Title: If We Ever Meet Again
Author: Ana Huang
Release date: June 30th, 2020
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
First of all, thank you so much to Xpresso Book Tours and the author, Ana Huang, for providing me with a free eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. As always, all opinions stated are my own. You can find the full blog tour schedule here.
If We Ever Meet Again tells the story of Farrah Lin and Blake Ryan; as both of them pack their lives in a suitcase and go to Shanghai to study abroad for seven months. Despite briefly knowing each other before, it isn’t until they’re miles away from home when they start getting closer and developing feelings for each other. This is the story of how they found love for the first time and how they learned it was wonderful, yet it can also destroy you in a minute.
The story starts off leaving you intrigued right away. You get a flash forward scene that’s very dramatic, and that’s how I spend the entirety of the book wondering what could have happened for that situation to take place at some point. That’s something I really liked, since flash forward scenes always have that mystery touch to them.
“Fate was the only thing that trumped time.”
The pacing of the book is light and you get hooked right away by the author’s concise writing style. One thing I really enjoyed from this book was how invested both Farrah and Blake were on their respective dreams (hers being become an interior designer, and his opening a sports bar). The author developed their dreams in a very realistic way, and I loved how part of the story revolved around that.
Another element that added a great touch to the story was the friend group Farrah and Blake were a part of. Yes, we also have another six (I think… I suck at numbers though, so I might be wrong) people included in their friend group that have a big, important part of this story. I loved the found family kind of feeling they gave, always so supportive of each other and bringing fun scenes that made the reading experience better. Olivia and Sammy were probably my favorite ones out of the group, and the only one I didn’t like was Kris. She came off as superficial and whiny, and I didn’t see any development to her character as the book progressed.
“Things change. People change. But they never change back.”
Sadly, the romance between Farrah and Blake, despite being swoon-worthy, was kind of cliché for my taste. I felt like their love didn’t bring anything new to the table, and while they did made me swoon and the chemistry was definitely there, I felt like I was reading something I have already read (and seen in movies) before. As individuals, I liked them both. I loved to see Farrah leaving her fears behind and pursuing her dream, and Blake definitely had a great development compared to his first scenes where he was descripted as this apparently perfect boy.
The one thing that I didn’t like was that, while this is a book set in Shanghai, you can barely notice. Besides some Chinese food mentions, you barely get to learn anything about this wonderful city. I think the characters should have explored the city a little more and actually transport the reader to that place. Adding to this, we quickly learn that Farrah is of Chinese-descent, but… we don’t see that beyond her last name. I got the feeling that her culture was kind of erased, because there wasn’t anything about her that might give the reader the slightest hint that she’s actually of Chinese-descent, the same thing happens with her mother, and with her friend Kris that was Filipina, but we only got to know around 70% into the book through a direct statement in the narration. These two things were the ones that made me rate this book 3 stars.
Despite leaving a bittersweet aftertaste in me, I got connected with the characters. I got invested in Blake and Farrah’s story and definitely want to know what happens with them next. Though I don’t agree with some things from this book like those I mentioned and some very spoiler-y thing Blake does near the end, I believe this is a mostly light-hearted book with strong friendship bonds, lots of fighting for your dreams, and a swoony romance that will leaving you wanting more. I hope I can read the sequel, If The Sun Never Sets, once it comes out.
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Ana Huang is an Amazon best-selling author of Young Adult, New Adult, and contemporary romance. Her books often feature strong heroines, sexy heroes, and Asian American characters.
The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Ana started writing stories at age five to improve her English skills (thanks to her mom’s encouragement). She picked up her first romance novel at age twelve by happy accident and never looked back.
Besides reading and writing, Ana loves traveling and learning about new cultures. She majored in international relations and her travels often inspire her story settings. For example, her novel If We Ever Meet Again was inspired by her own study abroad adventures in China.
Ana lives in New York, where she prefers cafe-hopping, exploring the city’s hidden gems, and binge-watching Netflix with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s over taking advantage of the city’s nightlife. She doesn’t drink coffee (gasp!) but absolutely lives for matcha and chai lattes.
That’s all for this post! Do you want to read this? What’s your favorite romance book? Let me know in the comments!