December 9, 2015

Celebrity Crush + The First Rush of Love

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Release Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Random House; Crown Archetype
Pages: 240 pages
Source & Format: Bought; Hardcover
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Summary (Adapted from Goodreads)
In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.

Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.

Thoughts on Why Not Me?
I never consistently watched The Office, though I always cracked up at Mindy Kaling's Kelly Kapoor. So I didn't feel like I HAD to read Kaling's first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, when I saw it a few years ago. But the title made me laugh, as did the first few pages, so I gave it a shot. And I loved it! It made me want to be Kaling's best friend, and it was the start of my love for her. Since then, I've become a huge fan of The Mindy Project and anxiously awaited the release of her second book, Why Not Me?

I pre-ordered a copy and read it on release day. Thankfully, it was just what I hoped - funny and a little quirky but still full of wisdom! If I was comparing the two books, I'd probably say I liked the first a bit more because I found myself more engaged in the essays and laughed more... But that's not to say this isn't a gem, too! Whereas her first book was more about her childhood, college life, and early career, Why Not Me? tackles a wider variety of topics. I enjoyed this collection of short essays on beauty, work, relationships and life. As a fan of The Mindy Project, I loved reading more about the work that goes into the show. And, of course, some of my favorite essays were Mindy's thoughts on friendship and romance.

Near the end, Mindy shares some words of wisdom that I'll never forget:
“People get scared when you try to do something, especially when it looks like you're succeeding. People do not get scared when you're failing It calms them... But when you're winning, it makes them feel like they're losing or, worse yet, that maybe they should've tried to do something too, but now it's too late. And since they didn't, they want to stop you. You can't let them.” 
And my favorite quote? Well, I've included that below. If you're a fan of Mindy, I certainly recommend reading this book. I think you'll walk away feeling like you know her better - and finding even more to love!

So Quotable
“Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled. Listen to no one except the two smartest and kindest adults you know, and that doesn't always mean your parents. If you do that, you will be fine.”


Release Date: October 13, 2015

Publisher: Macmillan; Henry Holt BFYR
Pages: 272 pages
Source & Format: NetGalley; e-ARC

Summary (from Goodreads)
Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life. 

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

Thoughts on First & Then
Promoting a book as Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights gives me extremely high expectations - and makes it impossible for me to say no! And if you add in an eye-catching cover? Consider me sold! I loved the summary for First & Then from the moment I read it, but I was worried. I've been burned by books with "too good to be true" descriptions before, and I hoped this would be everything I wanted and more. 

Thankfully, I was completely smitten with this story! Alexa read it first and told me that she thought I would love it, and I'm so happy she was right. It took so many things that I dearly love and blended them in a way that felt realistic and refreshing. Devon doesn't know what she wants to do with her life. As a senior in high school, she's got some big decisions ahead of her but wants things to stay the way they've always been. Unfortunately, life has other plans for her. Her socially awkward cousin, Foster, moves in with her family... and then there's the frustratingly handsome star running back, Ezra. When will everything fall into place?

I thoroughly enjoyed this story! At its heart, it's all about Devon's growth. There are subtle changes over the course of the book - small lessons and moments that push her forward and pull her in different directions. I thought Mills captured the high school setting really well, and I found the coming of age aspects of the story very relatable. But my favorite part was the relationships. I loved the friendships, the family dynamics and the blossoming romance. It all came together in such an endearing way!

For me, I think First & Then succeeded because it wasn't a retelling. Mills doesn't try to take Pride and Prejudice and place it in a contemporary setting. Instead, she pays homage to the inspiration in small and thoughtful ways, which I loved. There were so many great Austen-related references that delighted me! I'm not a huge football fan (though I love Friday Night Lights), but I was pleased with the role it played in the story. It wasn't the focus, but it was definitely something that made the setting come alive. Although it's a relatively light and fluffy read (that occasionally needed a bit more development), I couldn't put First & Then down. I'm so glad I read it, and I look forward to more from Mills in the future!

So Quotable
"I feel about you the way they feel in those books. The way those guys feel about those girls that they don’t always deserve."
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review.

2 comments:

  1. Even though I'm not a fan of Mindy's show, I absolutely loved both of her books.

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  2. I really want to read Mindy's books, even though I've never watched her show! I do recall seeing her on The Office (though I didn't watch that one regularly either). But even without seeing her on TV, I've always found her personality endearing whenever I catch her on red carpets and interviews. I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed this one too! Planning on checking out both next year.

    Also, I'm so pleased you liked First & Then! It seemed like a very Hannah book to me ;)

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