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  • Writer's pictureAnnika Pillai

thoughts on the english prep series by sj. sylvis

So I actually came across this series on TikTok (big surprise)––in fact, I came across a video of the author, recommending her book. So, naturally, I went on Goodreads to go and check the book out.

I’m going to be honest, I actually was not interested in the first or second book––a part of me was just dying to skip to the third book; I tend to not like the first book in series’ anyways, but I have such a terrible habit of reading companion novel series’ out of order, so I decided that I wasn’t going to do that, and that I was going to read each of the books, in order. Besides, sometimes getting tidbits of the future couples in books is the best part.

I’m still not sure how good of an idea reading the whole series was, since I didn’t care for the first or second book that much, but we’ll get into that.

All the Little Lies

The first book in this series, All the Little Lies, follows Hayley and Christian; it’s almost your classic bully romance. Hayley and Christian were friends in middle school, until Hayley was forced to move away due to her father’s death, and her subsequent transition into the foster system. Fast forward a few years, and she is suddenly completing her senior year at English Prep––a school that Christian rules.

I’m going to be honest, I gave this book only three stars.

In terms of bully romances, it really wasn’t anything special? I kind of feel like the friends to enemies to lovers thing in bully romance is kind of overdone, and this one wasn’t anything unique.

Furthermore, Hayley’s backstory was border-lining on ridiculous. I get that in dark romance, the characters having a boatload of trauma is pretty much a given, but my goodness, I feel like the author was throwing everything she could at this girl. Her dad was murdered in front of her, her mom was drug addict who didn’t care about her, she got put into the foster system, her foster brother tried to rape her, and her new foster parents were awful and abusive. And then she finds out that, the people that killed her father are after her as well! I’m not saying that none of it was realistic or anything, but I feel as though her trauma was just used as a way to make her character interesting, rather than being fully developed and recognized. I almost feel like S.J. Sylvis used trauma as a cheap way to make Hayley an interesting character, rather than taking time out to develop her character.

I also just didn’t like Christian that much? His reasoning for hating Hayley was unbelievably stupid, and he wasn’t that special in terms of heroes.

Overall this book was meh, and I gave it three stars.

Rating ➳ 3/5 stars

(tw: rape, domestic abuse, substance abuse, murder, death of a parent, addiction, alcoholism)

All the Little Secrets

The second book, All the Little Secrets, was not much better. This book follows Ollie, Christian’s younger brother, and Piper, Hayley’s best friend. I was a little bit more excited for this book, but it was also kind of disappointing.

Basically, Piper’s brother is an addict, and he gets into trouble with some bad men, and needs Piper to pay them off. Piper is unable to just conjure up that kind of money and pay Tank (the bad man) off, and basically needs Ollie to start racing for Tank, to win money for him.

Other than that, nothing really happened? I mean, Ollie and Piper kind of have a history, since they met years ago, before Piper started attending English Prep, but that was basically it.

I really hate to say this, but both of them were kind of bland, and this book overall was just really forgettable.

My overall rating was another three stars.

Rating ➳ 3/5 stars

(tw: substance abuse, addiction, death of a parent)

All the Little Truths

I basically read the first two books, just so that I could read the last book, All the Little Truths, and oh my god it did not disappoint. We got hints of Eric and Madeline in the second book, which made me all the more anxious to start the third.

You’re probably wondering why I was so excited about this book, and it’s because it features Eric, Ollie and Christian’s best friend, and Madeline, the mean girl, of the first two books. We rarely ever see an anti-heroine (I could get into a whole other post about how ridiculous it is that heroes can get away with be total assholes, but heroine’s are held to such a ridiculously high standard) in romance books, so I was beyond excited for this.

The story follows Madeline, the ex-queen bee and bully-turned-bullied of English Prep, and Eric, her ex-best friend.

Eric and Madeline used to be best friends in middle school, but then one day Madeline completely iced Eric out––she became a queen bitch, and started dating his best friend. The actual story doesn’t begin until after Christian (her ex and Eric’s best friend) knocks her off her throne, and basically turns her into the most hated girl of the school.

The book begins when Eric finds out that his dad, has been cheating on his mom with Madeline’s mom. He storms into Madeline’s house to grab his dad, and towards the end of this interaction, he finds out that Madeline had known that Eric’s dad had been sleeping with her mom for years.

Finding this out causes Eric to snap; he has had a soft spot for her for years, due to their friendship in middle school, and always given her the benefit of the doubt, but this is his final straw, and what causes to him to officially hate her.

I honestly didn’t think the whole bully-aspect in this book was anything serious; and it sort of ended 50% into the book. But oh my goodness, Eric was such a great hero. He was so sweet with Madeline and all of her trauma and kept being there for her, even though she kept on trying to push him away. My girl had some serious walls up, and Eric was determined to push through them.

I honestly adored both Eric and Madeline––and I rated this book five stars (and I don’t hand out five stars lightly). This was 100% worth the read.

Honestly, if you don’t care for either of the first books, they aren’t necessary to read; out of the entire series, the only book that I’d recommend is the last one.

Also, this whole series really did remind me of the Royal Hearts Academy series by Ashley Jade––if you are into that one, you might be into this one. I didn’t particularly love that series, but it was worth mentioning.

Rating ➳ 5/5 stars

(tw: rape, domestic abuse, death of a parent, murder, substance abuse)

All the Little Lies ➳ 3 stars

All the Little Secrets ➳ 3 stars

All the Little Truths ➳ 5 stars


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