Review: What You Always Wanted by Kristin Rae

What You Always Wanted 
by Kristin Rae
pub 3/29/16 by Bloomsbury
YA - Contemporary
Received ARC from pub
This was hands-down the cutest book I’ve read so far this year! I’ve been in an on-and-off book slump so What You Always Wanted came at a really good time. It seriously made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Once I started, I didn’t want to stop until I finished. (I even skipped one of my shows to do so!) It’s about Maddie Brooks who loves all things related to theatre, old-fashioned romance and Gene Kelly (her dream guy!). Maddie and her family have just moved to town but luckily, she quickly befriends her neighbors, the Morales family. She becomes fast friends with the daughter Angela and fast-something with Jesse who’s basically Mr. Popular and all-star baseball player. (Oh and super cute too, of course.)

What You Always Wanted focuses on Maddie figuring out where she fits in and the growing feelings between her and Jesse. I sympathized with Maddie’s strong desire to find true friendships and I felt so happy for her during all the scenes with Angela and the other friends she makes in her drama class. But my favorite quality about her is probably her love of classic movies (a girl after my own heart!). Her penchant for romanticizing everything and gushing over Gene Kelly made me laugh out loud multiple times during the book. It’s silly and girly and I adored it! But given all her romantic notions, she’s got unrealistic ideas about what the perfect guy is and to her, Jesse isn’t it because he’s a jock. But then she sees his kindness, humor, cuteness and as if that weren't enough, she finds out he was raised as a dancer and still practices. The way their relationship progresses is really sweet but I liked the important, very real lesson behind it — that what’s real and right in front of you can be better than any fantasy.

(No) reservations
None! I loved everything about it. Both characters, especially Maddie, do a lot of growing up, which I appreciated. And did I mention it’s adorable?

Do I recommend?
Yes! This is my second Kristin Rae book and it’s safe to say I’m a fan. I really enjoy her writing and her characters. Can’t wait to see what she does next!

Collaborative feature with Alexa! 

What's your favorite classic movie?
My favorite classic movie is Roman Holiday by Audrey Hepburn. Which shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me! My real favorite Audrey movie is Two Takes the Road but I’m not sure if that’s really considered a classic. On the other hand, I definitely think Roman Holiday is considered one. And if you’re never seen any of her movies, that’s the one I would start with.


  1. Isn't it the best when you find one of those adorable books that just make you feel happy?? I love finding those books! I wasn't sure if this book was part of a series that you have to read all the books... but I'm guessing no since you didn't seem to have any issues with not knowing what was going on. Good to know!!

  2. I knew you were going to pick an Audrey movie, but I wasn't sure if you were going to pick Two for the Road or Roman Holiday ;) And I absolutely agree about What You Always Wanted. It's such a cute contemporary YA read!

  3. This sounds really good! Adding it to my TBR!


with love,