So if you are following me on Instagram, you know that I am reading Obstinate Headstrong Girl edited by Christina Boyd but as I haven’t finished the book yet, I’ll tide you over with one of these. I had thought this was a Non-Austen Read for Austen Readers, but after rereading my review-I realize this is closer to a retelling of Pride and Prejudice.
So without further ado-let’s get onto the review!
P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
So I like to buy books for people as gifts, especially those under 18 as they have more free time and I want to encourage reading. All my nieces and nephews know this and expect it.
This past February marked the 15th birthday of one of my nieces and I found myself falling into a problem. I haven’t read as much new Young Adult novels and I knew there that if I got her one from when I was her age she wouldn’t be interested. They would be talking of razors and sidekicks, etc-terms they don’t know.
My coworker and I had been talking of different books for young adults and she brought up Kasie West, that she supposedly writes clean young adult romances.
So flash-forward six months, I’m trying to figure out what book to get my niece when I remember Kasie West. Only West has written a lot of books, so I wasn’t sure which one to get her.
So I googled “best Kasie West books” picked a list at random, Awkwordly Emma: Emma’s Definitive Ranking of Kasie West’s Books. The number one book was P.S. I Like You and as it was on sale on Amazon I bought it. You know I cannot resist a deal.
The book order came with a snippet to read on your kindle immediately, which I did, and then the next day when Amazon dropped the book off, I was hooked enough to peruse it.
I started reading, just planning to check out a chapter-but instead I was sucked in.
Lily Abbot is a junior in high school. She likes reading, music, and creating her own clothes from thrift store finds. She is shy, but hides behind of shell of impassiveness and an “I don’t care” attitude. Inside she secretly lacks confidence.
She’s horrible when it comes to dating as she finds it incredibly difficult to talk to guys, as she freezes or rattles on.
She comes from a large family-older sister, two younger brothers, goofy parents who’s job earnings fluctuate they go from well to lean.
Lily’s best friend is Izabella, they have been friends forever, with only one black spot in their history together, Cade Jennings.
When they were freshman, Lily was doing poorly at P.E. in volleyball, with everyone lobbing their balls toward her. Cade Jennings, handsome jock only made things worse as he nicknamed her magnet-“as she attracts all the balls”, a nickname that continues to follow her around to this day.
So how did he impact their friendship, well Izabella dated Cade and Cade and Lily would go at it like cats and dogs, with Izabella having to choose between them and picking Lily.
It is two years later, and Izabella is now dating the sweet and kind Gabriel-but Lily and Cade still go at it every time they see each other.
Lily is frustrated with her family as she wants to enter this song writing contest, but finds herself without any time to herself to write. She starts writing in Chemistry class, but then is caught by the teacher.
Her precious notebook of possible songs being threatened at being confiscated, she then starts writing on the desk-just a little.
The next class she is surprised to find something written on the desk in response. This begins a friendship between Lily and her mystery pen pal as they write each other little friendship notes every class, hiding them under the desk.
At first Lily thinks it is a girl, but when she realizes that it is a guy she starts falling for him.
As she writs out her feelings, when talking to him, she lets her guard down and really becomes herself-no masks, nothing fake, the real Lily.
The same goes for her mystery guy-a guy who completely releases his feelings and becomes true to himself.
Lily does’t want to know who it is as she doesn’t want to be disappointed if it turns out he has a girlfriend or is anything less than the perfect man she built up in her dreams-but she starts trying to find out who it is.
But then she discovers it is her archenemy Cade?! Oh no, what’s a girl to do.
How can this amazing person she writes to be the same jerk she goes to school with? How could she have fallen for her best friend’s ex? Who is the real Cade, the letter writer or the school hotshot?
Sh knows she should give this whole thing up before he realizes who she is, before Izabelle realizes it, before she falls even harder…but can she do it?
So this reminded me of Pride and Prejudice meets The Shop Around the Corner with the way that Lily has a prejudice against Cade and Cade has his pride.
Both have to work through those things-Lily realizing maybe her disliking Cade had a bit more to do with her being jealous that Izabelle’s time being taken up by someone else and one nickname he gave her-and Cade letting his pride be torn down (in front of the whole school).
There is even a scene when Cade and his friend are talking about school stuff and his friend mentions that Lily is at the craft fair and is cute and Cade says she’s tolerable, but not handsome enough for him. (Okay not in those words, but that just flashed in my head when I read his response.)
We also have Sasha, a popular cheerleader, who is after Cade and does all she can to try and trap him into getting with her, constantly flirting with him nonstop, and even pretending to be his mystery letter writer. Like to me-that sounds like Caroline Bingley, and if she had the opportunity to pretend something Elizabeth did that Mr. Darcy found appealing was her-you can bet anything she would do it. She constantly makes fun of Lily in front of everybody and talks smack of her to Cade.
We also have the incredibly kind Izabelle and equally kind and adorable boyfriend Gabriel (hands down Jane and Mr. Bingley) try to set Lily up with a guy that is who I believe is Mr. Collins. Very little personality besides one thing, tries to go after Lily even when she makes it clear she is not interested, and their disastrous date-modern Collins to a T.
I can’t remember the name of this character, and I can’t look it up in the book as it is with my niece, but Lily has a crush on a guy she thinks is “cool” and “artsy”. He doesn’t turn out to be a cad like Mr. Wickham, but Lily does realize she didn’t really “see” him for who he really was. And he makes a promise that he will call someone up to see about fixing her guitar strings, and reneges-just like Wickham promised to come to the ball but then doesn’t show up.
As I mentioned before, Lily comes from a large family with two silly parents. While they love each other and treat each other with respect-they are pretty goofy and their antics of competing, along with other things, often deeply embarrass Lily. The same goes for her siblings.
In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth starts to view Mr. Darcy in a different light when he’s in his home-seeing what his servants say about him and seeing him more relaxed-in this Lily starts to think she was wrong about Cade being a jerk when she sees him in her home. He is the coach for her younger brother’s team and he speaks highly of him, he is much more relaxed and open in Lily’s house and with her family.
I loved the letter writing, as that always gets my heart! So in Pride and Prejudice, a letter changes Elizabeth’s mind about Darcy, while in this book it is a series of letters. Of course that part makes me think more of The Shop round the Corner, with Cade and Lily verbally duking it out in the physical world, while falling in love through paper. And then like how Jimmy Stewart’s character, Alfred Kralik, finds out the truth and tries to figure out what to do about it-made me think of when Lily discovers it is Cade.
But then Cade does a final letter to let Lily know how seriously he cares for her-P.S. I like you.
This was a cute adorable read, and if you are an Austen fan-I think you will love it. Or you can use it as the foundation to give a teen, the next one being an actual copy of Pride and Prejudice.
For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)
For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to The Colonel
For more books based on Jane Austen, go to North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley)
For more love letters, go to Love Notes: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
For more young adult books, go to Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements