Once And For All By Sarah Dessen [Book Review]

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Once and for All by Sarah Dessen | Book Review | Young adult romance | RachelPoli.com

I bought this book at Barnes & Noble.


As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

This book is all about weddings, so having a subtle person throwing flowers into the air was certainly a nice touch. It’s a simple cover, yet it tells a lot about what the book may entail. I especially love the background color and, like all of Dessen’s books, the title, and author name pop out nicely and are large enough to be seen.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

While I haven’t read all of Dessen’s books like most people, I’m trying to catch up. This is the author’s latest book and I grabbed it as soon as I could to keep up with the times. It didn’t disappoint.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

I felt as though this plot was a bit cliche. Louna works with her mother planning and working weddings but she doesn’t date herself. She doesn’t really believe in love. Then her mother hires Ambrose, an interesting character. Of course, Louna is distant toward him but Ambrose keeps trying. I’m sure you can already tell what’s going to happen.

Still, Dessen did it right. Louna carries baggage from a past boyfriend which heats things up a bit.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I enjoyed all the characters. Louna made a great female lead and while Ambrose was annoying at first, he grew on me.

Louna’s mother was also a great character. She was the perfect mother figure but she and Louna had a good relationship with each other which made me feel good.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book is a decent length with some lengthy chapters. It all flows well and reads easily. It’s got a good pace and can be a quick read but you want to take your time with it.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

Dessen didn’t disappoint. If you enjoy a little romance, but not over-the-top romance, and like young adult, check out this book. Or any of Dessen’s books.

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“Everyone’s always in their own world, when it’s still an option.” –Sarah Dessen, Once and for All

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to chat!

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The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection by Kiera Cass book review
Via Goodreads
Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: Young adult romance/fantasy
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary (from Goodreads):

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

My Review:


I’m not one for romance, but the cover certainly caught my eye as did the title. Upon reading the blurb on the back I had a feeling this book would be one those “fairy-tale” type love stories and I guess, in a way, it kind of is.

It’s set in an alternate universe where Cass rewrote history to fit the fantasy antics of the story. And I have to say, what a world she created. The way the world works, its rules, and the kingdom is so well put together. I would never want to live there, but it’s a brand new place to explore inside my mind.

America is chosen as one of the 35 selected, but unlike any other fairy-tale she doesn’t want this. She’s only doing it for the money to help out her family. Of course, despite her not wanting to marry the prince, they become close anyway.

Most of the book was American trying to get used to “princess” life living in the castle with the other girls and the royal family. It was all interesting as we learned what the new life would be like alongside America.

Speaking of America, I had issues with her name. A lot of the characters have interesting names (one is named Tiny), but I just thought America was weird. Later in the book, her name is explained and it makes sense. Cass really thought of everything.

The overall plot is interesting and as the book was closer to the end, I was on the edge of my seat. A twist came along that I was not expecting. While I’m not a huge fan of love triangles, this one is working and I don’t know who to root for.

I loved the characters. America has a great relationship with her maids, which is nice to see. The prince has his own unique personality that is both prince-like and boy-like. America is headstrong and isn’t afraid to go after what she wants or tell it like it is.

Overall, this book is well written in a wonderful fantasy world with amazing characters. I can’t wait to read the next book!

The Selection by Kiera Cass gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“But he sat way too rigidly in his chair. He looked so uptight. His clean hair was too perfect, his tailored suit too crisp. He seemed more like a painting than a person.” –Kiera Cass, The Selection

Buy the Book:


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Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt book review by Rachel Poli
Via Goodreads

Title: Two Way Street
Lauren Barnholdt 
Genre: Young adult romance
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary (from Goodreads):

There are two sides to every breakup.

This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They’re even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation.

Then Jordan dumps Courtney — for a girl he met on the Internet.

It’s too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney’s heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la — this is Courtney pretending not to care.

But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot.

Turns out, he’s got a secret or two that he’s not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can’t get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other.

My Review:

For the sake of keeping this review spoiler-free, I won’t go into too much detail. But I had a lot of problems with this book.

The style of the book is really well done. We hop back and forth between Courtney and Jordan’s first-person point of view in each chapter. But not only do we see their thoughts, but we jump back in time as well. Some chapters are written a certain amount of days before the trip, some are during the trip, and then when we get to the end we see after the trip.

Courtney and Jordan are broken up, but they still go on a road-trip together to college. Jordan tries to be nice while Courtney is bitter on account they broke up because Jordan met some chick online.

The writing style is the only aspect of this book I didn’t mind.

It makes sense for Courtney and Jordan to be the narrators, but both characters were extremely annoying–more so Courtney than Jordan. Their best friends, Jocelyn and B.J., weren’t hot tickets themselves. I couldn’t find myself to care for any of the characters.

The whole story was predictable. From the summary, you kind of know what will happen at the end. I mean, it’s a young adult romance with two teens who are broken up, but still clearly have feelings for each other. Oh, and their stuck in the car together for a couple of days. Hmm, I wonder what will happen?

There was a scandal with both of their families. I figured that one out pretty quick as well. Let’s just say I know why the kids are so annoying. It’s because their parents are just as immature as they are.

This book was a fairly quick read. I read it in one day. But it got to the point that I continued reading just for the sake of saying I finished the book and get it over with.


Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt gets 2 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“Usually the hard stuff you’re forced to do makes you learn a lot.” –Lauren Barnholdt, Two Way Street

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