!
Profile Image for TheGeekishBrunette.
1,175 reviews29 followers
October 3, 2020
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an e-copy to review.

Well guys, this started off a little rocky and then got better and then completely crashed and burned for me. I thought about dnfing a few times but continued hoping that it would get better. Boy, was I wrong.

The main character, Kylie, is one of the biggest narcissists I have ever read about. It’s all about her and she doesn’t care about anyone else, probably besides her sister. At least their bond was nice. She was always harping on her mom for poor choices but literally makes some of the worst decisions ever. She would grow on me a bit because you know, we all make stupid choices at one point, but then it would start all over again…

The only two characters I actually liked were Charles and Otto. They were the saving grace of this story but even then, they couldn’t help this book from diving into the deep end.

Otto is your typical nerd boy who gets the girl in the end. Surprise, surprise. Charles has a bit more depth but at the same time I feel like his part of the plot was kind of unnecessary and just used for more fuel for the plot. At least it was my favorite part of the book.

The rest of the plot is typical and full of tropes and very bad plot twists. The worst offender was her trying to hook up with a guy after finding out he was gay and wanting to be friends with benefits but without the sex. Because you know, every guy obviously loves her. How could he resist her? Just yuck!

I could write more issues but I’m just going to keep this short.

Overall, I would not recommend. It’s just not good. Almost everything is obvious. The main character is not one I liked. It’s just too tropey for my taste.
Profile Image for Jessica Julien.
Author 11 books58 followers
September 25, 2020
This was a cute, quick read, and the perfect palette cleanser type novel.

I really enjoyed the flow of the novel and the character relationships. There is a great sisterly love that many readers can relate to and a family tension a lot have probably felt. There were a few outbursts from the main character I was a bit put off by, but her snotty rich b*tch behavior is definitely a stereotypical act that had me rolling my eyes. I'm glad we saw the characters grow and change and learn to love. A very cute read!!
Profile Image for Jodie "Bookish"  Cook.
1,717 reviews3 followers
August 21, 2020
Book Review
Title: When Life Gives You Lemons Instead of Lattes
Author: Rayna York
Genre: YA/Family/Contemporary
Rating: *****
Review: I didn’t know anything about this book going into it, but the synopsis sounded interesting. We are introduced to Kylie and her younger sister, Harlow as the F.B.I. turn up at their home. Their father is wanted for fraud and embezzlement and has seemingly fled that very morning; however, this isn’t good for the family as their mother doesn’t have anything more than $500 and the rest of their assets have been frozen. Kylie is your typical moody teenager, but she does manage to smuggle out her laptop which would be very unlikely in reality and constantly blames her mother for the situation even though she is trying her best. Their mother does try to contact their grandparents for help, but they refuse and with days to leave the house and only the great-grandmother’s home in Ohio to go to, they have to use a donated car which promptly breaks down in Utah. The family are helped by an elderly couple who house them for the night and Frank even offers to take the girls riding on their horses the following morning. So far, the opening to Lemons Instead of Lattes was interesting but I didn’t really like Kylie as a character, I am hoping she develops over the course of the novel, but I shall wait and see.
As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel, the family arrive in Ohio and Kylie is immediately disappointed by the difference between her old life and this new one that has been forced on her. She doesn’t like the town or the people since they aren’t the people she is used to and reflects on how her father lavished money on her as a child while her mother refused to, hoping to make her a more well-rounded adult rather than a stereotypical rich kid but that is exactly what she has become. However, Kylie does have some good in her as she takes care of Harlow and tries to get along with her mother for her sake. In a trip into the towns he meets some local guys who invite her boating and then to a party which is more like the lifestyle Kylie is used to, so she dives in. I did like Otto, who is the same age as Kylie and their mother used to be best friends before Kylie’s mother left and never came back. Kylie is also offered a job by Charles, the grumpy old man that runs the General Store, who knew her great-grandmother and Kylie reminds him of her a lot with her sass and attitude which is something her mother also suggested but I have the feeling she is going to get a rude awakening when she realises what it is to work for a living and how much she is actually going to earn. Even between her job and her mother’s new job, she isn’t going to have a lot and definitely not enough to attend the university she wants to.
As we cross the �� mark in the novel, Kylie foes to the party and drinks far too much and finds herself in a compromising position but she is rescued by Otto from making some extremely bad decisions and from that point on Kylie endeavours to form a friendship with him and I can smell the romance coming. The following morning, she has a conversation with her mother specifically about her past, where she tells Kylie that she grew up extremely poor and both of her parents were dependent on alcohol. Her father was also abusive and eventually her grandmother, Kylie’s great-grandmother took her in and raised her until she met Kylie’s father at 16 and moved away with him. Kylie is beginning to see what her mother tried to do for her when she was younger and tries to be nicer to her despite the anger she is holding, although I think this is directed more at her father than her mother. Kylie also starts her new job with Charles at the general store which surprises everyone in town as Charles has always worked alone and he even defends her against some boys who comments about her performance at the party, and while Kylie doesn’t appreciate this at first they do form a good friendship going forward. This is proven as Charles trusts her to make changes to the way the store is run and she also introduces him to the local coffee shop but she does slip up here asking how his wife died and it turns out she and his daughter were both lost in childbirth but I think they will get past this. The more time Kylie spends in her mother’s hometown the more she is growing as a character and while I still don’t like her, I think she does have potential.
As we approach the halfway mark in the novel, Kylie is beginning to like the small town life but she still finds herself thinking about her old life and snapping at people whenever they try to make assessments about her and her character, which are mostly true. Otto does this on more than one occasion but in his defence, he has been bullied by Chase and his friend purely because they have more money that Otto’s family and the rich lifestyle Kylie used to live isn’t easily removed for her character, especially when she is constantly dreaming of her dad and returning to their old life. However, we do see Kylie making an effort to learn more about her family and the town itself, she learns that her mother’s nana was once in love with Charles although we know that relationship didn’t work out and it might have something to do with him enlisting in the Second World War. I didn’t really like the set up for the love triangle between Kylie, Otto and Tristan, while I do agree that Tristan is the kind of boy Kylie would normally go for, she is making an conscious effort to be friends with Otto despite their difference in upbringing and she can’t stop thinking about him. When Otto’s mother invites her for dinner, Kylie bakes a pie especially for it and Joanne offers to pay her for supplying to coffee shop, Jojo’s with the delicious baked good and Kylie reluctantly agrees. Kylie does have some self-image and self-esteem issues as she mentioned always being “on” and not knowing how to switch off that part of herself anymore and she is extremely conscious of her weight and appearance, although this is slowly changing.
As we cross into the second half of the novel, Kylie is trying to develop a relationship with Tristan and has to ask Otto if he is ok with them just being friends and while he says yes, we knows he isn’t. During their “date”, Tristan and Kylie go shopping and he invites her to his friend lake house party with Otto and she agrees but remembers what happened last time and decides to be carefully. However, Chase shows up at that party and tries to forcibly make a move on Kylie, but Tristan and Otto come to her rescue. After the party she tries to kiss Tristan, but he pulls away and I have the feeling that he might be gay and just wants to be a good friend to Kylie, but this hasn’t been confirmed yet. Between these events, Kylie has been reading her great-grandmother, Grace’s diary and learnt a lot more about her relationship with Charles. It appears the pair were in love and he went off to fight in the WWII and while we know Charles returns home, we don’t know what caused their relationship to break down. Kylie is also building a strong relationship with the old man and he seems to be teaching her and Harlow to take over the store since he has no children of his own, which would be a really emotional moment. Kylie also come to accept the truth about her father when she is confronted with the amount of money he stole and the evidence the F.B.I. can tell her about. They are also informed he has fled to Mexico and he hasn’t even contacted them to make sure they are alright which is causing Kylie and her mother to become closer since it was her father who drove the wedge between them in the first place with his emotional manipulation. The scene where Kylie talks to Otto about this when they go flower shopping was beautiful and heart-breaking since we know it is hard for Kylie to open up to others but it is some relief for her having someone she can talk to about that part of her life.
As we approach the ¾ mark in the novel, it turns out I was right about Tristan, but he wasn’t out and didn’t know how to tell Kylie as he believed she wouldn’t want to hang out with him anymore. I really like the dynamic between this pair but when he mentions Otto, Kylie becomes defensive as she believes that he kept the secret from her to hurt her when in reality keeping Tristan’s secret from her hurt him too as he likes her and Tristan urges her to give him another chance. In the time where Kylie isn’t speaking to either of the boys, she finishes Grace’s diary and learns that Charles was MIA for a long time and presumed dead when they couldn’t identify the bodies found. After two years of waiting Grace got married to Richard and fell pregnant but then Charles returned home ready to make her his wife and was devasted to learn the truth. While Grace and Charles were relatively happy with their partners they didn’t get together after their deaths because there were resentments and bitterness that neither could truly let go of, even if it meant being together. Two things happen in quick succession here, first Kylie spots her father and informs the F.B.I. he is in the area as she is afraid for her mother, but he hasn’t approached them yet and Charles collapses and ends up in hospital. There Kylie informs him about the diary and knowing his past with Grace and he explains from his perspective why they never got together even when they were able to do so and Kylie understands that type of guilt as she has it with her mother and Charles tells her to make amends while she can. While he is in the hospital he basically has her running the store as he doesn’t know how long he is going to be there and I have the horrible feeling that he might die before the end of the novel, which would be terribly sad as he is the closest thing Kylie has to a grandfather. She also repairs her relationship with Otto, and it seems like they are going to give being in a relationship a go as it is something, they both obviously feel and want, despite how much Kylie likes to look at Tristan.
As we cross into the final section of the novel, I was right about Charles too as he passes away and the girls are devasted especially Harlow, since she was the closest to Charles but Kylie loved him too even if she never said it in as many words. In the aftermath of Charles’ death, Kylie feels like her life is falling apart all over again but when Charles’ lawyer visits and tells them that he left them the store including his living accommodation, they are all stunned. Kylie agrees to teach her mother everything she was taught by Charles so they can run it together and she even convinces her mother to hire help when she goes away to university as she doesn’t have to worry about money as Charles set up a trust fund for her and Harlow. However, her father comes into the store one day when her mother is working, and Harlow is playing with a friend and convinces Kylie to meet with him and hand over her laptop. We know her father is a manipulator and he is manipulating Kylie into getting what he wants, this sends Kylie into a tailspin as she lashes out at her mother, Otto and even Harlow. That night he breaks into their home for the laptop and Kylie realises he was lying to her and that he hid the access to his offshore account on her laptop and refuses to hand it over. He threatens to hurt Harlow if she doesn’t hand it over and when she threatens to break the laptop, he hits her, bruising her face badly but the F.B.I. have been informed and come in gun blazing and take him away. Afterwards, her family can finally move on with their lives now her father is heading to jail, but Otto also realises why Kylie lashed out at him and they make up. Overall, When Life Gives You Lemons Instead of Lattes was an emotional rollercoaster and Rayna York is definitely an author, I will be keeping my eye on.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Tressa (Wishful Endings).
1,724 reviews185 followers
August 18, 2020
I really wanted to like this one as I've read some good YA lately, but I just couldn't do it. Too much content (lots of swearing, references to sleeping around, drinking until she passes out, etc.) and I really disliked the protagonist still at over a third way through the book. DNF.
Profile Image for Lauren.
112 reviews1 follower
September 14, 2020
When Life Gives You Lemons Instead of Lattes really missed the mark for me. I'll start with a couple things I did like and then get into why I didn't enjoy it over all. There may be some minor spoilers in here, because it's hard to go over pros/cons without them, but I think this may help someone trying to decide whether to read this.

-The relationship between Kylie and her sister Harlow. They really love each other, and Kylie's protectiveness towards Harlow is clear from the beginning of the book.
-The growing relationship between Kylie and her mother. They have a very strained relationship at the beginning, and as Kylie grows, she is able to open up to and understand her mom.
-Character growth. This is definitely not a book where the main character is stagnant and learns nothing.

-Kylie feels like a parody of a rich teenager at the beginning of the book. I get that she isn't supposed to be likable, but she feels so over the top mean and terrible. Someone can be terrible while still seeming like they could be real, but Kylie doesn't start to seem like a real person until close to the end of the book.
-"Fake" character growth. I mentioned I liked how much Kylie grows, but unfortunately, not all of it seems real. She does change by bits over the course of the book, but her major change comes from her just having an internal monologue where she decides to be a better person. Maybe just too internal-monologuey as a whole; she thinks a lot about how she's a bad person and needs to do better, and it doesn't always seem believable.
-All the butt smacking?? Why does Kylie keep "affectionately" swatting/smacking people's butts, including her sister and a new friend's? It's really weird. Do people do this? It kept pulling me out of the story.
-Kylie is convinced every boy will love her. The problem is that she doesn't really learn otherwise. She just decides every boy will love her except for boys who are gay. She basically kept pursuing a guy temporarily after finding out he was gay, sure that she can change his mind because she's sooooo hot. She's genuinely baffled that someone couldn't be into her. This should have been a learning moment for her. It's not.
-Speaking of the gay representation. It feels very forced - just included to push Kylie towards Otto. It's written as a "twist," although it was clear (to me, anyway) that it was coming. The guy has to come out to Kylie to get her to stop pursuing him, because she wouldn't take no for an answer, and it's not really addressed that this is wrong. She even calls him her gay best friend later and says it's better than having female best friends because there's not as much drama, or something to that effect. Essentially, my issue with this obviously isn't that there is a gay character, but that his sexuality exists as a plot point for a straight girl/to make the straight couple work out, and he has very little of his own agency.

Anyway. There's honestly more, but I feel like that's enough. I'm just confused because most of the reviews for this book so far have been really positive! Am I missing something? Am I just overthinking what is supposed to be a cute YA romance/family story? Who knows. But I can't ignore all of the issues with this book. 2 stars because I liked the family dynamics; otherwise would probably be one star.
Profile Image for Cathy.
604 reviews12 followers
October 7, 2020
I just finished reading this book, and I don't even know how to begin. It was amazing, breathtaking, heart wrenching and entertaining. It was a journey that had both the highs and lows that make you appreciate everything around you. The characters were interesting, you didn't know whether to like them or not. That is until things started to change.

At first you can't help but hate the main character, she was every cliché rich, bratty, teenager, but it's her journey to self-discovery that makes you love her towards the end. That journey that makes her look deeper into her life and into her actions, sure she's still flighty at times and sassy all the time but overall, her journey takes her to places she didn't know she could go. I really enjoyed her journey and the people around her.

I feel as if each character had a special place in the story that just added to the different layers of the Journey that Kylie was experiencing. I'm not going to lie there were times where I cried like a baby, I'm way too sentimental for my own good sometimes. I won't tell you about it because I hope you pick this book up and experience it for yourself. It was really a beautifully endearing story of change and transformation. Don’t let the actions of Kylie in the beginning deter you from reading this because her attitude changes completely throughout the book. I really loved Otto too, he really did feel like a Clark Kent type of guy. I enjoyed the references to different superhero character shirts regarding him. It goes to show you that you really shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover.

Sometimes being a teenager, you don’t realize what really is happening around you and are oblivious or manipulated into thinking and acting a certain way. Sometimes I would suggest taking a minute and really assessing your surroundings, friends, family and just taking it all in for what it’s worth. Life is hard, no one said it would be easy but it’s the friends/family you have along the way that make things so much more. I don’t know where I’m going with this, I just know I really enjoyed the book. Really touched my heart.
Profile Image for Kim Wilch.
Author 5 books23 followers
December 12, 2021
Scrolling through books online, this vivid cover stopped my finger in midair and resonated with my soul. Feelings churned as lemons danced in my head, partially caused by my current addiction to lemons. In this COVID riddled world, bright yellow, sunshiny lemons lifted my spirits more than once when skies were gray. As did this book. Rayna York did a fabulous job bringing Kylie's story to life. Her European graduation trip evaporated as the family found themselves broke and her high society life was exchanged for podunk America. An exquisite story about acceptance and starting over. Money really doesn't buy happiness.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Plunkett.
160 reviews13 followers
February 6, 2021
When Life Gives You Lemons Instead Of Lattes by Rayna York reminded me so much of some of my favorite books from high school. I loved the cute covers and storylines that were sweeter than a pumpkin spiced latte. When Life Gives Lemons Instead Of Lattes has a cute cover and sweet story, and levels up with a modern take on this genre. York addresses class, growing up and family differences in this novel.

Eighteen year old Kylie has lived a very privileged life in Santa Barbara until one day the FBI shows up at her house looking for her dad who is accused of stealing a billion dollars in investor money. After an epically long road trip with her mom and little sister, Harlow, they settle in her great-grandmother's home in Foxall, Ohio and begin piecing a life back together. Kylie is spoiled and prickly, but I loved seeing her grow in the situations York wrote up for her. This one was a fun read with substance!
Profile Image for Andie.
Author 29 books11 followers
May 31, 2021
Riches to rags story of a girl from a wealthy family having to make a new life in a small town. Liked Charles as the foil to Kylie and his background story.
Profile Image for Beatrice Rivers.
145 reviews11 followers
February 23, 2023
After her high school graduation, Kylie had planned on a summer of excitement, traveling Europe and enjoying herself before going to college. But when the FBI shows up at her family’s house, claiming her father has stolen a lot of money, and that they are looking for him, Kylie’s summer is officially ruined – their assets are frozen, which means Kylie, her mother, and younger sister, Harlow, have no money, and nowhere to live. With no other options, they make the long car journey to the small town Kylie’s mother grew up in, to move into Kylie’s great-grandmother’s house.

From riches to nothing, Kylie has a hard time adjusting to her new life. She has never got on well with her mother and now has to deal with not being able to afford even a latte at the one coffee shop in town. She finds herself working at the grocery store for the notoriously grumpy and rude old man who owns it, and, slowly but surely, she starts to get along with him, and begins to see that the town maybe isn’t as bad as she first thought.

Kylie’s entire attitude changes throughout the course of this book. She never got on very well with her mother and was used to having endless amounts of money to do with what she wanted. Having to work for money to afford basic things is something she is not at all used to, and she initially really struggles to adapt to her new life. She is angry at the world, but takes it out on her mother. She can’t believe that her father would actually steal, let alone steal the amounts he is accused of, and lives with the belief that her father will be proven innocent, and she will be able to return to her old life. I loved watching the change in Kylie as she starts to lose her entitled side, and starts putting some effort into the things she does. Watching as Kylie started to get on with her mother and sister better was great. Harlow is very grown up for her age, and looks up to Kylie as they enter a life unfamiliar to them. The sisters get on well, and following them as Kylie starts to get on with her mother as well was lovely.

There were some very predictable cliches in this book, not that I’m complaining about them. They fit perfectly within the story. Rich girl moves to a small town, meets the bullied nerd, denies that she might have feelings for him… I loved Otto, especially his clear passion for astrology, and that he doesn’t let anyone’s negative comments get him down, and instead embraces his love for the stars. Otto and Kylie don’t end up in any sort of relationship until much nearer the end of the book, but I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to talk about, as it is very clear from the start that they will end up together.

The title of this book is, in my opinion, amazing, and fits the book so well. The whole saying of ‘when life gives you lemons’, meaning to make the best of a bad situation, is an incredibly accurate way of describing the journey Kylie goes on in this book, as she attempts to get used to her new life, and adapt to try and enjoy living in the small town. The addition of lattes to the saying is just great. Not only does it point out the stark difference between Kylie’s new life and old, being that lemons and lattes are two very different things, and most people would much prefer the latte over the lemon, it’s an amusing saying, and definitely memorable – it was the title that made me want to read this book in the first place.

I am not sure who my favourite character in this book would be if I had to pick one. I loved Kylie, especially further into the book where she starts to enjoy herself in the small town, but I also adored Otto and Charles, and Tristan was not far behind them in the end. Harlow is obviously a top contender. There are so many characters in this book to love, it is almost impossible to choose. With so many characters to fall in love with, though, it was difficult to finish reading this book, as I wanted to stay with the characters for as long as possible, which was made doubly difficult when all I wanted to do was keep reading!

This is a great YA book, with some very clear themes of coming to terms with things, and working to make lemonade out of the lemons you’ve been handed. I loved every second of reading it, and cannot wait to read more books by this author!
Profile Image for Caitlyn DeRouin.
361 reviews43 followers
October 13, 2020
I was initially drawn to this book because of the title (I love a little play on a proverbial phrase), the cover (super pretty!) and I love a good coming of age story.

When the FBI shows up looking for their missing father who is accused of fraud, Kylie, her younger sister Harlow and their mother head to the only place that they can. The small town in Ohio where their mother grew up. This small town is the last place that Kylie wants to be the summer after graduating, especially without any of the luxuries that she'd become accustomed to. I won't lie, the beginning of the book drove me insane. Kylie is a stereotypical rich girl from Southern California and she reminds you of it every single second. The first few chapters are honestly a bit hard to get through. All Kylie does is treat her mother like crap (she's honestly so horrible to her mother) and try to make excuses for her dad and how she believes he's been falsely accused. Honestly, her one redeeming quality is her love of her sister.

Kylie does go through a bit of a character arc, and she does so, in my opinion fairly realistically. It's a slow process for her, but she does start to see how she's grown up so privileged and how that has skewed her view of everything. For the majority of the book every time she takes a step forward, she takes two steps back. She would acknowledge something that she did wrong but then she would continue to make the same mistakes and while that can be realistic it can also be a bit tiring to read. By the end of the book, Kylie has definitely become a more compassionate and kind person, but she still has a long way to go.

The true standout of this book are the side characters. Harlow, for being nine-years-old, is the smartest character in the entire book. She's witty and resourceful, extremely kind, and wise beyond her years. I loved her character. I loved Charles, I had a soft spot for that grumpy old man and I think he was a good person to put Kylie in her place. I also liked Otto quite a lot, and Tristian definitely deserved better than he got. Honestly, I liked all of the other characters more than I liked Kylie.

Some of the writing left things to be desired. As someone from California, I can promise you that pretty much no one (at least in Northern California) calls it Cali, so that threw me off every time. Some of the writing felt a little juvenile, though I think that was partly because Kylie was a very juvenile character. I was also very disappointed by how the coming out scene of one of the characters was handled. While no one was saying anything overtly horrible, there was some "maybe you're just confused" and that rubbed me completely the wrong way. It also was not acknowledged that it was not okay for Kylie to say any of those things, which really bothered me.

Overall When Life Gives You Lemons Instead of Lattes is a quick and easy read that is mostly enjoyable but I had some issues with characterization and how certain topics were handled.
Profile Image for books are love.
3,131 reviews24 followers
August 28, 2020
Overall I really liked the book. The storyline was sweet and engaging and the characters grew especially Kylie.

Let’s start with the story. Kylie’s father is not a great guy at least from the beginning to me he wasn’t and that was due to how the book began. Kylie, her sister Harlow and her mom find themselves without anything but a suitcase of stuff due to her father and on their way to her great-grandmother’s house that was left to her mom to live. All three need to learn to adjust to life without money and her dad. For the mom this isn’t a hard adjustment. She actually, it seems, is free now compared to before. Harlow is just to precious for words and that little girl adjusts to so much. Kylie on the other hand does not. She starts this book as an entitled selfish girl who thinks her mom is horrible and her dad can do no wrong. She is very superficial. Now she is in a situation that she doesn’t want and doesn’t know how to deal with it. She is sarcastic and rude to people. Her friends from home have abandoned her now that she doesn’t have money and she is facing a harsh reality. Her mom does slowly show her the truth of what her life has been and it helps Kylie with understanding but it is really the situation as a whole and learning about what friendship is through Otto, Tristan and Charles that she really grows and has her eyes opened. Kylie learns to bake and gets a job. HEr job situation is a hoot. I love her and Charlie and how they banter. That old man plays a huge role in the past and present of her family. The past helps put things in perspective for Kylie, the present with Charlie (Charles) is helping her grow and the future is sad but happy for her makes sure Kylie’s family is safe and secure.

Otto, who you fall in love with from the beginning, helps put Kylie in her place and see what she was and how badly she treated people. He opened her eyes. NOt only that he becomes the one you root for because you can see he likes her beyond friendship and is trying to gain the courage to ask her out. His fear is she will become what she was again and hurt his heart. He is loyal and smart and just a great guy. You truly root for him.

Tristan is awesome as well. He helps put things in perspective and is a great friend to Otto and Kylie. With Kylie he understands the money attitude for he is from money but doesn’t act it. His family does though so he gets where she was and where she is trying to go attitude wise.

The story is just one of growth and self discovery. One about family, loyalty, friendship, love and finding your way. A wonderful story from beginning to end.
Profile Image for gwendalyn _books_.
902 reviews31 followers
August 25, 2020

When Life Gives You Lemons Instead of Lattes
by, Rayna York, @rayna.york
which is being hosted by YA Bound Book Tours
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: July 2nd 2020
What if losing everything you have is exactly what you need?

This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

Ryan York latest book, “When Life Gives You Lemons Instead of Lattes”,
A contemporary coming of age, family drama, Kylie James life is completely turned upside down. When the FBI shows up unexpectedly at the home of the James family, and sizes all available assets. Beyond belief, they have to come to turns with news that Mr Jarred Mallory James, Kylie’s father is for fraud and embezzlement.

Kylie, along with her mother and little sister are left destitute, and must make their way to the midwest, Ohio. Where they live in Kylie great-grandmother’s home.
There the family will start to put their lives back together with the monetary help their father has proved for in the past. Kylie is insensitive and has an entitlement attitude.
This is only because she has been given way to much, and struggles under this lifestyle that has been thrust upon her small family. We see her character development grow as she comes to turns with some harsh consequences of her actions. She struggles and her relationship with her mother is stressed. She has in the past interpreted her mother’s repeated attempts to instill the value of money as a negative. This causes more hard ache for both mother and daughter. Seeking to blame the very person that is as much in same situation or worse. Kylie lashes out, at her mother and anyone around her. She becomes reckless, and has a lot maturing to do. There is a slow burn romance that is cleverly executed with the storyline.
This is wonderful book with family dynamics that a lot of people can relate to.
This is a thought provoking book that takes a hard look at the reality of the consequences of having too much, and not focusing on what really is important.
For an example, character and honor, and what it means to have good solid family values.
I highly recommend this book anyone looking for a great Ya contemporary.
Profile Image for Dr. Leanna Floyd.
59 reviews14 followers
July 8, 2020
When Life Gives You Lemons Instead of Lattes is a captivating story about a family’s struggles as they navigate through drastic changes that they have to endure at the expense of someone close to them who betrays their trust. When the FBI shows up unexpectedly at the home of the James family, their lives are turned upside down, and life as they know it will be ripped out from under them. Readers will be rooting for this family to overcome their setbacks, and they will be waiting with bated breath to see if they survive the devastation that seems to keep following them even thousands of miles away from their home. There’s a mysterious element laced throughout the story that has readers in suspense as they try to figure out what really happened to the family’s fortune and whether or not their lives are on the edge of danger. Additionally, the reader’s ideas about family loyalty are pushed to the limits as the characters’ dark pasts float to the surface. This family has an allegiance to each other, but will they turn their backs on each other when they find out the dirty secrets some of them have been keeping from the family?

Throughout the story, readers experience the highs and a lot of lows that this family has to endure, and they are brought back to Kylie’s mother’s humble beginnings, in Ohio, which forces Kylie, one of the main characters, to re-examine who she is as a person, and it exposes some of her ugly feelings and attitudes about herself and the world around her. This character comes across, at times, as entitled and insensitive, but as she is submerged deeper into a new town with new people, her metamorphosis begins to unfold as the layers of entitlement and bratty behavior begin to melt away revealing the true heart that lies at the core of her. During her self-discovery, she finds that love isn’t always what is seems, and she finds love in the people with whom she least expected. This story is a beautiful example of turning ones’ “lemons” into something truly amazing. This book is highly recommended for anyone looking for an enthralling read that will keep one guessing until the very end.
Profile Image for Indie Book Reviews.
30 reviews1 follower
July 8, 2020
Kylie is used to the good life – a luxurious home, a buzzing social scene, and plenty of money for whatever she needs. Her Dad isn’t around much, but pays for everything she could want, and best of all, never tells her “no”. OK, her relationship with her mum could be better – the woman needs to lighten up and appreciate what she has, right? Still, she has her cute little sister, she has some great friends around her, she’s done with school and planning some time in Europe – life is pretty sweet.

Unfortunately for Kylie, life doesn’t stay rosy for long. The police show up at her door and things start to go downhill quickly. Forced to leave town and cope without her dad and his money for the first time, it seems like she’s losing everything. As she tries to adjust to her new circumstances and small town life, will Kylie find that everything is as bad as it seems? Or will she discover a new way of looking at her friends, her family and the way she’s been living her life?

This endearing and sometimes poignant YA coming-of-age tale is the second book I’ve read by Rayna York, and is my favourite so far. The author successfully negotiates the challenge of giving us a real, flawed teenager as the central character for her story, who has a lot of growing up to do and isn’t always the most likeable, but who nonetheless never quite loses our interest and sympathy as she finds her way through difficult times. The story imparts some important life lessons to Kylie without ever preaching, and her gradual transformation over the course of the book is a pleasure to see unfold.

Overall, I highly recommend this book – it’s the best indie YA story I’ve read for some time. Looking forward to more from Rayna York!
Profile Image for Jana.
75 reviews
September 27, 2020
This book was...definitely an experience for me. I will admit that it wasn't my favorite but it definitely had its moments, especially towards the end. Kylie, our main character, was not very likable. My feelings for her for the majority of this book can be best summed up by some words I'm not supposed to say in polite company. Sis was basically the personification of an eye roll. But fear not, I'm pretty sure she was supposed to be this way, even though it was a little much for my liking. She also definitely grows a lot throughout this story considering our starting point so that definitely helps. I could certainly tolerate her by the end.

Harlow however, was the saving grace for me character-wise. She was such a sweetheart and I very much enjoyed the moments with her in it. She was the complete opposite of Kylie and helped soften her up a lot while also being a star in her own right. One other thing I really liked in this book and felt was worth mentioning was the great-grandmother's storyline. I thought her story was really interesting and kind of beautiful in a heartbreaking way. Those portions were my favorite parts of the book.

Overall it was a quick and easy read. Be prepared for our main character because she is something else. Also, there were moments that felt a little abrupt especially the ending. With all that had happened right before it, I was certainly surprised by how it just cut off. I felt a little extra something could have certainly helped smooth out that ending a tad but that's just a personal preference.

Thank you Rayna York, Toad Tree Press, and NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to review this book!
Profile Image for Megan Miller.
191 reviews2 followers
October 21, 2020

This book just wasn't it for me. What started out as a decent premise quickly turned into a tropey nightmare. The good news is that it did get mildly better toward the middle or so.

Some positives: Harlow, Charles, Otto. And that's it.

Okay, quick roundup of everything I just couldn't get on board with in this novel:

Namely, the main character.

From the very beginning Kylie is the worst kind of main character to read. She is entitled and narcissistic and just straight up a bitch. It was hard to read the beginning because it was so bad. As with all whiny teen books, she does go through a lot of character growth, so she wasn't quiiiiiite as annoying by the end. But there were still several thoughts and comments that made it sound like she hadn't grown in all of the areas. She continues to think she's hot shit. Literally. She still referred to herself as being hot in her head and to other people. Not to mention she still tries to be "friends with benefits but no sex" with a guy after she finds out he's gay. Like what? Plus she makes so many just stupid mistakes. The second-hand embarrassment was real.

The plot didn't super work for me either. The stuff with her dad got more interesting near the end, but it just wasn't something I saw as being believable or entertaining.

I could go on (believe me), but really everything comes down to an unlikable, shallow main character. I was kept mildly entertained (I mean, I managed to finish the book, s0..), but overall it's not something I would recommend.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Megan Oneail.
232 reviews3 followers
September 17, 2020
3.5/5 - I was provided with an eARC of this book in exchange for a fair review.

Pregnancy insomnia found me with 4 hours in the middle of the night needing to be filled, and this book did the job! I enjoyed the premise a good deal (no doubt helped along by my actively re-binging Gossip Girl right now), and the development of the characters was great. Kylie was very hard to like at first - she was just plain *mean* most of the time - but she definitely did some growing for the better. Harlow was adorable, and Charles was curmudgeonly in the best of ways. Tristan was excellent (totally guessed his secret - thank you Clueless), and Otto was *chef kiss*.

For all Kylie's flaws, she did overall make smart choices - she stepped up and worked hard at her job, adapted to life on a budget, picked up new hobbies, built a relationship with her mom, and even wisely trusted her FBI agent (I was so worried she was going to be sullen forever and make that harder for everyone). I will say that the story did feel quite rushed at times - not just because it was only 300 pages, but the timeline itself probably could have been widened so as to make everyone's growth seem more logical. I also think the author made things VERY easy on our characters in some ways - SPOILERS AHEAD - mainly, how both Kylie and her mom found great jobs right away, everyone made friends quickly, money was never REALLY an issue, and then the fact that they inherited the grocery store AND a hefty fortune from Charles in the end.

Despite the flaws, I still enjoyed this one. After all, it kept me company in the wee sma's.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Katie.
22 reviews16 followers
September 17, 2020

I don't know if the plan was to have Kylie as the most unlikeable character in this book, but she is.

I had more than a few issues with what was written in this book, especially set in the world Tiktok is in.
-Calorie counting and a social media addiction
-Says her mom could have been pretty if she worked at it
-Underage drinking but also acting like she is responsible for her younger sister.
-she uses the term "slave driver" and says it out loud when Charles tells her about her new work schedule.
How is she not, as a modern woman in today’s age, not suspicious about guys? And her mom just lets her go? It’s not realistic to me. Especially if she’s watching tiktok and all the information that’s shared there, I know for a fact she’s not watching just funny videos.

So a nine year old knows what beer smells like so she obviously knows that Kylie shouldn’t be drinking it underage if Harlow tells her to go shower bc she smells bad. If Kylie loves her little sister so much, how is this showing responsibility and good choices?

Seems like a very long journal entry. There’s a overload of “I” statements and really no extra details. Then she finds a diary of her great grandma and I see no change in writing from the 1930’s to now.

I am super confused at Tristan’s teasing of Kylie. And his character in general is a bit cliché and how she names him her best gay male friend.
Overall, I was very disappointed as a reader, and as a woman in 2020.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Mary Ann Tippett.
Author 8 books51 followers
September 21, 2020
When Life Gives You Lemons Instead of Lattes by Rayna York is an engaging, hard-to-put-down YA novel that follows a sassy teenager from living the high life in California to dialling it way back in small town, Ohio.

I fell in love with the voice of the main character, Kylie, right away. Though she was self absorbed (at the start), she was authentic. Her protectiveness toward her younger sister warmed my heart. And Otto’s refreshing interest in something besides partying and scoring with a girl made him a fast favourite for me as well.

The side plot involving the grocery store owner, who employs Kylie, and Kylie’s departed Nana (Grace) was especially enjoyable — especially toward the end of the novel when the resolution of who Kylie’s father (who has gone missing and is being pursued by the FBI) really is takes centre stage. So many good plot lines in this book and such well drawn characters!

Favorite lines:

“Well, when life gives you lemons…”
I hate that saying. “I’d much rather have a latte.”


“I came here with a different set of priorities. They were from a life I knew and understood. Now everything is different, and I guess I am too.”

I’m looking forward to more from this author — her stories get better and better!
Profile Image for WeLoveBigBooksAndWeCannotLie.
376 reviews21 followers
September 14, 2020
When Life Give You Lemons Instead of Lattes by @rayna.york was the feel good book I needed this year!💕

Kylie a spoiled 18 year old grates on my nerves quite a bit, but the more you dive into her character the more she warms up to you! Kylie, her mom and little sister Harlow have their lives completely turned upside down because of their father’s illegal misdealing’s, and they are now in a rags from riches situation.

As Kylie gets used to her new small town and living without credit cards and Louboutins, she has to find work at a local grocery store to even keep her phone turned on. Charles the owner is well known as the local grump, but when Kylie finds out her family has a deep connection with him, she starts to understand why he may have been grumpy for so long.💔

One of the things I appreciated about these characters is they enjoyed a good dessert! They didn’t have mochi donuts, but if they were available, I’m pretty sure they would have all loved them!😋

I was touched by this story and am so grateful to @rayna.york for gifting us a copy of her book, we always love working with indie authors, this is one book I’ll remember for a long time
Profile Image for Kasey Connors-Beron.
201 reviews3 followers
October 12, 2020
Who here has seen Two Broke Girls? Amazing show (Kat Dennings, aka Max, is the BEST) with a simple plot: survive life in NYC.

The complicated part is that Caroline is a rich girl who is brilliant but immensely pampered that loses all her money when her father is arrested and their assets are seized.

That is Kylie in a nutshell. It is frustrating being in her head (conceited and has no idea what real life is like) but it’s an accurate portrayal of the character’s history. She should act like a spoiled brat because that’s what she is. It doesn’t make me like her any more though.

Instead, my heart is with Harlow and Otto and Charles. The side characters are fantastic and (eventually) Kylie starts getting there too. If is wasn’t for the side characters and my investment in seeing the dad’s fallout I probably would not have finished. I’m glad I did though.

Kylie’s character arc is slow but should be. The snark is on point and the intricacies of the past mixed with current is really fascinating.

I do recommend for a weekend read. Curl up and sip a latte and watch Kylie’s world fall apart so she can find herself.
60 reviews2 followers
November 4, 2020
I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I picked up this book because the plot sounded interesting and up my alley, but I feel like this book just didn't hit the mark for me. I gave it a 2 out of 5 stars. There were some plot points that they didn't give an answer to, or just completely forgot about.

The main character Kylie is a really spoiled, bratty character who is used to getting whatever she wants. She is not a likeable character and although I feel bad that her life was flipped upside down when the FBI busted into her home, I was hoping she would learn to be a better person as a result of it. She was so sure that all boys would love her and even after finding out one guy was gay, she still pursued him thinking that she could change his mind, which is so wrong. I do like the relationship between Kylie and Harlow, her sister. Kylie is clearly protective of her sister and that is nice to see. There is some character growth throughout the book, but it didn't help with the overall way I feel about the book.
Profile Image for Katarina.
860 reviews23 followers
February 23, 2021
Oh wow. I’m blown away by this book. I loved it so much.

I saw some of the not so good reviews about this book, and thought I’d be disappointed as well. But I’ve just finished reading and totally disagree with those reviews. I couldn’t put the book down. I was completely riveted until the last page.
Sure, Kylie acts like a brat in the beginning....but the whole point of the book is to show her grow up and get her head straight. That would be impossible if she was mature and responsible from the start. So for me her snotty behaviour towards her mom was not a deal breaker. Besides, it wasn’t that bad.....
I won’t say any more about the plot, read it for yourself. I absolutely loved the book. I was fully engaged in the characters and story, and it moved me. The end really moved me.
I think the author, Rayne York, has an amazing talent and I can’t wait to read more of her books. Her writing is outstanding.

Easy 5 out of 5 stars. Did I mention I absolutely loved this book?

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a free ARC for review purposes
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