Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Buy This Book: Amazon
The sudden death of Layken's father put not only emotional strain on her family but also financial. So when her mother gets offered a higher paid job by an old school friend she takes it; even if it means moving the family from Texas to Michigan. Layken is less than happy to be leaving her life behind, the home she grew up in with her father, the place that helps her remember him and the times they had together. But when she arrives in Michigan and meets her new neighbour, the rather attractive Will Cooper, she meets someone who might just understand how she feels. They are alike in more ways than one, both experiencing painful losses and dealing with grief, both older than their years and both have a love for the band The Avett Brothers. They feel a connection almost immediately and when Will introduces Lake to the wonderful world of slam poetry she gets to see him for who he truly is, through his poems and performances he can show her how he is really feeling. But when a shocking revelation brings to light all the reasons they can't be together, they must fight their feelings for one another and the quick bond they had formed. But that's always easy to say and hard to do and along the way they will discover all the reasons why they need each other.
I have to admit that I almost didn't read this book, but I am so so so so so soooooooooo glad I did. When I ordered it in at the library it was because it had been recommended so many times and kept popping up on lists of great Young Adult fiction and I really wanted to see what it was like. When it arrived at my library with the UK cover (very Fifty Shades) and with the words "Tragedy and romance entwine in a fated love story" written across it I inwardly cringed. Oh no, I thought, I am about to read another badly written romance story that's trying to cash in on the Fifty Shades hype and I was fool enough to actually listen! But I was oh so wrong and glad to admit it.
The blurb and the cover had given me the impression this was going to be just another badly written, soppy, cringe-worthy, melodramatic romance story with more plot twists than a bad soap opera. But luckily for me this was none of those things. This was Amazing!
I feel this novel deals really well with the topic of grief, and I believe this is why I connected with it so much even though it was a romance novel and that's one of my least liked genres. At the time of reading it I was dealing with my own, very sudden, loss and this book actually really helped me with that. It made me feel like I could really relate to the way Lake and Will are feeling during this novel. They are both dealing with their own losses in their own way and it seemed like a really honest portrayal of how people grieve.
This is the first time I have read about slam poetry and that was another reason I really loved this book. After reading it I wanted to go online and just watch as many clips of slam poetry as I could find. The poems in this book were a great part to the story and really touched me at times. Will's poem "Death" I found really moving and it described perfectly how I was feeling at the time. It's such a beautiful poem and I just want to put a little part of it on here for you to enjoy.
"Death. The only thing inevitable in life.
People don't like to talk about death because
it makes them sad.
They don't want to imagine how life will go on
all the people they love will briefly grieve
but continue to breathe.
They don't want to imagine how life will go on
Their children will still grow
They don't want to imagine how like will continue to
go on without them,
Their material things will be sold
Their medical files stamped "closed"
Their name becoming a memory to everyone they know. "
My first experience with slam poetry and so it was interesting imagining how Will would perform this. The way it was written out helped me see what parts he would empathise and I could almost see him doing it in my mind. This book kinda made me fall in love with slam poetry.
What I really loved about this book what how much life Colleen Hoover breathed in to her characters. They all had such individual personalities to me and they could make me laugh or tear up quite easily. Lake and Will were such great characters and their relationship seemed like a much more realistic romance than those I am used to seeing in romance books (part of the reason I usually try to avoid them at all costs). It wasn't too over dramatic and it kept the "cringe" moments to a minimum.
I fell in love with the secondary characters in this book as much as I did the leads. In my everyday life I am absolutely terrible with children, they seem like a foreign species to me, when young kids try talking to me it seems like a different language and I am just awkward as hell. Not the biggest kid fan you could say and that can work the same with kids in books. Luckily for me, Colleen Hoover gave me two kids that I actually wanted to meet and spend time with. Kel, Lake's brother and Caulder, Will's brother were conveniently neighbours and in the same year at school so destined to be the best of friends, but I quickly got over that fact because I loved them so much. Both equally crazy, quirky and hilariously funny at times, I could understand why their older siblings loved them so much. Lake's mother Julie was also a great character and I really loved her relationship with her daughter and how that developed over the course of the book.
My favourite part of this story was the first night Will took Lake to see slam poetry. It was something I had never experienced myself and I was just as captivated as Lake was. I wish I could personally thank Colleen Hoover for introducing me to the world of slam poetry.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book and how much it got to me. It made me laugh, made me cry, made me feel weepy and made me deal with my own emotions to do with grief. It was the perfect book I needed at that time but a truly beautiful story that I am so happy I read. I can't recommend it enough, to anyone who loves a good romance or to those who just love to read something interesting, different and enjoyable.
If I had to pick anything about the book I didn't like it would probably be the more ridiculous story lines and the ending. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone who will read the book but I just feel every romance book ends this way and I wanted something a bit more original. But please don't let that put you off, it really was a great book.
This is a truly amazing book, that made me discover the wonderful world of slam poetry and made me see that not all romance books are trash. A book that I wanted to go recommend to people, to others who aren't so big on romances and tell them to give it a chance. I hope others enjoyed it and if you did I would love to hear your thoughts!
And Another Thing....
I need to admit that I almost missed out on this rather uber awesome book for the mere fact that I did not like it's cover. That may sound crazy but when it turned up at my library with what looked like another "Fifty Shades" inspired cover I really didn't want to waste my time on it. I had read Fifty Shades because I was intrigued by the fact it had over 500 reserves placed on it but it was what it was: a badly written Twilight inspired fanfic. That was a few hours of my life I will never be able to get back and can imagine myself on my death bed "My only regret was reading Fifty Shades".
It has sparked a surge in random inanimate objects on black backgrounds being the covers of books with words like 'forbidden', 'desire' and 'surrender' in the title. Here's just a few examples:
I don't think I can completely blame Fifty Shades of Grey for this as it's covers were probably inspired by the books the stories were inspired by, Twilight. They also have simplistic covers but it was the sudden popularity of the E. L. James books that seemed to spark all these romances, new and re-releases suddenly having almost identical covers. I look at them and think trash, which is a shame because I'm sure (well I hope) they are not all boring drivel.
So many of these book had popped up on Best Read and Must Read lists along with books I have loved and enjoyed that I even gave a few others a try in hopes they were good. Alas, they were not.
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire needs to just be renamed Disaster; as that would adequately describe what it is. The male lead in this book is a crazy, psychotic violent guy who makes Edward Cullen look like the least possessive jealous boyfriend in the world and that is truly saying something. He is like a crazed stalker and we are supposed to see the things he does as romantic. Beating his friends up for making sexual innuendos about Abby (the main character) even though he constantly says rather degrading things about women himself. Sleeps with her and quickly informs her he is her last first kiss, he is obviously hers forever and when that creeps her out he smashes his flat up. Wow such a catch, where can I find one. VOMIT
Thoughtless by S. C. Stephens is pretty much along the same lines as the book above; but at least this is titled correctly. Keira the lead character is infuriating beyond belief, I wanted to reach inside this book and bitch slap her as no one in the story had the good sense to do it.
And that was enough for me, I am officially put off by these types of books now. The mere sight of a cover like this and I want to hurl it across the bookshop/library regardless of whether I will hit some poor unsuspecting old lady in the face with it. They say never judge a book by it's cover, but sometimes you really can't help it.
Anyone else fed up with these covers and these types of books?