ARC Review: What You Always Wanted by Kristin Rae

25663575Title: What You Always Wanted (If Only, #8)

Author: Kristin Rae

Publication date: March 29, 2016

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages: 320

Source: ARC gifted by the author (Thank you, Kristin!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store


If Only . . . he was the boy she’s been dreaming of. The If Only line continues in this fun high school theater-themed romance!

Drama girl Maddie Brooks has always had high standards for guys. But she has yet to find one who can live up to the romantic, 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 theater dance studio to keep in shape. Perhaps her perfect dream guy exists after all! But when it becomes clear that baseball–not dance–is Jessie’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?

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

As a theatre kid in college, I was altogether drawn to Kristin Rae’s sophomore novel, What You Always Wanted. Theatre was a huge part of my life that I truly miss, and reading this book was like a trip down memory lane.

Fresh and engaging, What You Always Wanted is a novel that encourages readers to be brave to show his/her true self. The book thoroughly illustrates that the greatest starring role you’ll ever play in the show called life is being your own person and being proud of who you are. In relation to this, you cannot force others to be the people you want them to be. You have to let them shine the way they want to because they have their own show, their own life, to star in.

The romance is so cute in every way! Jesse + Maddie = infinite heart eyes emoji! 🙂 You know the excitement and giddiness you feel when you meet your favorite movie star or your favorite author in person? That’s how every #Jeddie / #Masse (or whatever ship name they have) seemed to me!

Kristin Rae’s writing emits truthfulness and a bucketful of smile inducing feels. She does know how to bring sunshine to readers’ lives through her words! This is one of the reasons why I fell head over heels in love with her debut, Wish You Were Italian. If you have read WYWI, you’d understand why I strongly feel this way.

What You Always Wanted is a charming YA contemporary that will surely paint a gleeful smile on your face. Perfect for those who love theatre and classic movies!



4/5 stars


ARC Review: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae

Wish You Were ItalianTitle: Wish You Were Italian (If Only, #2)

Author: Kristin Rae

Publication date: May 6, 2014

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages: 352

Source: e-ARC from publisher via Netgalley (Thank you, Bloomsbury!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble Book Depository 


Pippa has always wanted to go to Italy … but not by herself. And certainly not to sit in art school the entire summer learning about dead guys’ paintings. When she steps off the plane in Rome, she realizes that traveling solo gives her the freedom to do whatever she wants. So it’s arrivederci, boring art program and ciao, hot Italian guys!

Charming, daring, and romantic, Bruno is just the Italian Pippa’s looking for—except she keeps running into cute American archeology student Darren everywhere she goes. Pippa may be determined to fall in love with an Italian guy … but the electricity she feels with Darren says her heart might have other plans. Can Pippa figure out her feelings before her parents discover she left the program and—even worse—she loses her chance at love?

My review:

There are moments in life when we wish to do something yet our fears hold us back. Can relate? The book I’m reviewing on my blog today might be the one for you!

Wish You Were Italian is the definition of a worthwhile self-discovery. It is a tale that will truly inspire readers (especially teens) to face their fears, go on an adventure, and grab the opportunities that come their way. I really love it when a novel encapsulates everything that a person goes through in life. Not only do readers relate to the story but also feel that they’re a part of it.

With a fantastic cast of characters, Wish You Were Italian is such an enjoyable read! Pippa, the protagonist, is so admirable. Her transition from a girl who has a lot of inhibitions to a girl who takes a leap of faith is the most outstanding aspect of the story. Also, the decisions Pippa made in her trip to Italy led to her best chance at independence and freedom. Because of that, she is remarkable. Pippa’s best friend, Morgan, plays an important role in in the story. I commend Morgan for what she did to help Pippa come out of her shell. She’s the reason behind Pippa’s memorable and life-changing Italy adventure! Another character I loved in the book was Chiara. Her warm and friendly personality as well as her thoughtful advices for Pippa added dynamism to Wish You Were Italian.

The romance was lovable and satisfying. Okay, there are two guys in the book. One is named Darren and the other is Bruno. Although both guys are irresistibly gorgeous, I love *insert name* more. I was rooting for him and Pippa to be together since the moment they met. Sparks fly every time they see each other! Their love story is the epitome of magical destiny. 🙂 

Wish You Were Italian has the sweetest and most brilliant revelation that I’ve ever read in contemporary YA romance! So much swoony feels in that last scene. My heart was a puddle of melted gelato after reading it. 🙂 The final moment was totally a delightful surprise and I couldn’t think of a more perfect ending than that. SO. MUCH. FEELS! ❤

Kristin Rae’s writing is fresh, lovely, and engaging. What I loved about her style is that her words echo the earnest desires and genuine emotions of the characters. Oh and she has a knack for describing places beautifully! Reading Wish You Were Italian was like a real adventure in Italy. I appreciated the country’s food (gelato and pizza!!), people, and lifestyle. Seriously, my desire to visit Italy someday was magnified because of this book!

Before reading Wish You Were Italian, my view of bravery and self-confidence were completely different from each other. Bravery for me was facing your fears even if you’re scared. While, self-confidence was believing in yourself in spite of the doubts and fears you have in your heart. But then I thought of bringing bravery and self-confidence together to come up with an idea for those who seek inspiration in discovering themselves: You can never be brave when you do not believe in yourself. When we remember this idea, we will experience the adventure of a lifetime just like Pippa had.

Charming and uplifting, Wish You Were Italian is a debut novel that will sweep you off your feet. I highly encourage you to add this book to your TBR pile! You’ll thank me for it. 🙂




5/5 stars