I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Published by Point on July 26th 2016
What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery?
While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk! Soon enough Lily and the mystery student are exchanging notes, and lyrics, and even sharing secrets. When Lily finds out that her anonymous pen pal is a guy, she's flustered -- and kind of feels like she's falling for him. She and her best friend set out to unravel the identity of the letter writer -- but when the truth is revealed, the guy is the LAST person Lily could have ever imagined it to be. Now that Lily knows the truth, can she untangle her feelings and gather the courage to listen to her heart?
From beloved author Kasie West (The Distance Between Us) comes an utterly charming story about mixed messages, missed connections, and the magic of good old-fashioned secret admirer notes.
Thoughts: This is the second book in a week with characters falling in love anonymously, and, as a whole, I think this trope is incredibly timely and adorable. What I liked about PS I Like You is that the notes were time controlled by being passed in a secret desk space in Chemistry. As someone who loves words and thinks they are powerful, it has been gratifying to read books that show the power of words. P.S. I Like You also included another of my favorite tropes: the hate-to-love romance arc. I’m not going to lie. It’s one of my favorite, and it is done so well here. The characters learn to forgive and understand each other, as well as come to terms with themselves and that fact that sometimes, we aren’t as innocent as we think we are. When they finally get together at the end (not a spoiler, this is a romance!), I was READY:
Beyond the romance, what I loved about this book is that the main character has a huge, wild family who plays an important role in the story. The parents are present, they love their kids. It is clear throughout the whole story that Lily’s life is impacted by being a teenager living with her family. I loved the weird rituals the family has, like the parents each making a pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and making everyone vote on which pie is best. I also loved how complicated the family dynamics are. It feels real. You can love your family and still be infuriated when they hurt you. You can feel guilty about hurting someone you love, but not be able to stop yourself because you are so angry. YA gets a bad rap for dead or absent parents, and you will definitely not find that here!
Similarly, Lily’s friendship with Isabel is equally compelling. I can’t remember the last time I read such a realistic friendship in a book that wasn’t all about the friendship. In real life, we hurt each other, we forgive each other, we actively choose to ignore minor hurts because we understand that the person didn’t mean it the way we took it and we value the friendship more than the small slight. Sure, sometimes we have big fights and big blowups, but friendships in books often miss the nuances of friendships with shared history. West does such a great job presenting Lily and Isabel in all their imperfect but loving glory.
Favorite Moment: Lily wouldn’t describe herself as confident, but she really, really is. At one point she asks out this guy she’s been crushing on for years, just walks up to him in the middle of lunch and asks in front of all his friends. Of course, she does this because she’s angry at another guy, but… wow, just wow. I wish I had scenes like this to read when I was a teenager.
O.o: I don’t want to spoil anything, so I will be intentionally vague by saying: View Spoiler » At the very end, the mean girl does a thing in front of the WHOLE SCHOOL that just had me… I don’t think I could have recovered from it. « Hide Spoiler
Tl;dr: West’s best book yet. P.S. I Like You is a sweet romance that will appeal to fans of Stephanie Perkins and Huntley Fitzpatrick. I can’t wait to bring this book to school in September and share it with my students.