The Season of You & Me by Robin Constantine

Title: The Season of You & Me

Author: Robin Constantine
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Date of Publication: May 10, 2016
Source: ARC from HarperCollins International

Cassidy Emmerich is determined to make this summer—the last before her boyfriend heads off to college—unforgettable. What she doesn’t count on is her boyfriend breaking up with her. Now, instead of being poolside with him, Cass is over a hundred miles away, spending the summer with her estranged father and his family at their bed-and-breakfast at the Jersey Shore and working as the newest counselor at Camp Manatee.

Bryan Lakewood is sick of nevers. You’ll never walk. You’ll never surf. You’ll never slow dance with your date at prom. One miscalculated step and Bryan’s life changed forever—now he’s paralyzed and needs to use a wheelchair. This is the first summer he’s back at his former position at Camp Manatee and ready to reclaim some of his independence, in spite of those who question if he’s up for the job.

Cass is expecting two months dealing with heartbreak.
Bryan is expecting a summer of tough adjustments.
Neither of them is expecting to fall in love.

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My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

YAY FOR DIVERSE BOOKS! Unfortunately, I don’t think The Season of You & Me is culturally/racially diverse but we get a paraplegic as one of the main characters! Disability in YA! And he’s totally the love interest for our heroine. I’d take what I can get.

So it’s a typical summer romance but I did know that when I started the book. But sometimes that’s exactly what you need to ease out of your reading slump, am I right? Something totally predictable and easy to read? Because that’s what The Season of You & Me is. And based on how The Promise of Amazing fared with me way back when, I wasn’t counting on loving The Season of You & Me. So I guess that’s how it actually surprised me that I actually dug it! Just not enough to get four stars, heh.

Strong points of the novel include DUAL PERSPECTIVES OH YAY! I love he-said-she-said stories so SO much and it was absolutely lovely reading from both of Cass and Bryan’s POVs. I think Robin Constantine did a good job on both of their voices as well. They sounded different and you get a feel that they’re really two different people, not just a girl’s voice and a guy’s voice.

I also applaud how Robin Constantine did not only feature a paraplegic in The Season of You & Me but we actually get to read how Bryan lives his life now. In fact, Bryan’s story arc was my favorite part of the novel and seeing him practice how to swim and come back to the job he always had as a camp counselor. It was inspiring without making the reader feel like you’re forced to be inspired by Bryan. It’s so hard to explain!

As for Cass, she went to the Jersey Shore to spend her summer away from her ex-boyfriend who cheated on her. I thought her thoughts were so realistic. She hates her ex but deep inside, she still loves her. There’s a part where her ex contacted her and she kind of reverted back to old habits. It just says so much about moving on and that it’s really a choice and probably the harder choice in most cases.

I didn’t find The Season of You & Me romance-heavy, inspite of me saying that it’s a typical summer romance. Really, we spend a lot of time on each of the main characters individual life, which I appreciated so so much. It was also a slow burn romance because Cass was deadset on moving on and not getting into a new relationship right away. Bryan liked Cass immediately but they were just friends initially. Friends with potential. However, it was not a shippy romance too so while I wanted them to be together, I was not swept along in their love.

All in all, a sweet and quick summer read! I’ll definitely read more from Robin Constantine. She has always been able to write cute and readable romances.

The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder

I read a book before its publication date… HALLELUJAH! This just hasn’t happened in a long time so yeah, it’s kind of a big deal for me, reading slumps and all. Haha! Read on for my review of this book out next next week!

The Museum of Heartbreak

Title: The Museum of Heartbreak
Author: Meg Leder
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Date of Publication: June 7, 2016
Source: egalley from publisher

In this ode to all the things we gain and lose and gain again, seventeen-year-old Penelope Marx curates her own mini-museum to deal with all the heartbreaks of love, friendship, and growing up.

Welcome to the Museum of Heartbreak.

Well, actually, to Penelope Marx’s personal museum. The one she creates after coming face to face with the devastating, lonely-making butt-kicking phenomenon known as heartbreak.

Heartbreak comes in all forms: There’s Keats, the charmingly handsome new guy who couldn’t be more perfect for her. There’s possibly the worst person in the world, Cherisse, whose mission in life is to make Penelope miserable. There’s Penelope’s increasingly distant best friend Audrey. And then there’s Penelope’s other best friend, the equal-parts-infuriating-and-yet-somehow-amazing Eph, who has been all kinds of confusing lately.

But sometimes the biggest heartbreak of all is learning to let go of that wondrous time before you ever knew things could be broken.

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My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

That cover was too adorable that I knew I had to read this book. And THAT TITLE. I admit to not even reading the synopsis to this one when I requested it. So I went into this book blind.

Well, I wouldn’t say that I regret being blinded by my love for adorable covers but I would also say that the story inside isn’t as adorable as its cover.

My main gripe with The Museum of Heartbreak is that I didn’t feel any connection to our protagonist, Penelope Marx. Or to any character, actually. In fact, the characters in here lacked dimensions and they felt like they just played a role to move the plot along. Oh wait, there isn’t really a plot as the novel more of chronicles Pen’s series of heartbreaks, which is to say it’s just a coming-of-age story. We have Keats, the cute guy Pen has a crush on who likes Kerouac and is obviously a dickhead but of course Pen does not see it. We have Cherisse who’s just totally mean with no redeeming qualities (gah, I know a Cherisse in real life that I am not fond of so it doesn’t help the character gain any favors with me, not that the author gave the reader any reason to even root for her as a person) and we have Audrey, Pen’s bestfriend/soon-to-be-ex-bestfriend. And Eph, who obviously likes/loves/whatever Pen but of course she can’t see it too. Well, I actually don’t blame Pen too because Eph is her bestfriend and he keeps on dating other girls and breaking their hearts too. And he’s so bad at emotions and expressing himself. But then again, he’s only marginally better than the others with the dimensions aspect because he still felt like a plot device more than a character/love interest. I did adore him and how much he loves dinosaurs but that’s about it as well?

I did see a bit of myself in Pen and I actually empathize with her social anxiety and general anxiety/paranoia/nervousness/panic. I so overthink things and I just get that aspect of her personality. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for me to root for her wholeheartedly. I mean, sure, I root for her as you usually do with the protagonist but I don’t have strong feelings about it. Pen started off as an idealistic girl too, the type who thinks romance is like a Jane Austen novel, so while I do understand that, I can’t also help thinking that she needs to let go of that way of thinking. Then I berate myself because that’s how I was as well when I was her age. Ha! Also, Pen is bookish so yay!

Sadly, I don’t have strong feelings for this novel. It’s a bit cute but it fell flat to me most of the time. I did really like the concept of this heartbreak museum and that there were illustrations of each item/artifact in it. Complete with a Latin translation and donor. And I liked how the heartbreak tackled in this novel isn’t purely of the romantic kind because it’s not all there is to the world! It also included heartbreaks due to friendship and family, which I’m grateful for because coming of age does not only mean learning about love, romantic love that is.

So, overall, a decent read but nothing worth gushing about in my opinion. Would I read Meg Leder’s books in the future? I think I will but it’s not going to be a top priority. Unless it’s coupled with another adorable or gorgeous cover then you know I’ll be falling in queue for that. Ha.