#FilipinoFriday Book Review: Plain Vanilla by Ines Bautista-Yao

OMG eeeee! The Queen of Philippine YA Romance (WHOA LEVELS!!) has done her magic again! And maaan, I feel so freaking happy reading this I feel like my face is going to split in two! I highly recommend all of Ines Bautista-Yao’s books if you want to feel delighted after reading a romance book or if you need a refresher from the huge selection of contemporary NA romances out there. Her books will always deliver—that I am sure of.

plain-vanillaAuthor: Ines Bautista-Yao
Release Date: February 12, 2016
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Despite her quirky name and equally quirky family, 16-year-old Tempest Juan knows she’s ordinary. After reading a comment on Facebook which likened her to vanilla ice cream, Tempest decides she has to do something about it or be forever branded as plain, lukewarm, and well, vanilla. It doesn’t help that the comment was made by Paco Lorenzo, her cousin’s cute friend (no longer cute in her book!). When she happens upon a book of dares, she decides to attempt each one, no matter how hard. This is her personality at stake, after all. But somehow, Paco, the cause of all this, finds a way to be at every dare Tempest attempts, confusing her and forcing her to question what’s really going on inside her heart.

Tempest Juan is the normal one among the crazy Juan clan. She’s pretty ordinary compared to her cousins Clara and Margarita. She was having fun blending with them though because of course, they’re family, and best friends, as well. So when a Paco Lorenzo, Marga’s best friend, came crashing along to their family event, she was kind of confused because what guy would hangout with a girl like… her? She’s basically a nobody but she didn’t mind the fun she was having with Paco’s company. Until she found out he called her a vanilla. The boring, not special at all girl that she was. With that, she willed herself to do things which were so not her to prove something of herself (that’s what she thought). But only if Paco wouldn’t always be around looking like a stalker.

Paco Lorenzo is one of the sweetest characters I’ve read in a YA. He’s been a constant companion to Margarita that others may think he’s a lost Juan cousin. Or they’re a thing. Only, he only has eyes for a certain Juan. If only that certain Juan could see that.

Tempest Juan. Oh gosh. I love the girl! Because plain and simple—she’s relatable and I love the fact that she’s a developed character. I was actually scared that she’d turned out to be a flat one but yay we she came full circle and am cheering on her until now! Let’s not forget Paco! He’s the sweetest if not the second most annoying character. Haha! But he actually made me smile so I guess he’s in the roster of my Sweet and Cute BBFs. (Let’s pretend I’m 17, okay?)

The secondary characters, Clara, Margarita and Alfonso, were also crazy hilarious! Hmm, I think I’d like Ines to write Marga’s story. She’s one of those characters that held my attention because of her frank attitude. I like her already!

Overall, Plain Vanilla is one pint-sized feels mixed with the signature Ines Bautista-Yao warm, comfy narrative, witty banter between equally charming characters and fluffing sweet romance that sure is going to melt your heart. It’s also fascinating because the truly Filipino vibe like the presence of family, even the annoying sibling relationship, crazy cousins was very evident. I love everything about this book! It’s light, fun, well-paced and so very vanilla. (And nope, that doesn’t even mean boring! At all! Read the story to find out! ;) You’re welcome!)

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