Love, Life, and the Teen Dream

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Ah…young love.

Recently, a bookish friend asked me for some book suggestions. She was looking for teen romance novels for girls who are single and want to find love.

I obligingly provided her with a few of the authors that I loved (more on that in a little bit), but there was something I wanted address about the specific genre she was looking for. When I was a teenager, I desperately wanted the kind of love you can only get on the CW. That brooding dude with a mysterious past that’s good to you comes along to the school you’ve been sludging through the past three years and out of everyone he notices you.

It’s the same with these stories. You want to feel what these characters feel and how that one guy you hope will look at you does. 

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Here’s the funny thing about those stories; they’re not real. It’s work of pure fiction and when you go into reading a book about love, you should remind yourself that this is purely for enjoyment of stories. I know that these stories are beautiful and modeling your life a little bit off it is fun, but remember you are yourself and you’re in the middle of writing your own story. 

While I wanted to be one of those girls that fell in love in high school, I actually fell in love for the first time when I was 21. And even then, it wasn’t the best romance of my life. It shook me that I didn’t get to have that experience and it shook me even more when the mental and emotional abuse kicked in. Where is my Happily Ever After there? But then a few years after that, I found a person who loves me for who I am and finds no fault in me and jokes with me and is real with me and it’s better than any love story I’ve ever read. 

Even though that’s only one instance of love and there are tons of people who love their high school sweethearts there are literally billions of people on earth. Don’t limit yourself to that one guy or gal.  

I guess you can call me a cynic, but I want to say this as a person who is a full grown adult and in love; focus on yourself. Focus on what makes you happy and what you enjoy. There’s no point in impressing someone who doesn’t find you impressive, so impress yourself. There will always be someone on the periphery watching what you do and falling in love with you for it. You do you. Continue to be your lovable self. There is life after high school and that’s where most people fall in love. 

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Remember, what do all of those YA stories have in common? No one is going after each other. That goes for both men and women and for every gender in between! You should fall in love with someone who loves you and not with someone who doesn’t know you exist. Be your quirky self and you’ll find that the one person you didn’t even realize was The One will come to you when the time is right. Don’t rush it. It’ll only lead to heartache.

When you fall in love, you fall. Don’t get pushed and don’t throw yourself at it. Let it fall and hopefully someone will catch you.

Now, time for some romance novels for you young loves out there to read and dream of when your time will come:

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The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia – Book Review

A few posts ago, I mentioned doing a Library Reading Challenge, where I try to read four books within three weeks time. The reason? Well, you can only borrow a book for three weeks before you have to return it. Given my track record on reading, I would only be able to finish 3/4 books.

Yes, I know that I can renew the books if I don’t get to them, but that doesn’t make it a challenge. I want to see if I can do it. There’s really no other reason why I want to do this. Also, my TBR is piling up to uncontrollable levels and I’d like to read those books as well. First world book problems, am I right?

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Anyway, I decided to start off my challenge with The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia.

The only other novel I’ve read by Kami Garcia was Beautiful Creatures, which wasn’t my favorite even if I always end up watching the movie when it’s on TV.

But this was different. Fast and Furious meets Rich girl/Poor boy.

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com)  Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

Rating: 4/5 stars and a definite recommendation

My thoughts – I finished reading this book over the weekend while flying over to Florida. I love books like this. I love them because they’re easily digestible and entertaining. That’s not to say there isn’t substance, there is. But when you read a lot of books about serious “adult” stuff, you want a little bit of a break. The Lovely Reckless is definitely a nice little break.

The writing is easy-to-read and digestible. Kami Garcia does a great job painting the picture of a young girl who doesn’t know what to do with herself after seeing her boyfriend die. I think the one thing I didn’t like was how she made it entirely about herself. She ignored her friends and started causing trouble. I get that it’s tough when someone you love is gone, but you don’t ignore the friends and family that want to take care of you during your time of need. That part didn’t sit right with me, but that might not be the case for everyone.

The plot read like Fast and Furious. I was surprised that Frankie, the main character, didn’t actually work for the cops with her dad as an undercover agent. However, I did have to take half a star away for the plot being too quick for the couple to fall in love as well as the “good girl gone bad” and the rich/poor dynamic of the couple.

But again, this isn’t about the smaller minutae, but the bigger story. You will definitely fall in love with Frankie and Marco and you’ll feel feelings for Deacon that you wish could come true. It’s riveting and had me at the edge of my seat even if I was 30,000 feet in the air.