“P.S. I Like You” by Kasie West
4 out of 5 stars.
What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery?
While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk! Soon enough Lily and the mystery student are exchanging notes, and lyrics, and even sharing secrets. When Lily finds out that her anonymous pen pal is a guy, she’s flustered — and kind of feels like she’s falling for him. She and her best friend set out to unravel the identity of the letter writer — but when the truth is revealed, the guy is the LAST person Lily could have ever imagined it to be. Now that Lily knows the truth, can she untangle her feelings and gather the courage to listen to her heart?
From beloved author Kasie West (The Distance Between Us) comes an utterly charming story about mixed messages, missed connections, and the magic of good old-fashioned secret admirer notes.
This review is going to be short and (hopefully) sweet. “P.S. I Like You” was the perfect summertime fluff, and I just adore Kasie West as an author for how she consistently delivers adorable, heart-warming YA contemporary novels. I love how entertaining and engaging Kasie’s books always are, and “P.S. I Like You” was so charming and sweet, from it fun characters to its fabulously adorable cover, that I couldn’t put it down! (P.S. I want the filter that they used for the cover shoot. It’s like the unicorn of filters, leaving magic in its wake!)
Lily was a pretty relatable teen character, and I liked how Kasie West made Lily’s family a key part of “P.S. I Like You”; there were no disappearing parents or lack of supervision on their part, and I appreciate how “real” the family dynamics came across in this book. It was refreshing to read about a high school girl who had boundaries and limits because she was underage, and I enjoyed the fact that Lily owned up to her familial obligations, rather than being the overdone rebellious teen who ditched her family so that she could do whatever she wanted. I also liked that Kasie wrote a more realistic teenager by having her character’s parents not buy her a car, or with how Lily had to babysit to get her beloved guitar. Most YA contemporaries have these rebellious teens as their stars, and the kids have cars and/or family’s with money, but somehow zero parental supervision. It was refreshing to see the other, more average side to YA contemporary that Kasie West chose to show, and I feel like Kasie approach in this book made me enjoy her character and her journey even more as a reader.
Besides Lily being a fairly relatable character because of her realistic (and average) lifestyle, I thought that Kasie did a great job of showing her character grow as an individual. Lily had some things that she needed to work through in “P.S. I Like You,” and although they weren’t insurmountable problems, they were realistic to some of the issues that high schoolers deal with in this generation. I also thought that the letters were pretty cute, despite the fact that Lily’s “Dear John” was easy to spot.
*Sighs* About Lily’s Dear John…Although the letters were cute, I’m not sure that I bought into the boy outside of his letters to Lily; they were sweet and all, but how he behaved in reality didn’t appeal to me as a reader. For most of this book the boy behind the letters was cute, but the entire time I was wondering how Kasie was going to make me like the actual Dear John, who I did not initially like in “P.S. I Like You.” I know he’d had a rough past and it explained a few of the things that he did, but I still felt like it was more of an excuse than anything else for how he acted during the first half of this book.
Despite not completely buying into Lily’s letter-writer, I did see some similarities between “P.S. I Like You” and “Pride and Prejudice,” although I do not believe Kasie West intended her novel to mirror the classic literature piece. Some of the pride and prejudices between the main characters and the initial rudeness of the Dear John character reminded me a little bit of those same themes in Austen’s novel. I get that this book’s premise was that there’s always more to a person’s story, and that sometimes our perceptions and judgments of a someone can be wrong, as was the case with Dear John. But I do wish that I’d had more time with the real Dear John that Lily fell for, because I liked that version a lot, instead of “seeing” mostly the jerk that Lily’s point of view initially portrayed him as. I guess my perception of this character was slightly skewed because I had been reading about how much Lily disliked him, even though I knew he was going to be the romantic interest. Maybe when I read this book again, I will like Dear John a bit more because I will have a better understanding of his character, and can then forgive his Darcy-esk style of hiding his feelings, when he actually genuinely cared for people. It may take me some time, but I can get there…
Overall, “P.S. I like You” was a really sweet, quick read. I liked Lily and the personal growth that she showed by the end of this book, and I appreciated Kasie West’s choice in how prominent a role Lily’s family played in “P.S. I Like You,” and it was refreshing to see a more realistic family dynamic in a YA contemporary novel. My only disappointment with this book was that I did not fall head-over-heels for the main guy character; the boy behind the letters took ¾ of the book to “show up,” and I felt like I was deprived of really getting to know him like I wanted to, because his letter were all I had to make me like him for most of this book. Other than not being in love with the Dear John character of “P.S. I Like You,” I did really like this book in its entirety, and I really admire Kasie West for her consistency in writing such adorable and good quality YA contemporary novels.
P.S. Do yourself a favor and end your summer on a sweet note by picking “P.S. I Like” and reading it. You won’t regret it!