Tag Archives: contemporary

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya and all that! In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, a couple weeks ago I went on a quest for some Irish-themed reads. The Call almost made the cut, but I couldn’t stomach taking on another series at the moment, so that’s how I ended up with Love & Luck!

If you’re in the mood for a quick, cute St. Patrick’s Day read, look no further! Love & Luck is an adorable read that will transport you to the Emerald Isle. Readers follow Addie, who is in Ireland with her large, boisterous family for her aunt’s wedding. Fresh out of a relationship, Addie has a secret™ that is eating her up inside. She’ll need to spill the beans eventually, but is working on first coming to terms with how her relationship ended. Her moral support through all this? A guidebook called Ireland for the Heartbroken, which has Addie soon gallivanting across Ireland with her older brother and his Internet best friend.

This is one of the only road trip book I’ve truly enjoyed; most of the other ones that I’ve read didn’t feel entirely cohesive. But with the guidebook framework, everything comes together into a whimsical package, aided by the fast pace and authentic-feeling characters. The Maeve/female empowerment stuff did read a little bit cringey and forced to me, but this is a small aspect of the book only, so not much to worry about.

I’d say this is an excellent read for anyone who enjoyed Morgan Matson’s Save the Date. There are a lot of similarities (in the best way possible), from the older brothers-younger sister relationships to the romantic themes. (And the obvious wedding common thread.) Another pretty obvious comp is 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, which has a larger European focus… But you guys have heard me harping on about Johnson lately, so I’ll leave it at that. 😉 And if you do read this book and love it, Love & Luck has a sister novel called Love & Gelato, featuring Addie’s best friend Lina in, you guessed it, Italy. So hopefully I’ll be picking that up sometime, since this was such a cute book.

Tell Me Everything by Sarah Enni

I’ve been a loyal listener of Sarah Enni’s First Draft podcast since 2014, so I was psyched to pick up a copy of her debut novel. Tell Me Everything follows Ivy, a sophomore photography nerd who’s been struggling with growing distance between her and her BFF Harold. To take her mind off her absent, over-scheduled friend, Ivy becomes engrossed with the new app VEIL, which allows users to view Instagram-style anonymous pictures local to a five-mile radius. The book follows Ivy as she attempts to uncover the secrets of the students at her school posting on VEIL.

It’s a cute, short book that I read in less than twenty-four hours. I really enjoyed the local art scene focus, and I feel that there’s a missed opportunity here for the book to include some photographs and illustrations to color the narrative, like in a Ransom Riggs book. Yet the book isn’t without its flaws; it felt plotless for a good portion of the book, like we were being treated to individual scenes that made up some sort of abstract whole. The voice, too, is a bit younger than I usually read. (More a preference thing than an actual detractor.) You know how a lot of readers (rightly) complain that a good portion of YA isn’t really YA anymore, but really just New Adult, repackaged with “eighteen-year-olds” and pretty YA covers? This isn’t that; it reads young, and Enni was clearly purposeful in the decision to make Ivy and Harold sophomores instead of upperclassmen.

I’ll admit that the tone of the book was a bit off to me. There is a lot of quirk for quirk’s sake, almost reminiscent of Katy t3h PeNgU1n oF d00m. That combined with an especially cringy (cringey?) scene between Ivy and Harold that read like progressive buzzword mad libs had me not exactly racing for the end of the book, but still edging toward eager-to-be-done territory.

***SPOILER INCOMING***

I did also feel like some questions briefly raised throughout the book weren’t explored deeply enough. In this book, online anonymity and an unmoderated user base butt heads with “safe spaces” and helicopter parents. There is a kind of resolution to this conflict in terms of the VEIL app, but not a satisfying one in my opinion, and what resolution Enni offers us doesn’t do much to address the very real debates that society is currently having about social media platforms. VEIL is deleted in the end, but let’s face it, Mark Zuckerberg isn’t about to delete Facebook, nor Jack Dorsey Twitter, so what exact lesson are we supposed to take from Tell Me Everything into the real world?

So some good, some bad. Tell Me Everything was a pleasant, quick read for a Sunday afternoon, but I wouldn’t highly recommend it for older YA readers, though a younger, less picky crowd might have some fun here.


Just a real quick reminder that Chapter Four of The Gold in the Dark will be posting this Sunday at 11 AM EST! All right, that’s all, folks. ❤