I’m sorry I left this blog abandoned again, but unfortunately just before Easter my father had a stroke and I found myself helping him a lot in the weeks afterwards. I had little time for myself (or my university studies) and that meant very little time for this blog. However, thankfully my dad is a lot better now and with my first year done (!) I actually have time for this blog again. So welcome back everyone!
This is the eleventh review in my ‘Buzzfeed Recommend’ series in which I read and review all the books Buzzfeed recommended in their article: ’15 Brand-New Young Adult Novels That Are Just So, So, Good’. You can read the summary for that here.
‘A Love Hate Thing’ by Whitney D. Grandison is a YA contemporary romance. The book currently has an avergae rating of 3.38 on Goodreads, and I rated it 1 star.
The story follows Tyson Trice as he’s thrown into the rich community of Pacific Hills after having to leave his home, Linden Woods, after surviving being shot. Nandy, meanwhile, has spent all her life in the Hills with a golden reputation, and worries her parent’s generosity in taking Tryson in could change all that for her. Over the summer the two find the line between love and hate, passion and anguish is thinner than they thought.
“Mistakes are bound to happen, but that’s life—you grow and you learn from it. Hurt, that’s inevitable, and so is growth. You have to let yourself grow and be happy—you can’t wallow in this state that you’re in.”
I found myself rolling my eyes at this book more times than I care to admit.
The characters were annoying, and when they weren’t annoying, they felt like inflated stereotypes of themselves, and the whole thing just left a very sour taste in my mouth. I really wish I could have got behind this book, and even though I was sceptical I would like it before reading it (I am not traditionally a romance fan), this was still somehow worse than my expectations.
Unfortunately for this book, the two protagonists – Nandy and Trice – feel like nothing more than stereotypes and rather than the author use this as a way to break down those stereotypes, they just remained this way. The characters had little depth or arc to them beyond this, Nandy was constantly irritating and appeared incapable of making a decision and sticking to it, whilst also judigng everyone around her for the smallest things; compared to Trice who seemed to be a very surface level tough boy with a heart of gold, but it never felt like he grew.
The protagonists were so bad I often found myself excited when minor characters appeared, and cheered for the wrong romances – I so wanted Trice taken away from Nandy because they were not good together.
Their ‘romance’ therefore made little sense. Despite the author making sure we knew that these two characters had known each other since childhood and shared a deep connection, there was very little evidence of this, so everything felt very insta-love; and if that wasn’t bad enough Nandy couldn’t even decide if she liked Trice for most of the book! It was just not it. It felt like an ‘enemies to lovers’ label had been slapped on the romance with the intention of marketing, without clearly considering if it was a good romance – spoiler: it’s really not.
So, the characters were bad, the romance was bad, how about the plot? Kinda non-existent. There was a point in the book where I thought it was going to end as everything was seeming to wrap up quite nicely – but nope! That was some wishful thinking, because there was still a lot of pages to go and honestly the plot just kinda went back on itself. The saddest part about it though was Grandison brought up serious issues that had real potential from Trice’s trauma to Nandy’s classicism that appeared to feed into internalised racism, things were present, but they were just never properly explored or discussed, and it could have been good.
And the writing? I believe the writing has potential, Grandison is clearly capable of coming up with interesting ideas (see trauma and classicism), but as of yet appears unsure on how to execute them. Furthermore, the narrative often suffers from telling instead of showing and we can see this in how Trice constantly tells the reader he can tell people have a good heart, rather than the author show us this.
Overall, whilst I’ve kinda ragged on this book throughout the review I should stress it had potential, it just unfortunately never got there, and I really wish it had.
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