Sue's Reading Corner

where YA books are reviewed


Mystery YA

ARC Review: This is Not a Love Letter by Kim Purcell


One week. That’s all Jessie said. A one-week break to get some perspective before graduation, before she and her boyfriend, Chris, would have to make all the big, scary decisions about their future–decisions they had been fighting about for weeks. Then, Chris vanishes. The police think he’s run away, but Jessie doesn’t believe it. Chris is popular and good-looking, about to head off to college on a full-ride baseball scholarship. And he disappeared while going for a run along the river–the same place where some boys from the rival high school beat him up just three weeks ago. Chris is one of the only black kids in a depressed paper mill town, and Jessie is terrified of what might have happened. As the police are spurred to reluctant action, Jessie speaks up about the harassment Chris kept quiet about and the danger he could be in. But there are people in Jessie’s town who don’t like the story she tells, who are infuriated by the idea that a boy like Chris would be a target of violence. They smear Chris’s character and Jessie begins receiving frightening threats. Every Friday since they started dating, Chris has written Jessie a love letter. Now Jessie is writing Chris a letter of her own to tell him everything that’s happening while he’s gone. As Jessie searches for answers, she must face her fears, her guilt, and a past more complicated than she would like to admit.

Sourced from Goodreads



My rating:


Hi, everyone! I’m back with another review! Today’s review is on This is Not a Love Letter by Kim Purcell. Now, when I started this book, I did try to keep my expectations low and it worked! I think I ended up enjoying my reading experience a whole lot more because of this!

First of all, I really liked the author’s writing style. The story was told in Jessie’s POV, focusing on the current situation of her boyfriend Chris missing. But it also used a lot of flashbacks to expand on their relationship, all their ups and downs, and how it might have related to the present. It made the story a lot more interesting than if it were written in a chronological manner. Not only did readers get to learn more about Jessie and Chris, but the flashbacks also served as a way to extend the story. In my opinion, the story would have been either finished much more quickly or stretched out if the flashbacks weren’t embedded  in the story.

Then there were the characters. To be honest, I actually liked how the author portrayed the characters within the novel. They were realistic with a capital R. You may not agree with everything they say or do, but that’s what make them the round characters they are. The point is that you understand these character’s motives and empathize with them, which I did for almost all of the characters (there were just a few characters that I didn’t empathize with). The only character that I didn’t get a sense of that roundness from was Tamara, who filled the role of mean girl for the novel. The author also used these characters to talk about relevant issues regarding racial prejudice, stereotyping, bullying and mental illness.

Overall, I thought that This is Not a Love Letter by Kim Purcell was a pretty good read. I’d recommend it to anyone wanting to read something within the realm of mystery. For those who are interested in This is Not a Love Letter, the novel comes out on January 30th, 2018. Oh, and if anyone has comments or questions, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

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


Review: Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

My rating: 

(3.75 stars)

Hello, everyone! I hope you’ve all had a restful weekend! 🙂 I’m back with another review, this one being on Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly. I actually read this book a while ago, but I’ve been meaning to review it, especially since I plan on reading its sequel… It’s about Zoe, who recently moved to your run-of-the-mill town after her mom’s divorce. It might have derailed her plan for getting into Princeton, but as long as she got out of town into a prestigious boarding school, she should have no trouble  getting back on track. But then she met Digby, amateur detective, who had a knack for getting her into a lot of trouble. Together, they investigate and discover secrets that might have been best left alone.

Well, first of all, I’ve got to say that this book reminded me a lot of Sherlock. Probably because when I read this book, I was anticipating the BBC version Sherlock by watching the episodes over and over again until it came on. In fact, the day I finished reading this book was the day before Sherlock was coming on. And I was anticipating season 4 most anxiously… That being said, I saw lots of parallels between Digby and Sherlock that made me think that this book was inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic. But that wasn’t the only enjoyable thing about the book. I really liked how suspenseful it was. I literally felt myself panicking for a character because I got to relate with her. Now, this didn’t always happen, with her being less relatable in the beginning, but by the end, I felt as if I knew and liked Zoe as a character.

But God, I liked Digby a whole lot more. He was basically the whole interesting side of the story. Her life was pretty much uneventful until she moved with her mom after the divorce to where Digby showed up. He was witty, made solid arguments, had this whole reckless thing down to a T and then there was the mystery surrounding him and his family. Due to the ending involving both these characters, I felt as if the first book was setting up the scene, and that hopefully the second book, Trouble Makes a Comeback, will be much more exciting. My only problem with this book was that it had a slow start in being exciting. Sure, there were a few good moments here and there in the beginning, but once it got to the nitty gritty of the situation, I got really invested. So that’s why I’d give this book a 3.75 star rating.

There are so many unanswered questions that I’m hoping to return to once I start reading Trouble Makes a Comeback, the sequel to Trouble is a Friend of Mine! Hopefully, Zoe’s character development will grow even more within it! Well, that’s all I have to say about Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Take care, and keep reading!

– Sumaya


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