This Time It’s Real by Ann Liang is a phenomenal young adult novel. It targets a variety of teenagers, as well as adults. I am an adult and ended up loving this love story so much! It has the emotional appeal of The Fault in Our Stars. This book also has the Nicolas Sparks magic. There is humor in heaps at the beginning and middle. The ending still has humor but also the raw intensity that comes with falling in love for the first time. I have never read anything by Ann Liang until this novel. She writes well. I can see, feel, and experience the joys and struggles of her characters. It felt like they were my best friends. I wanted more of them. Even the small characters had been just as enjoyable as the main protagonists. There wasn’t much of an antagonist as there was the trouble stirred up from lies. Secrets leaks and lies tend to make an interesting read. I did not think the novel would have ended up the way it did. I was expecting the worst-case scenario. Yet, I was once again surprised by the multiple twists the story took.
Ann Liang brilliantly weaves a love story. One that is full of hope, youth, secrets, and new beginnings. I immediately took to the lead female character. She is easy to connect with on every level. She starts off as a teen who does not want anyone yet ends up needing more than just her family and one best friend. She realizes there is more to life. Her mom teased her but also supported her in the worst moments. They have a great relationship. Then, there is the hero whose parents are too busy to know their son. The son wants to become a famous actor. He already has a lead start but his mom keeps pushing down his talents and forces him to decide on a college. Each of these characters have strengths and their weaknesses made them stronger. A pretend lie to be dating each other ends up benefiting them both. Until their hearts grow too attached and the lies break everything they have. Overall, this is one superb YA romance novel.
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