A quirky love story for a quick summer indulgent read!
As you all know I got this through my UpperCase Box August crate. I was enraptured by West’s characters to the point where I read the book in about 24 hours. Which to be honest rarely happens to me. (Unless it was Thorne’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child script, I couldn’t put that down either!)
As this is my first review, I hope to be a detailed as possible with what I enjoyed and what I overlooked. These are my thoughts so if you happen to disagree please feel free to let me know what you thought in the comments section! I love discussions and it will all be in good fun!
Down to the good stuff!
So at first glance the book looks like a typical tween novel; even the summary on the jacket screams it. Once I got over my initial fear (caused by my twilight PTSD, which we will discuss another time), I actually genuinely liked this book. The writing to an adult not used to reading Young Adult fiction can seem a bit juvenile frankly, it is supposed to sound that way. West writes from the first person of her main character Lily Abbott, whom after being inside her head I adore as she kind of reminds me of myself. She is a strong and skilled heroine that makes you love all her eccentric ways. I love that she isn’t cookie-cutter. There were some instances where Lily’s character seemed to fade, but I’ll discuss those in a minute.
Overall the plot of the book was decent. Girl meets boy via mysterious notes. That is the basic gist of it. There is another layer of plot in West’s novel that correlates with the main one, boy and girl have a strained friendship. I say this because hate each other seems too strong, although Lily would disagree with me for at least the first half of the book. There are quite a few characters that West has created and played with but I am going to focus on those that mainly influence the plot. Those are Cade, and Isabel, although there will be some honorable mentions.
Also fair warning now, there is a potential for spoilers! So if you haven’t read it, go do so now before you continue reading!!
So here is the nitty gritty. Girl falls for boy writing letters during Chemistry class, boy falls in love with the girl for same reason. They are technically sworn enemies. They end up not hating each other and end up a happy high school couple. The end.
Okay, so there is more to it than that, but I don’t want to give too much away.
This is where I am going to get into some technicalities that not everyone will agree with me on but this is just things I noticed that years of writing classes has told me not to do.
Clichés, Ex Machina, and rushing. PS I Like You suffered from all three, as much as I don’t want to say it.
Let’s go over the Cliché first.
In all technicality, Lily is a cliché (oh my heart) and only because she is the typical outcast girl. Thank you, Stephanie Meyer, for making the odd girl a cliché. Insert sarcasm here. But this is the only reason she is even remotely considered a cliché to me. Otherwise, Lily would have never made it to this list. Cade is my next cliché character. He is a typical romance novel jackass, that the lead falls in love with after seeing past his flaws. He had some great back story, but that was his only saving grace. Sorry Cade, but you were a cliché I couldn’t look past.
The plot itself is technically considered a cliché as well, but since it was done in an original way I have decided to look past it. Most modern YA novels are a reworking of a cliché anyway, so as long as it is done originally, I will give it a pass.
Next is Ex Machina.
Now before I go into what the novel did that was Ex Machina lets go over what this means. The actual term is Deus ex machina, like Cinema Sins (Check him out here) I have just shortened it to ex machina. Deus ex machina means an unexpected power or event saving a seemingly hopeless situation, especially as a contrived plot device in a play or novel. Reluctantly West’s novel has quite a few of these.
First, the fact that Mr. Ortega just now decides to take her notebook privilege away from her, let’s say about two months into the school year. I may have been out of high school for five years, but this is unlikely. Especially the fact that she has to show him the notes after class, I doubt most teachers would request that.
Lily just happens to get placed in situations where Cade always is. I get it, high school isn’t all that big and some instances are unavoidable, but she happens to see him almost every day more than once? From what I can tell they had no classes together so that was unlikely. Sorry. Also the fact that Cade always finds some way to mess with her. Had they truly hated each other and were avoiding one another they wouldn’t have found the time to spat, I know he’s a bully and all but come on.
David, Cade, and Lily’s dream guy Lucas all happen to take chemistry on the same day? Two of which happen to have similar home situations? . . .
This happens a few more times with a character Sasha before and after Lily and her mystery guy get together, whom Sasha just happens to like.
. . . Ugh.
So I was able to look past these and others while reading because it didn’t ruin the reading experience for me, but now writing this review I feel bad pointing them all out. There is much more than what I have listed. Some I’m not listing because quite frankly, it will ruin the ending.
Ruining the ending is regretfully what my last section is based on. The last few chapters rushed everything! From Lily and her Mystery guy finding out they both knew who the other was to them getting together. It was all lightning speed. I get that they liked each other but with their history, I highly doubt that they would have been all PDA in public that quick. Heck, I doubt they would have been like that in private with each other so soon. I understand while writing it can seem like you need to create this picturesque ending where the heroine and her knight are magically together forever. But when it comes to execution you need to take more than a few chapters to flesh it out, heck you could take another book to do it correctly!
West rushed Lily into her relationship too quick, then a plot twist happened too quick, and then the ending seemed unbelievable. Which makes me sad because this was written brilliantly, it’s also witty and funny which made me love it. The pace at the beginning was perfect, West just decided to rush her ending which happened to leave a mild dissatisfaction behind. Had she ended it after page 296 it would have been perfect. It would have been a solid conclusion. Even ending on page 290 would have been good, but would have left Isabel in limbo.
So overall I enjoyed West’s PS I Like You, this review points out all the things that as a writer and a creative writing major I notice because I am trained to do so. These points didn’t make me like the book any less, but to a trained reader they can become distracting. I am also over-analytical when it comes to pieces, I would make a create proofreader for a publishing house if I do say so myself.
Despite all of the flaws mentioned above, I still highly recommend this book for a quick summer or school break read for anyone. I am glad I got it through a service like UpperCase Box, this is not a book I would have chosen for myself but I am glad I had the privilege to read and review it.
Do you agree/ disagree? Did I miss anything? Did you have another view? Let me know in the comment section below!