Title: P.S. I Like You
Author: Kasie West
Length: 7 hours
Narrator: Shannon McManus
Publisher: Ideal Audiobooks
Original Publication Date: 2016
Genre(s): Young adult, Contemporary, Romance
Lilly has a lot on her plate—school, a crazy family, helping her mom sell jewelry, trying to (finally) write the entire lyrics to at least one song, trying to get the guy who probably doesn’t even know her name to notice her…just to name a few. Though the hardest part of her day is probably trying to pay attention in Chemistry class. She used to write song lyrics in her writing notebook, but her teacher busted her and banned the notebook… Instead, she scrawls a line of a song stuck in her head onto her desk absentmindedly. To her shock, the next day, she discovers someone else has continued the lyrics below hers. Desktop song lyrics turn into long, personal, handwritten notes stashed underneath the desk each day. Lilly has no idea who her mystery pen pal could be, and when she starts falling for him, she’s not sure she wants to know. Anonymity is safe. Everything else? Not so much.
Before I go on…can we please not judge me? I know this is a cutesy, fluffy, YA romance. I know I typically stay far, far away from theses types of cliché, bubblegum-smile stories. I know. But sometimes…you just need a little fluff in your life. And I’ve heard Kasie West is one of the best at writing fluff. So, I spent the past 2 work days listening to fluff. And it made me smile a lot. So, sue me.
The novel is told in first-person POV from Lilly’s perspective. Before reading the novel, I assumed I was going to hate Lilly. Judging by the cover (don’t act like you don’t do it, too!), I assumed the characters were going to be perfect, pretty, popular blonde girls that make fun of everyone else at school. But while the novel is definitely cliché, it’s in a different respect. Lilly is actually kind of a mess. She’s ridiculously awkward and blurts out the most embarrassing things all the time. I get secondhand embarrassment easily, so I found myself internally cringing at some of the things Lilly did or said. She was endearing, though, and I mostly liked her. She was a fun narrator and I’m glad I didn’t hate her like I thought I would.
A big part of the intrigue of this novel is the question of the letter writer. Who is the mysterious pen pal? Well, this novel isn’t a mystery. And it probably won’t come as a surprise who it is. But I also don’t want to spoil anything for anybody wanting to go in blind. So, if you don’t want to know who the letter writer is, I’ll just say this: skip the next paragraph, because I will mention who it is. And I will be talking about my problems with the novel in regards to that person.
***Skip this paragraph if you don’t want any spoilers whatsoever.***
Okay. So. It really isn’t meant to be this huge secret. It’s called dramatic irony. The characters clearly don’t know what’s going on, but we as the readers do. Right away, you’ll probably assume the letter writer is Cade. The book’s synopsis basically sets us up knowing Lilly isn’t exactly happy about the identity of her pen pal, so when we find out how much Lilly hates Cade, it’s clear he’s the one. I do have an issue with this, though. As soon as I gathered that Cade was the letter writer, I was a little annoyed. I was hoping this wouldn’t be another story about bully-turned-dreamboat. But it WAS. Kind of. I get it—bullies bully because they have a rough home life, bad childhood experiences, etc.; however, I do not think that excuses their behavior at all. We all have rough lives—some more than others—but the difference it, not all of us choose to be assholes because of it. It’s not an excuse. It will never be an excuse. Even Lilly says, when she finds out it’s Cade, something about him being old enough to not treat people like trash regardless of a crappy home life. I was all YAS GIRL, till I remembered this was a YA romance and she’s probably going to end up with him anyway. To me, Cade and Lilly’s banter always seemed just that: banter. I didn’t feel like Cade was truly a bully, but if he was, then Lilly was also guilty of it. So, I don’t know. To me, I understand having a crappy home life and using humor and a fake smile to live your life. I understand Cade never meant to hurt Lilly’s feelings or make her feel the way she did. On the other hand, though, he was acting immaturely and fake (even to the people who cared about him), and despite not meaning to be rude, he was. That’s the bottom line. I guess in the end they talked it out and made peace and all that, but I still had my reservations about the continuing of the ‘boys pick on you because they like you’ trope. I’d like to throw that in the trash one of these days.
So, other than the stuff mentioned in the previous paragraph, this was a fun, cute novel to get my mind off the bad stuff in my own life. It made me smile, and that’s what matters. Sometimes, you just need a little fluff, ya know? If you’re in the mood for a silly little romance, I think West did a good job with this one. You’re going to have some issues with it, but mostly, just read it to enjoy it.