Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Listen to Your Heart

36127456West, Kasie. Listen to Your Heart
May 29th 2018 by Point
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Kate would rather be out on the lake on her family's Wave Runner than do anything else, but when school starts, she has to resume family responsibilities and buckle down for her junior year. Her best friend Alana has encouraged her to enroll in a pod casting class, although Kate doesn't think this is a good idea. The class has to come up with a theme for the year, and when Kate's is chosen, she finds out that she will also have to be a co-host all year, along with the self-assured Victoria. Alana also has Kate checking out Diego, on whom Alana has a crush, and when Kate finds that he works at the tutoring center where she takes her cousin every week, she spends a lot of time with him, talking up her friend. Add to this mix Frank, whose family owns a lot of property around the lake and would like to buy Kate's family's business, and things get complicated. Kate goes out with Frank, who ends up liking Alana, but Kate can never figure out if Diego likes HER. When the podcast must go live at a community festival, everything comes to an amusing conclusion.
Strengths: Like this author's Lucky in Love, this is a fun, light romance set in high school that is also appropriate for middle school readers. I loved that Kate had her own passion (the lake) but was investigating things out of her comfort zone (pod casting). She wasn't desperate to have a romance, and spent a lot of time becoming friends with Diego, thinking he was interested in Alana. Her family was around (cousins and aunts and uncles lived next door) but not intrusive. Very sweet, with added bonus points for a strong sense of place.
Weaknesses: I like that characters were from different cultural backgrounds, but it wasn't completely convincing at times. (Would someone from Hawaii be described as Polynesian? I honestly don't know whether or not this is the case.)
What I really think: I need to read more Kasie West books. I didn't have a lot of readers this year who asked for more high school-type romances, but when I get readers who do like those, they will often go through several a week, and having fresh titles helps. (Remember Simon Pulse Romantic comedies? They are now as old as some of my students. Sigh.)
Ms. Yingling

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