Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan (eARC Review, Dash & Lily #3)

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Page Count
: 256

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: depiction of anxiety/panic attacks

I’ve currently really been on a roll when it comes to Dash & Lily, reigniting my love for the characters by binging the Netflix show (several times) and following it up by reading the sequel and now this book that places them in London. It’s as if the authors allow you to watch them grow up a little more with each book and I appreciated that the most in Mind the Gap.

There was much I loved, but also a couple things that bothered me. A lot of it came down to one of my biggest pet peeves – bad communication. Despite being miles and miles apart, Dash and Lily really make the long distance thing work. They seemed so solid in their relationship that their troubles once they reunited felt … strange to me. Obviously, they were busy living their lives and struggling or thriving (depending on who you’re looking at) and didn’t talk about every little detail that happened while they were apart. Where Dash got disappointed by his own ambitions, Lily was turning into a little dog mogul without her family or friends noticing. All of that is understandable and just warrants a bit of time to talk it all out, catch up on the things you missed, but what does Lily Bear do? Once again she runs away. I was so frustrated with her, because poor Dashiell was just too overwhelmed.

Lily went to London surprising Dash without his knowledge. While he was glad to see her (because he is always glad to see her), it was also really bad timing. He didn’t want her to see him in this state of despair he found himself in. Oxford had drained him to the last drop and only his previously estranged grandmother, Gem, could raise his spirits. Instead of being glad that Dash had finally found a family member to connect with, Lily was jealous. She was legit jealous of Dash’ grandmother, a woman who is basically a slightly British version of Mrs. Basil E.

But once they got over those initial hick-ups, however annoying I might have found them, especially on Lily’s part, the book was really fantastic. I felt Dash’ state of being lost to the core. The way his world seemed to close in on him and he just did not know what to do now that what he had always envisioned for himself wasn’t as fulfilling as he thought it would be. I think that’s something a lot of young adults have to face. Their expectations of college/university aren’t always going to match up with reality and it takes a whole lot of strength to muster up the courage to find a new path.

Simultaneously, you have Lily’s own struggle with what the future holds. I think I found it a bit harder to connect to her here, because she is so much larger than life sometimes. Where Dash is relatable in his quiet despair, Lily has suddenly made mountains of cash (without her very meddling family knowing?) and has become a dog influencer who is even recognised on the street outside of New York City. I always knew her happy demeanor was contagious, but she basically had become a celebrity without the people in her life realising it. Maybe because she didn’t communicate clearly what she was doing and just how successful she was with it, her family kept pressuring her to go down a more traditional academic route. I enjoyed that she stood her ground in the end, but I never really had to worry about her not being okay. She was doing great for herself, Dash was much more worrisome.

The book ended with their relationship stronger than ever. While the story as a whole was not as fluffy and cutesy as the previous ones, it still filled my heart with a certain warmth that only Dash and Lily can provide. Those kids are not kids anymore and you just know they’re going to find their way.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars! It was lovely to see them grow up like this.


Do you want to continue on with Dash and Lily’s epic love story? Does it convey the holiday spirit to you as well? Let’s talk!

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover (Book Review)

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Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Page Count
: 376

It Ends With Us was another buddy read with fellow Blogateer Cátia, She’s already a huge CoHo (= Colleen Hoover) fan, but this was my first venture into her world of writing. I am not yet 100% sure I was converted, but IEWU definitely hit home in a way. Now, before I get into any kind of detail, I don’t think I can do this without Spoilers. I’ve thought about it, but even talking about what the book’s main topic is, can’t be said without spoiling something. So, proceed with caution! 

Have you ever looked at the face of someone you love and been scared? And I am not talking about scared you’re loosing them, or scared for them – I am talking about being afraid for your own safety. It irreversibly breaks something in the relationship you had. It’s something that can never be mended, but it does not mean that you stop loving them, because that’s not how this works. Lily, our main protagonist in IEWU, has to find out exactly that! Yes, this book is about domestic abuse.

In my opinion, CoHo went about this in a very smart way. She dazzles you with Ryle’s charm and looks, you fall for him alongside Lily. At the same time, she introduces you to her past, her issues with her father and Lily’s first love, Atlas, who is about to re-enter her life. All the while, you are certain, that girl will never get into an abusive relationship herself. Well, of course that’s not how the story goes. Shortly after the first incident, you are shocked and devastated. It’s the kind of incident that people try to rationalize and explain away, but no matter what the reasoning is, that doesn’t excuse it. Yet, Lily stays and it happens again and again.

I am not going to go into detail, or tell you what she did in the end, but that whole story tied my stomach into knots. I actually felt sick with what was happening, but I was very glad about the people in Lily’s life. They had her back, no matter what, especially when neither Lily nor the reader expected them to and that simply warmed my heart.

coho

Ultimately, I really enjoyed the writing. It was beautiful and felt very real, however, there are just a couple things that don’t make it the perfect read. To me, the story was very much about Lily and her growth. I wouldn’t really classify this as a romance to be honest or at least say that was the least important part of it. So, Ryle aside, I liked Atlas and I realise how important he was for Lily’s past and that she needed closure for that, but I probably would have felt a lot better about him, if he hadn’t just turned into a picture-perfect man. What’s his story? I have so many questions about him and how he became the person he’s now. To say he wasn’t necessary in the present tense would be a vast exaggeration, but I could have done without the epilogue … Still, I whole-heartedly believe that this was not my last CoHo book! Until next time!

Fazit: 4/5 stars! It was heartbreaking and raw, but I still could have done without a couple of elements.

4stars

 Have you read this one? What are your thoughts?

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West (Book Review)

ps

Publisher: Point
Page Count
: 330

For all of you who don’t know, P.S. I Like You was included in the August OwlCrate box. You can find my full unboxing post here. A couple years back, regular contemporaries were all I ever seemed to pick up, but nowadays Fantasy mostly rules my shelves This in no way should mean that I don’t still enjoy the genre. In fact, I like reading it very much, I just don’t seem to buy them as often. However, after my massive reading slump the past weeks, this was the PERFECT book to read.

P.S. I Like You is pretty much what you would expect it to be: fluff-galore, laugh-out-loud-funny, relatable and super fast-paced. This was my first Kasie West book, but I regret absolutely nothing. At first the anonymous-note-writing reminded me a little of Simon vs. the Homo-Sapiens Agenda, but it definitely is a story all of its own. In the beginning you try to figure out who Lily, the main character, is exchanging letters with and I think it’s not that difficult to figure out. At least I wasn’t surprised, because it is never the person the main character wants it to be … that’s like a universal law to not make it that easy.

Generally I really liked Lily, even though she could have a tendency to get annoying when she doubted herself to much. Quite frankly I thought what she called “awkwardness” was a brilliant sense of humour … but then again I am also more on the awkward-spectrum of human beings. I sort of expected there to be more conflict between her and her best friend at some point, but then again I am also very glad that wasn’t the case. I feel like there are often very toxic friendships in books, where things never get talked through and it slowly sours the relationship, which is probably why I expected some sort of explosion at one point or another here. As I said, they are super cute though and it never happened, which is a nice change.

Lastly, I enjoyed how much of a focus there was on family. As we have all discussed numerous times in the past, there is a real lack of involved parents in YA, but not here. The parents were present, annoying and did not let their children do whatever they pleased at whatever time of night they wanted – which seems realistic to me. There was also the opposite spectrum of parenting. So, I liked how they showed all kinds of relationships a kid could have with their parents and siblings and other relatives.

So, the plot might have been a tad predictable, but it was still done in such an enjoyable way. The characters were very likable and fun to be on the journey with.

Fazit: 5/5 stars! It was exactly what I needed when I needed it, so no complaints from me.

5starsI am really happy that all my OwlCrate-books were 5-star-reads so far! Keep it up! Did you read this one as well? Do you have a favourite Kasie West book?