Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Year I Met You by Cecelia Ahern

Cecelia Ahern has ever since been included in my auto-buy authors’ list. Few of the things I like about her books are their unpredictability and diversity in terms of the plotline. Once I found out that she has a new book coming out, I anticipated its release date and immediately bought a copy from The Book Depository.

Here’s the plot description from the back cover of the book:

The Year I Met You coverYou have never acknowledged my existence, nor I yours. But you are a circus act all of your own and I cannot help but be your audience.

Jasmine loves two things: her sister and her work. And when her work is taken away she has no idea who she is.

Matt loves two things: his family – and the booze. Without them, he hits rock bottom.

One New Year’s Eve, two people’s paths collide. Both have time on their hands; both are at a crossroads. But as the year unfolds, through moonlit nights and suburban days, an unlikely friendship slowly starts to blossom.

Sometimes you have to stop still in order to move on…

Based on the premise of the story, I expect this book would be another successful masterpiece of Cecelia Ahern. At a glance, the story may seem simple, but it’s no doubt the content will have depth and meaning. And wow, was I right. Plus, this book offers a lot more than what I expected, taking me through a rollercoaster ride as the lives of Jasmine and Matt unfold before my eyes.

The beginning of the story already presents us with a drastic change that alters and challenges the life of Jasmine altogether. Forced to be on gardening leave for a year, Jasmine suddenly finds herself at a loss. It’s evident that work defines her life to the point that time seems to chase her as she lives at a fast forward pace. What happened to her somehow allows her to move slowly and she begins to observe the things she hasn’t been able to do so before. As she becomes more aware of her surroundings, Matt comes into the picture and that’s when everything changes.

The book starts off a bit slow, so it takes time for me to finally become engaged in it. As I read, I am unsure at first how the friendship between Jasmine and Matt would blossom. Readers could see Jasmine’s anger and hatred towards Matt even by just being a spectator. However, as Jasmine slowly becomes a participant, I can’t help but admire their unusual growing relationship.

Throughout the process of my reading, I’m impressed by Cecelia Ahern’s portrayal of all her characters. Each of them has their own flaws and imperfections that make them unique and diversified. Cecelia Ahern takes time to let her readers witness her characters’ strengths and weaknesses at vulnerable times. Their actions are unpredictable and unexpected. I also come to love Heather despite her condition. I like her strength as a person, proving everyone that she’s capable of more than what people think of her. It’s truly inspiring to see how Jasmine’s relationship with Heather grows as the story progresses, and how Jasmine’s relationship with others improves her as a person to become a more mature woman.

But what centers it all is the connection between Jasmine and Matt. Both of them walk different paths in life and yet they’re still interconnected. Banters and arguments aside, their friendship tends to grow stronger as they slowly know more about each other. That being said, both of them seem to affect each other. It has definitely been a life-changing moment for them. I even find myself enjoying their company as I walk through their ups and downs.

Overall, The Year I Met You is one extraordinary, well-written narration about a person facing challenges and overcoming them. Cecelia Ahern picks the right ingredients as she mixes in sufficient amount of plotline centering on self-discovery, familial matters, friendships, and romance. Reading this book will not just leave readers reflecting about their own lives and reprioritizing them, but it will also leave their hearts full and warm. Cecelia Ahern never fails to amaze me. I love how this book is creatively written as she likens the life of Jasmine to that of the passing seasons and Jasmine’s garden situation. This book is undoubtedly filled with metaphors and symbols. At the end of the day, one thing is for sure: the story will surely stay with me. I will certainly look forward to Cecelia Ahern’s next book.


Never Just Friends by Mina V. Esguerra

Mina V. Esguerra’s previous books did not disappoint me, so seeing that a new book of hers came out, I immediately grabbed a copy at a nearest local bookstore.

Here’s the synopsis from the back cover of the book:

Never Just Friends coverIt’s too easy to fall in love with Jake. Don’t do it.

Lindsay and Jake have loved each other (as friends) since their senior year in college, and she made sure they didn’t become more than that. The guy now known as Jacob Berkeley, star of a wildly successful TV show, was always too much for her. Too handsome, too many questionable hookups, too restless. Also sensitive, fun, and genuinely caring. She’s his emergency contact, his “zombie apocalypse buddy,” his holiday dinner companion.

They’ve kept up this low-maintenance friendship for years, surviving graduation, their new careers, her move to New York City to work as an environment consultant. But then, days before a big climate change conference, he shows up, with big news. Jake wants to pick up what he never managed to finish in college. He wants to save forests again, work in environmental research – and he wants her.

Don’t fall in love with Jake…Why again?

The book cover alone triggered my curiosity as a different side of Mina V. Esguerra is about to be revealed in her new masterpiece. I haven’t read any works by Filipino authors with steamy scenes in it, so reading this book would be a new experience for me. With no preconceived notions or expectations, I felt a bit excited as I anticipated how I would react to this book after finishing it.

I loved the fact that Mina V. Esguerra stepped out of the norm and explored a different setting. The main characters were based in America and Mina was able to capture its culture and lifestyle through her characters. From the moment the main characters were introduced to us, it was evident that they had an undeniable chemistry together. The attraction they felt for one another pushed them to reflect about what they truly want in their lives. But of course, as in every relationship, it’s not always perfect. Confused about Jake’s true intentions, Lindsay refused to listen to her heart. It was definitely a bumpy road they encountered, but in the end, I liked how the conflict was resolved, impressed even. This made Jake even more likeable and swoon-worthy.

Overall, this book just raised Mina V. Esguerra into a whole new level. Despite being just a quick read, Never Just Friends satisfyingly portrayed a love story between two people. Mina V. Esguerra surely narrated the story well and even wrote the detailed steamy scenes remarkably awesome. The character development of the main characters can truly be seen as the story progressed. Her inclusion of the zombie apocalypse in the story did not make it awkward or random. I was impressed that it fitted the story fine and served a significant part in the characters’ relationship as well as in the plotline. Never Just Friends was definitely an enjoyable read.