Life, Love and Lemons – a YA contemporary read that left a sour taste in my mouth

Life, Love and Lemons – a YA contemporary read that left a sour taste in my mouth

Riches to rags is the premise behind this contemporary YA romance. Personally, this protagonist grated on my nerves from start to finish, but there were several favorable reviews of it on Goodreads, so maybe I’m just being cranky (I’m not).  While I wouldn’t purchase this for my classroom library and subject another reader to this entitled little snot, I am not one to censor the press either, so.  Here.  If you do read this, I would like to know your thoughts, so comment away!

When Bentley’s father loses his job, she can handle the cramped, musty apartment and her new job in the fast food industry, but she isn’t sure she can navigate the life of an average teen in her new school until she befriends her next door neighbor, Kai.  He isn’t like anyone she has spent time with before, but together they set out to make lemonade out of the lemons life just keeps handing them.  There is a lot of high school drama in this little contemporary YA romance, and the road to the end is paved with mean girls and a lot of over-the-top hard knocks.  While there was an attempt to elevate the story through character growth, Bentley’s enlightenment falls short of sincere.  An unnecessary extended episode where Bentley attempts to establish someone’s sexual orientation is likely to offend some readers as will the stereotypical and negative depictions of public high school students and teachers.  The attempt to depict the gritty realism of a life of poverty doesn’t pair convincingly with the unrealistic ending.   Personally, I found the book condescending because Bentley isn’t an example of a survivor, she is an example of someone proud of herself for adapting to a life most of us live on a daily basis.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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