Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Review: You Were Made For Me by Jenna Guillaume

You Were Made For Me is a fluffy, contemporary YA novel that leaves the reader in a ‘feel good’ mood. Contemporaries are some of my favourite reads as they confront realistic issues which are present for many teenagers and adults alike. Something else that is great is that it is written by a Love Oz Ya author!

The book is focused on main character Katie and her dream of having her first kiss and a dream boyfriend. She is seventeen years old and embarrassed that unlike her best friend, she’s never had a love interest and feels like she needs to change this. One day, she and her best friend magically make her dream boat character and the rest of the book deals with the implications of this.
When I first came across this book, the plot instantly intrigued me. A girl creating her perfect boyfriend? It seems like something every woman would be interested in and I couldn’t wait to read it to see one, how it happened and two, what the issues arising might be. I wasn’t disappointed. It is a short book but one which the reader will fly through as it keeps you engaged, from start to finish. While it addresses somewhat similar issues to contemporary YA novels, it adds an extra element by having a character developed out of basically nothing. It was interesting seeing the dynamic between the characters change once this addition was introduced and how Katie and her friends attempted to hide him from their families (quite unsuccessfully!)

The characters in this book each differed significantly and their own traits were very distinct unlike some other YA reads. I liked how Katie and her friends were not part of the popular clique and were the ones trying their hardest to fit in as we got to witness their struggles and later, triumphs. Theo was probably my favourite character in the book; he remained the realist throughout and just wanted to help Katie, Libby and Guy rather than trying to shift the focus to himself. He is so selfless despite losing him mum previously to illness and being a bit of a forgotten soul in his family. Guy was one character that I struggled to get into. He was essentially a long lost Hemsworth brother as described by Katie and as he was ‘perfect’, had very robotic tendencies. He wanted to be everything Katie was, hanging out with her 24/7. I feel he may have needed some more depth but I think the author was going for these characteristics to make him appear needy so Katie would realise that being perfect, isn’t actually a reality. It also allowed her to eventually see that her crush at high school, Declan Bell-Jones, was an absolute waste of time!

One thing I did find I struggled with was some of the writing. The writing felt quite juvenile, aimed at characters aged in their early teens rather than late teens. This was evident as main character Katie appeared overly dramatic which seems to be a characteristic of younger protagonists. She was referring to kissing a boy as being a milestone moment for her whilst many other young adult books grapple with other issues at this age. I was intrigued that within scenes similar to this that there would be a random outburst regarding sex or something more mature, which seemed out of place considering the rest of the plot. The characters just needed to appear a bit older than they were portrayed to make it seem more realistic for the age group.

A real stand out and the focus of the book would be the themes which were addressed throughout. The overarching theme was that being perfect isn’t really all that it’s perked up to be and friendships trump relationships every time! I applaud the author for also including a diversity including a Filipina-Australian, referencing asexual and aromantic and also considering characters who were not the stereotypical size small. These are things which are starting to be more commonly found in young adult books and it is great to see more people being represented!

Overall, I found this a great, easy read which read quite similarly to a rom-com. It was fun, had a wide cast of characters who you either loved or hated and kept me turning the page to see what happened next! I’d highly recommend to anyone wanting something lighter to read to raise their spirits.

3 and a half stars

Thank you to MacMillan for providing me with a copy for review

You Were Made For Me by Jenna Guillaume is released in Australia on the 11th of August!

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