Thursday, July 28, 2016

What You Always Wanted by Kristin Rae {Review}

What You Always Wanted (An If Only... Book)
by Kristin Rae
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 29th 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
If only…he was the boy she’s been dreaming of.

Theatre girl Maddie Brooks has always had high standards for guys. But she has yet to find one who can live up to the classic Hollywood heartthrobs, especially the dreamy song-and-dance man Gene Kelly. When Maddie begins to carpool with Jesse Morales, her new neighbor and star pitcher of the baseball team, she’s struck by his wit, good looks, and love for his family—but a guy so into sports is definitely not her style. Then Maddie discovers that Jesse was raised as a dancer and still practices in the community theatre’s dance studio to keep in shape. Perhaps her perfect dream guy exists after all! But when it becomes clear that baseball—not dance—is Jesse’s passion, can Maddie find a way to let her dream guy go and appreciate the charms of the amazing guy in front of her?

This fun, high school theatre romance in the If Only line is for anyone who has ever wished for that impossibly perfect guy.
My Review: 4 Stars
Maddie is new in town and quickly befriends her neighbors, joins the drama club, and worms her way into the school and community. Theater is her life and her only true love (Gene Kelly) is dead. She's a very dramatic, yet likable girl. I love her easy calm in handling her life changes, even the surprises that upset her. I love her new friends and they way they're all so different, yet so similar. They really mesh well together. Jesse is her best friend's older brother and he's talented, good-looking, and full of charm. What's not to like?
I'm a little older than these characters (okay...a lot older...) and I'm still learning some of the lessons they learned. Even with good intentions, it's really hard not to judge sometimes. Understanding others is so much better than placing them in a box. Maddie learns the hard way that what she thinks Jesse's passion should be isn't necessarily what his passion in life is. Sometimes people have to learn things the hard way and it can be painful to go through and almost more painful to read about. 
There's a nice and realistic feel to the relationships throughout this story and the coming-of-age moments are a real process that progresses naturally. I love that these characters aren't perfect. This book took me back to the good times in my past and I enjoyed reliving those moments again. This is such a fun series that can be read in any order, as they have nothing to do with each other. I recommend it to those readers who enjoy good, clean, YA lit with some "if only" dreams thrown in.
Content: mild, clean romance (kissing); 1-2 cuss words. Clean!

*I received a copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Buy Link

About the Author

Kristin RaeLover of books, music, chocolate, and crafty things. My young adult contemporary novels WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN, and WHAT YOU ALWAYS WANTED are out now, from Bloomsbury. Represented by Marietta Zacker of the Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency.  

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