Featured Review: Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West
About This Book:
Kasie West brings us another compelling read with “Listen to your Heart,” a story about lake life, friendships, secrets, and podcasting. Our main character, Kate Bailey, would choose spending all her time on the lake if it wasn’t for her parents insisting she go to school, her best friend insisting she check out her latest crush, and - well - the classes she needs to take as a junior. One unexpected class on her schedule is podcasting, mostly at the request of her best friend. Kate expects to get a background job in this class – maybe editing or research – and in a curious twist, it’s her suggested theme that gets chosen for the class, landing her in the host seat. Maybe talking to other people isn’t Kate’s favorite thing to do, but she’s willing to give this a try especially when her love of the lake and her family’s marina is challenged. What she doesn’t expect out of all of this is to fall for her bestie’s crush. He seems to be everywhere she turns up, and although Kate thinks she’s gaining intel for her friend on what he’s like, it turns out that she gets to know him better and better until she can’t stop the butterflies she feels for him. What turns out to be a crush turns into something more as friends navigate friendships, crushes navigate new love, and podcasting takes a turn when it’s time to record live at the Fall Festival. Kasie West has created fresh and lovable characters and her writing style makes it easy to sit down and curl up with yet another of her good reads. She touches on important topics like how to deal with bullying without sacrificing the integrity of her characters and their individual stories.
*Review Contributed By Beth Rodgers, Staff Reviewer*
'Listen to Your Heart' by Kasie West will draw you in and make you dread the pull of sleep if you are reading late at night. Each chapter transitions nicely into the next, weaving the story together and making it so readers feel a strong connection with the characters and their troubles. The main plot device of a podcast that the teens in the story are putting on in which they dole out advice to callers about everything from homework to their love lives makes the story all that much more intriguing.
Even though some of the story was predictable, it doesn't take away from wanting to know how it will all play out. Kate and her best friend, Alana, are two of the main characters, along with Alana's crush, Diego, and enemy turned quasi-friend (dependent on if Kate feels he can be trusted), Frank. Added in for good measure, and realistically so, are Kate's brother, Max, and her cousin, Liza. Each character has his or her own issues that play a role in the overarching storyline, and which add interest and development to each and every page.
High school is a difficult world to live in, and when the podcast offers to give advice, callers and e-mailers alike are not hesitant to try it out and see if their problems can be solved, even if by some non-professionals. Kate finds herself getting more and more comfortable in the role of host that she feels she has been saddled with at the beginning of the year, while that level of comfort brings her to the forefront of the school, making everyone think she knows what she's talking about, even if she feels her own life is sometimes in shambles and she doesn't know what to make of it. Along with Alana and the rest of her friends, she finds that sometimes truth is subjective, and those shades of grey can lend themselves to new and exciting opportunities that she would never have even thought to afford herself otherwise.
A story of love lost and gained, truth discovered, and advice proposed, 'Listen to Your Heart' is a definite novel to add to every contemporary romance lover's to-be-read list this summer! Anyone who hasn't read Kasie West before will find themselves eagerly seeking out the other novels she has published. The search is most definitely worth it!