ARC Reviews: From Twinkle with Love, Dating Disasters of Emma Nash, and The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls

Posted June 4, 2018 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Can you tell that my plan to get ahead on May ARCs didn’t exactly work? I did read all of these books IN May, but didn’t give myself enough calendar space to share my reviews in a timely manner. Two of these published last month and one of them publishes tomorrow!

I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.

ARC Reviews: From Twinkle with Love, Dating Disasters of Emma Nash, and The Last Summer of the Garrett GirlsFrom Twinkle, with Love by Sandhya Menon
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published by Simon and Schuster on May 22, 2018
Also by this author: When Dimple Met Rishi, There's Something About Sweetie, Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love, Of Curses and Kisses, 10 Things I Hate About Pinky, Of Princes and Promises
Format: eARC (336 pages) • Source: Publisher
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Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.

When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.

Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?

Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.

This was adorable! I loved DIMPLE and was extremely excited to read Menon’s sophomore novel as a result. Her formula of geeky smart girls plus cinnamon roll boys is a winning combination for me so far.

I noticed some mixed early reviews so I was a bit nervous that Twinkle, as a character, would be frustrating for me to read. I like YA books where the characters are flawed and kind of learn / grow up throughout the novel, but I’m always hoping that it stays relatable. I can see why it’s polarizing because Twinkle definitely makes some rough and immature decisions throughout the book. She’s used to being a wallflower and is feeling hurt that her best friend, Maddie, has moved into the ~popular girls~ group at their school, leaving Twinkle for just some scraps of her time. She has an overwhelming crush on Neil while balancing a friendship with his twin, Sahil. The two of them are working on a gender-swapped Dracula film together and very obviously falling for each other. Add in a mysterious secret admirer named “N” via email, and Twinkle is quite confused.

There are so many moments in this book where I questioned Dimple but for some reason I never lost faith that she would do the right thing. I could feel the changes inside of her throughout the book – some good and some bad – but always felt that she would turn things around by the end, or stop herself from making too horrible of a choice. It’s hard to explain without giving too much away.

This book has a lot of great diversity and representation between all of the main characters and their families. I loved learning about each of them throughout the story and reading everything through emails, journal entries, and text messages. The ending made me tear up, which I didn’t expect, so this is very much a winner in my mind. [PS I love Nick’s review and totally agree!]

I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.

ARC Reviews: From Twinkle with Love, Dating Disasters of Emma Nash, and The Last Summer of the Garrett GirlsDating Disasters of Emma Nash by Chloe Seager
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published by Harlequin on May 1, 2018
Format: eARC (304 pages) • Source: Publisher
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Don’t miss the laugh-out-loud novel of the year!

Online, you can choose who you want to be. If only real life were so easy…

Emma Nash may be down, but after months of wallowing, stalking her ex online and avoiding showering—because, really, who’s going to care?—Emma’s ready to own her newly single status, get out with her friends and chronicle her dating adventures on her private blog.

But life online doesn’t always run smoothly. Stumbling upon her mother’s Tinder dating profile, getting catfished and accidentally telling the entire world why her ex-boyfriend Leon’s not worth any girl’s…um…time… Okay, those were disasters.

But surely nothing else can go wrong?

Filled with fun, flirty encounters and heartwarming friendships, Dating Disasters of Emma Nash will shock and delight scores of readers looking for something fresh.

I feel a little mixed about this book, but I think my overall impression is pretty positive. Emma is dealing with a breakup with Leon, where he essentially just ghosted her and started dating someone else. As you can imagine, she’s a bit heartbroken and insufferable throughout a good portion of the beginning because she’s trying to get over him. She has a private blog (all of the book happens with blog posts, texts, tweets, etc.) where she shares these sad feelings and attempts to hatch a plan to move on from him.

This book was reminiscent of Chloe Snow’s Diary because it’s a very real-sounding personal diary of someone trying to find their way in high school. Emma was not perfect, made a lot of mistakes, and inevitably realized what she was doing wrong. I like flawed main characters and I think reading her thoughts as they’d appear in a diary-like blog allowed me to sympathize a little more for her?

While attempting to get over Leon, she tries to date a few other people and even ends up in a relationship with someone. She’s very half-assed doing all this though because she’s not fully over him. It was frustrating because you know she’s making the wrong decisions, but you can see why that’s what a naive 16 year old could do in that situation. If you’re someone who reads YA books and then complains that the MC felt too young or made dumb decisions, don’t read this book. I really put myself in the shoes of my 16 year old self and found a lot to relate to.

The ending was a little too abrupt for me. It was a bit anticlimactic and predictable, but the obvious “conflict” you saw coming was barely a conflict. I would definitely read a second installment though; I’m very curious to know what happens next for Emma after the realizations she made at the end.

I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.

ARC Reviews: From Twinkle with Love, Dating Disasters of Emma Nash, and The Last Summer of the Garrett GirlsThe Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood
Published by Sourcebooks on June 5, 2018
Also by this author: Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft
Format: eARC (320 pages) • Source: Publisher
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One summer will challenge everything the Garrett sisters thought they knew about themselves—and each other.

Kat lands the lead in the community theater’s summer play, but the drama spills offstage when her ex and his new girlfriend are cast too. Can she get revenge by staging a new romance of her own?

Bea and her boyfriend are heading off to college together in the fall, just like they planned when they started dating. But Bea isn’t sure she wants the same things as when she was thirteen…

Vi has a crush on the girl next door. It makes her happy and nervous, but Cece has a boyfriend…so it’s not like her feelings could ever be reciprocated, right?

As the oldest, Des shoulders a lot of responsibility for her family and their independent bookstore. Except it’s hard to dream big when she’s so busy taking care of everyone else.

There are a few key elements of the synopsis of the book that immediately sold me: the small town atmosphere, summertime, various sisters, and working in/owning a bookstore. I saw someone compare it to GILMORE GIRLS and Stars Hollow, which feels right. I didn’t like GG and never finished watching, but it feels like a more updated version of that cute town, and also is set in Maryland instead of Connecticut.

The book centers around (and alternates perspectives between) four sisters: Des, Vi, Bea, and Kat. I was nervous about the four POVs because I would usually get them all confused or they’d blend together. Each sister felt super real and different to me though; they were all going through their own things and trying to find themselves. They were growing and attempting to change everyone’s expectations for them. Des, as the oldest, was overworked and underappreciated. A new girl blows into town to change how she sees herself. Bea is supposed to live happily ever after with her boyfriend of five years, but she’s cracking under the constant pressure to be the best / the person everyone expects her to be. Kat is trying to make her ex jealous by fake dating her bisexual coworker… you can guess what happens next! And finally, Vi is the youngest and trying to figure out if the girl she has a crush on is feeling the same way.

One of my complaints is that the book is a bit too topical. It was fun to read about super current authors, books, TV shows, trends, etc. because it’s relevant to right now… but I’m worried that it will feel really outdated in a few years. I don’t have other complaints really; I enjoy flawed characters who make mistakes and grow. I could understand why each girl acted how they did and I was supporting them through all the bad behavior, because I knew they’d work it out.

This was the kind of book and small town you don’t want to leave; there should totally be companion stories with side characters from this book! I would love it so much.

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