What You Always Wanted by Kristin Rae [ARC]

Maddie has been in love with Gene Kelly from the moment she saw him dance. Too bad he’s long gone and none of the high school boys she knows can even compare. That is until she realizes that baseball star Jesse Morales grew up dancing. He may have traded in his dance lessons for baseball practices, but Maddie knows that Jesse’s love for dancing is still in there somewhere…she just has to bring it out.

25663575I’ve really been a fan of this “If Only” series. I’ve read a few now and liked at least two of them. I just like that they’re fun, clean YA Contemporary Romances. They’re easy reads with (usually) pretty likable characters and just enough drama and angst. Each book is written by a different author and has a different setting and very individual characters, but they still come together in a nice series of stand-alones.

I like in books when the main character has a unique hobby or interest. In this case, our main character is OBSESSED with classic movies and musicals (especially the ones that feature Gene Kelly). This book really put me in the mood to watch “Singin’ in the Rain”, I’ll tell you that. I didn’t always like the things she did as a character, but overall I feel that she was realistic and not too annoying. From very early on, I could felt that she had a lot of potential for growth and development. While she did grow some, I think the growth and character development overall in the book fell short–it was just a little too shallow for me.

Jesse was an okay love interest for me. He wasn’t as swoon-worthy as some of the YA Contemporary Romance male leads are (regardless of how unrealistic it is that a normal teenage boy would every actually act like that/say those things). The fact that he wasn’t as swoon-worthy made him a more realistic character in my opinion, but sometimes he’d say something that would really break the mood of the scene. I could see that being the point though. This whole time Maddie’s been drooling over Gene Kelly and the characters he’s been playing and Jesse makes a good contrast to that type of character.

Some of the secondary characters were pretty good and some were just okay, but I didn’t understand Rica AT ALL. She seemed pointlessly evil. Almost like she was there just to provide a sort of foil for Maddie. She says some really mean things, but then the reader is never shown why Rica is the way she is. Maybe we’ll get a book about her sometime later? I’m not really sure. But yeah, she was such a flat character.

Overall, I thought this book was pretty good, but I wouldn’t buy it–probably just check it out from the library. The dynamic of Maddie’s family was interesting and I’m not sure how necessary that subplot was to the rest of the story, but it didn’t distract too much.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: None
Violence: None
Smoking/Drinking: None
Sexual Content: Mild

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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6 thoughts on “What You Always Wanted by Kristin Rae [ARC]

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