Friday, May 7, 2021

Five Star Friday: April 2021

Five Star Friday is my version of the monthly wrap-up. On the first Friday of each month, I will share my five-star reads from the previous month. Fingers crossed, I have lots of books to tell you about.

It's always exciting to find those 5-star books, and in April, 5 of the 32 books I read rated 5-stars. 

Fade into the Bright

Jessica Koosed Etting, Alyssa Schwartz
Five Feet Apart meets Tell Me Three Things in this YA contemporary novel about two sisters, one summer, and a diagnosis that changes everything.

Abby needs to escape a life that she no longer recognizes as her own. Her old life--the one where she was a high school volleyball star with a textbook-perfect future--has been ripped away. Abby and her sister, Brooke, have received a letter from their estranged dad informing them he has Huntington's disease, a fatal, degenerative disorder that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. And when the sisters agree to genetic testing, one of them tests positive.

Fleeing to Catalina Island for the summer, Abby is relieved to be in a place where no one knows her tragic history. But when she meets aspiring documentary filmmaker Ben--tall, outdoorsy, easygoing, with eyes that don't miss a thing--she's thrown off her game. Ben's the kind of guy who loves to figure out people's stories. What if he learns hers?

I expected this book to be really emotional given the subject matter, but it was also really uplifting. It's easy to get bogged down by life and things that don't go my way, and books like this give me perspective. I found it quite touching and beautiful. 


Kasie West
A lighthearted and swoony contemporary YA romance by fan-favorite author Kasie West about a girl who finds that a summer spent at a family resort isn’t as bad as she imagined…and that falling in love is filled with heartache, laughter, and surprises!

After being betrayed by her best friend, Avery is hoping for a picture-perfect summer. Too bad her parents have dragged her and her sister to a remote family camp for the entire summer. And that’s not even the worst part. Avery also has to deal with no internet, a cute but off-limits staff member, and an always-in-her-face sister.

But what starts as a disaster turns into a whirlwind summer romance as Avery embarks on an unexpected journey to figure out what she truly wants and who she wants to be.

This is classic Kasie West. Fun and feel-good with some depth. I had a great time reading it, and I really enjoyed the focus on not letting people define who you are and pushing beyond your boundaries. A great summer book.

In this rom-com about rom-coms, in the spirit of Kasie West and Jenn Bennett, a hopeless romantic teen attempts to secure a happily-ever-after moment with her forever crush, but finds herself reluctantly drawn to the boy next door.

Perpetual daydreamer Liz Buxbaum gave her heart to Michael a long time ago. But her cool, aloof forever crush never really saw her before he moved away. Now that he’s back in town, Liz will do whatever it takes to get on his radar—and maybe snag him as a prom date—even befriend Wes Bennet.

The annoyingly attractive next-door neighbor might seem like a prime candidate for romantic comedy fantasies, but Wes has only been a pain in Liz’s butt since they were kids. Pranks involving frogs and decapitated lawn gnomes do not a potential boyfriend make. Yet, somehow, Wes and Michael are hitting it off, which means Wes is Liz’s in.

But as Liz and Wes scheme to get Liz noticed by Michael so she can have her magical prom moment, she’s shocked to discover that she likes being around Wes. And as they continue to grow closer, she must reexamine everything she thought she knew about love—and rethink her own ideas of what Happily Ever After should look like.
My face hurt from reading this book, because I just could not stop smiling. I had such a wonderful time reading this book. I mean, how could I not. It combine just about every rom-com trope and included a storyline related to grief and loss. I was totally in my zone. 

Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love.

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read, a sparkling new novel that will leave you with the warm, hazy afterglow usually reserved for the best vacations.
One word - perfection. What a wonderful book! Friends-to-lovers is my all-time favorite trope, and Henry treated me to a rich history between these two. Going on all those vacations with them was like caramel sauce on my happiness sundae. I wrote a fangirl review I should be posting soon, and I meant every word of it. 

A funny-serious own-voices story about what happens when you stop trying to be the person other people expect you to be and give yourself a go.

Erin is looking forward to Schoolies, at least she thinks she is. But things are not going to plan. Life is getting messy, and for Erin, who is autistic, that’s a big problem. She’s lost her job at Surf Zone after an incident that clearly was not her fault. Her driving test went badly even though she followed the instructions perfectly. Her boyfriend is not turning out to be the romantic type. And she’s missing her brother, Rudy, who left almost a year ago.

But now that she’s writing letters to him, some things are beginning to make just a tiny bit of sense.

This epistolary novel really touched my heart. Erin was writing these letters to work through some issues, and she really found herself along the way. Aside from the plot points, the letters also give Erin a place to explore her ASD, andI appreciated everything that was shared in those moments. 

Did you have any five-star reads last month? 
Let us know in the comments!


  1. I am so happy to see some of these books on your list. I have a copy of Better Than the Movies that I can wait to read and I just got my hands on a copy of People We Meet on Vacation. I feel like I also need to read Fade into the Bright.

    1. Better Than the Movies was an absolute favorite for me. It was so feel good. Henry outdid herself with PWMoV. I hope you get to read all these books, because they were so wonderful.

  2. I definitely need to read Better Than the Movies. It's such a nice feeling when your mouth hurts from smiling so much.
    I need to check out Sunkissed! I haven't read a book by Kasie West in forever!!
    Genesis @ Whispering Chapters

    1. I love West. Her brand of YA contemporary is a nice treat. Just adorable and fun. If you like rom-coms, I think you would enjoy Better Than the Movies.

  3. Replies
    1. I would call it a perfect beach read. Hope you get a chance to read it.

  4. I hope to pick up People We Meet on Vacation this weekend. Nice to see you loved it!

  5. I'd say five 5-star reads in a month is pretty successful. Sun Kissed is one I could see myself picking up at some point.

    1. I got really lucky last month. Sunkissed was adorable. You know I love those feel-good, fluffy books.

  6. People We Meet on Vacantion is definitely on my list!

    1. Sophie, it was so good! I saw an interview, where Henry said this one was for her readers, and I want to thank her for writing such a wonderful book.