How hard can love be? by Holly Bourne – Book Review
“How hard can love be?” is a young adult fictional novel written by Holly Bourne. It`s the second book in her spinster club series, which is a series about three girls who founded a feminism group together and called it the spinster club. Aswell as feminism, the books also include variations of mental health issues.
Each book focuses on each one of the girls, this one was about Amber, the very tall red headed girl with an alcoholic mother and repressed emotions.
The introduction on the backside of the book:
So im spending the summer in CALIFORNIA, with the mum who upped and ABANDONED me – and I think im falling for a guy guaranteed to BREAK MY HEART. This is a SITUATION DESTINED TO FAIL.
All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even before she moved to America. But Ambers hoping that spending the summer with her can change all that.
And then theres prom king Kyle, the serial heartbreaker. Can Amber really be falling for him? Even with her best friends Evie and Lotties advice, theres no escaping the fact: love is hard.
After that comes a little comment from “Never judge a book by it`s cover”, saying:
“Holly is the pure, real, honest voice of YA”.
The book is written in a very good way. It`s a fast read but that`s not because it`s written poorly, rather the opposite.
What first confused me about the book was the whole “love is hard” concept. Because certain situations in the book turns out really good, what makes them hard is how Amber never tells anyone how she feels. But after a while I realised that the statement wasn`t only about romantic love, it was love for friends and family too, and when I figured that out I liked more and understood it better.
The most important characters in the book I would say are Amber, whose the main character, and her friends Lottie and Evie. Her mother and her boyfriend (Kevin) are also a huge part of the story and plot/plot twist. There`s also some other smaller characters that Amber meets that are worth mentioning, Winnie and (especially) Kyle.
I cant say I related to any character completely, but when Amber had her insecure thought`s I really felt with her, which is why it annoyed me how she didn`t tell anyone, but I know how hard it can be, especially since her problems comes from childhood trauma. I also felt with her when she was surprised a guy liked her and was nice to her, because they usually weren`t. She usually felt very awkward and lonely about those sort of things.
Amber lives in England with her father and her awful step mum, but this story takes place in America. Amber is visiting her mum after not seeing her for two years, and she`s going to work on a kids camp while she`s there. On the plane ride over she get`s really excited to spend fun quality time with her mum, but it doesn`t really work out the way she hopes. Her mother have forgotten a lot of the memories Amber kept close to heart, especially of them obsessing over Harry Potter together. Her mum also acts completely different, and it really strucks Amber when she finds out the only photo of her is in the guest room, it makes her feel like her mother doesn`t even care about leaving her for America with a new man. And when she tries to ask about her leaving them and getting married without her, Kevin gets really mad and shuts her down. However, she bonds with a few of the other camp leaders, Kyle being one of them. And atleast that proves to be a good expirience.
We follow Ambers views and feelings towards people and situations throughout the book, so it`s written in her point of view. Every chapter starts off with a page that says – situations destined to fail, and then a table of contents about stuff that happens in that chapter. Late in the book it`s explained that this is a part of a art project Amber is working on, but it didn`t really work for me, I found it kind of weird because a lot of them turned out great, but I think that was kind of the point? Anyway, it will be explained better in the book.
I found the book pretty dramatic, but that also made it really exciting for me to read. It made me feel about every emotion there is to feel. I got annoyed when Amber kept everything to herself, her friends at camp really tried to help her. I also got annoyed when she thought about all these things she wanted to confront and ask her mother about, but didn`t. To be fair she constantly got shut down. However, I got really excited and relieved when she finally did speak up, but it also made me feel conflicted because both her and her mother took it pretty strong. It took so much effort for her mother to actually talk, but when they did I cried happy tears for them both, I felt like they bonded over it, which was very good for them both. I also got a lot of emotions keeping track on the friendship between Amber and Kyle, especially since I personally completely fell in love with Kyle. I was really afraid Holly would write him to be a douchebag later in the book and ruin the whole thing, but luckily he was as sweet as hoped. Ofcourse it would be good to try and go away from the whole cliche YA love novel thing, but I didn`t care that she didn`t, because Kyle was just the most lovely character. Amber actually managed to open up to him gradually, her mother hates him though, but we will learn the reason for that in the book too. Kyle really went out of his way to help Amber and it was really sweet.
I like it when a book plays on emotion. In addition to that this it is a book with a lot of mentions of feminism and mental health, which I find to be very good and interesting. I might not agree with everyhting but it makes me think and challenge myself, which is always good.
I really recommend this series! Considering it`s a YA novel I think mostly young people would enjoy the read, but I`d like to recommend it to everyone because of the feminism and mental health mentions (especially the first book) I felt like this one focused more on love, but as always it depends on what each individual person gets out of it.
I think Holly writes her YA novels quite clever and original to a certain exctent. I gave the first book a 4 out of 5 and I thought I would give this one the same but I actually ended up giving it a 5 out of 5. Being a critic towards it and overanalyzing it I would give it a 4, but when I think about how I felt when I read it I just had to give it a 5, it was too sweet not to. I still haven`t decided which book in the series i like the best, we`ll see when I`ve read the third one.
I also found a quote in the book that has to be a favorite of mine so far:
“Failure is never getting hurt. Because that means you`ve not done anything you cared about”.
Thank you for taking some time out of your day to read this review! It means a lot 🙂