Love and Other Secrets by Christina Mandelski

Posted September 3, 2018 by lenoreo in NetGalley ARCs, Reviews / 2 Comments

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Love and Other Secrets by Christina MandelskiTitle: Love and Other Secrets
Author: Christina Mandelski
Series: First Kiss Hypothesis #2
Published by: Entangled: Crush
Release Date: September 3rd 2018
Format: eARC
Pages: 280
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports Romance
Source: NetGalley
Reading Challenges: Lenoreo's 2018 Netgalley and Edelweiss Challenge, Lenoreo's 2018 New Release Challenge
Find it: AmazonB&NKoboiBooksIndieBoundGoodreads
My rating: four-half-stars


Star lacrosse player Alex “Kov” Koviak has it all. Or so everyone thinks. He’s real good at pretending his life is perfect...until he meets Bailey. The girl challenges him and pushes him and makes him laugh like he’s never laughed before. Their friendship is their little secret, and he’s happy to keep her to himself.

Between school, two jobs, and trying to get into NYU film school, Bailey Banfield has zero time for a social life. But then she meets Alex in her express lane at the grocery store, and their secret friendship becomes the only place she can breathe. She refuses to complicate that with more. No matter how charming Alex can be.

When Bailey decides to film outrageous promposals for her NYU application, she enlists Alex’s help to plan an over-the-top, epic promposal to someone else. Too bad the only prom date Alex wants anywhere near Bailey is him.

For a guy who seems to have it all, he’s about to lose the only thing he’s ever wanted.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Crush contains a cocky lacrosse player in over his head with his secret best friend, unexpected midnight kisses, swoon-worthy slow dancing, and movie-night cuddling that’ll make you ache. You’re going to want an Alex of your own!Each title in the First Kiss Hypothesis series is STANDALONE:* The First Kiss Hypothesis* Love and Other Secrets

My Review:

I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

4.5 stars — I don’t know what it was about this one, but I was just sucked in and connected with both Alex and Bailey, hardcore.  I felt all the tummy tingles, and even the agony of bad decisions and daily life things they were struggling with…as a result, the entire book being about neither of them communicating their feelings and taking a chance didn’t bother me quite as much.  It’s a delicate balance, that trope, and it doesn’t always work for me.  But I loved these two so much that my annoyances just got pushed down, you know?

Bailey was fun, feisty, and I truly admired her drive to do whatever it took to achieve her goals, and her understanding that that means hard work.  She also just felt very normal, you know?  Like I could really imagine her existing.  I thought her hangup about being poor and being a bit embarrassed by that, as well as defiant when someone judged her for it, was portrayed really well.  It’s not that she didn’t frustrate me with that, because that hangup led to her being blinded to other things going on, but it felt very human, you know?  How we see things from our own bubble based on our own perspectives, and we always assume other people have it better if their lives are different.  It was a really interesting and realistic trait for her to have.

I loved how opposite Alex was to Bailey in many ways — he had his own issues and struggles, but they were entirely different things from her.  And I loved that despite them being a bit opposite, they still really connected.  I thought Alex was actually quite adorable, especially with the way he crushed on Bailey and how that confused him…but my heart also ached for him and his loneliness from having absentee parents.  I thought that just like with Bailey, Ms. Mandelski gave us a guy who had flaws and wasn’t perfect, but who had a good heart underneath.  You could really feel the change in him, and how he wasn’t sure how to deal with it…and again, just like with Bailey, I appreciated his own growth story, learning to appreciate working for the things you want.

Seriously, they both felt so real, and they even felt realistically teenager-y even — like they had bad attitudes occasionally (especially towards their parents), and OMG the whining and dramatics…but instead of making them unlovable, they just sort of reminded me of what it was like to be a teen.

I ADORED the chemistry between these two — I had so many butterflies over their crushes on one another.  I did get a bit frustrated with both of them being chickens and assuming things about the other, but the tingly moments mostly made up for that.  The closet dance, the first kiss…*sigh*  GOOD STUFF.

While they didn’t take up much space in the story, there was still a good set of secondary characters.  The parents were kind of cool in that they were flawed, but not evil or black and white.  Same with Devon — I appreciated that author didn’t make her over the top bad, or a slut, or whatever.  So many teen books fall into those traps of taking the easy way.  I mean, she wasn’t always nice, but she was a normal level of bitchy.

I was a bit worried that Caleb was going to get screwed over again (for those that read the first book), but it wasn’t too bad.  I don’t want to give that story away, but I was relieved.  Although, I seriously want his story.  Like please tell me he gets a story.

So yeah.  This one had me up until 3am finishing it because my tummy was INVESTED yo.  I call that a success!

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2 responses to “Love and Other Secrets by Christina Mandelski

    • lenoreo

      Sweet! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! I really like the Entangled: Crush line of books…they’re just quick light YAs, kind of like a palette cleanser! 🙂

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