How Hard Can Love Be? | review

how hard can love beHow Hard Can Love Be? (Spinster Club #2) by Holly Bourne
Published: February 1st 2016 by Usborne Publishing Ltd
Genre: Contemporary (YA)
Rating: 5/5 stars – ★★★★★

Amber, Evie and Lottie: three girls facing down tough issues with the combined powers of friendship, feminism and cheesy snacks. Both hilarious and heart-rending, this is Amber’s story of how painful – and exhilarating – love can be, following on from Evie’s story in Am I Normal Yet?

All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even before she moved to California, got remarried and had a personality transplant. But Amber’s hoping that spending the summer with her can change all that.

And then there’s prom king Kyle, the guy all the girls want. Can he really be interested in anti-cheerleader Amber? Even with best friends Evie and Lottie’s advice, there’s no escaping the fact: love is hard.

my review

I finally picked up the second book in this series in an attempt to read the books I want to get signed at YALC. I’m so glad I did. I don’t know why I waited so long to pick this up because I absolutely adored the first book in the series, Am I Normal Yet? You can find my review of the first book here.

This book revolves around Amber, a British girl who will spend the summer in San Fransisco. Amber lives with her dad, step-mom and stepbrother in London. She has a tough time at home due to how her step-mom and -brother treat her. She misses her mom, who left the UK for California 2 years ago when she met someone else. Amber is going to the summer camp her mom now owns as a counselor to spend the summer with her mom for the first time in years. Of course, she also meets a guy there (and some wonderful friends too).

It was just such a moving book… I truly felt for Amber. Her relationship with her mom, and her mom’s behavior towards her, made me feel so sad. I’ve always been lucky to have an incredible relationship with my mom, so even if I can’t relate, I can empathize. But this book isn’t entirely sad. It’s also funny, cute and powerful.

I adored Amber. I think I fell in love with her when she went on her Harry Potter rant, on how they couldn’t get rid of Slytherin.

“What?” My outraged whisper wasn’t very whispery. “What’s wrong with Slytherin”?

I still love the friendship between Amber, Lottie and Evie. They are the friends I want to have, and Amber’s gratitude towards them was beautiful to read about. I also adored the friendship growing between Amber and Whinnie. Whinnie might be one of my favorite characters in this book, to be honest.

“Remember,” Lottie said, as we waved goodbye. “Be you. It’s all you can ever be anyway. But own being you. It’s a fab thing to own.”

I can’t leave out the romance in this review… Yes, I love Kyle. I don’t really need to say more than that. I love Kyle.

I like the way Amber finally addressed the problems between her and her mom, and how her mom’s behavior made her feel. I like the way she learned to be a bit selfish and look out for herself first. I WANT AN EPILOGUE!

The only thing I didn’t like was how Amber talked about Melody. Then again, she does address that she shouldn’t feel that way about her or talk like that about her. That it’s wrong. But she can’t seem to help herself. And I admire that. It’s not always easy to get rid of toxic thoughts you know are wrong.

We both dissolved into snorts of bitchy laughter. I knew it probably wasn’t strictly feminist, to bond with one girl by bitching about another… I’m sure Lottie would have some kind of academic term for it. But seeing Melody dance with Kyle had made me feel oddly weak. Pathetic? Of course. But feelings always are.


I adored this book. I finished it in one day and I can’t wait to read Lottie’s story. If you haven’t picked these books up, PLEASE DO. They’re a wonderful blend of funny, moving, sad, and empowering. Also: feminist club!

Review: Am I Normal Yet?

am i normal yetAm I Normal Yet? (Spinster Club #1) by Holly Bourne
Published: August 1st 2015 by Usborne Publishing
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Rating: 5/5 stars – a new favorite
Goodreads

SynopsisAll Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…

But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love? 

break

It’s apparently been months since I’ve written and posted a review. I’m a bit rusty -and I can’t quite believe it’s been that long already. Today, I’m reviewing one of the books that will most likely end up on my favorite books of the year list in December.

I don’t know where to begin when talking about this book. Not only is it a delightful contemporary read, it also manages to tackle some serious issues and topics while being funny too.

This is the story of Evie, a girl who is just about to return to college after struggling with her mental health. This is set in the UK, by the way, so college = high school and Evie is 16. It’s about her wanting to be “normal”. She wants to have the same experiences her peers are having, like college, parties, best friends, boyfriend, etc. 

First of all,  I want to say that this book is really funny. Yes, it deals with some serious topics. But Evie’s voice is genuinely funny, and I found myself laughing out loud several times while reading. I’ve started color coding the books I read with tabs, and blue is for funny moments. I’ve tabbed quite a few ones!

Then, there are the amazing characters. As I mentioned, Evie is the main character. She’s kind, funny, smart and such a good friend. And she just wants to be loved and accepted, which is something most people can relate to. She also wants friends who won’t stop hanging out with her when they start a relationship. Evie was diagnosed with OCD and General Anxiety Disorder before the start of this book, and she is currently on medication and seeing a psychiatrist. 

But Evie is not the only incredible character. I not only got invested in her life, but in those of the side characters as well. Specifically Lottie and Amber! I’m so excited the next books will be centered around them, because I can’t wait. Not only are these girls beautiful and smart and kick-ass, they also start a Spinster Club together. They get together, choose a topic and discuss feminism. I can’t tell you how much I loved that. The way these characters delve into the topic of feminism and challenge each other to think differently is incredible. I want to be part of a Spinster Club too. 

If you weren’t convinced by the amazing friendships and feminism in this book, the mental health discussions will win you over. This is the first book I’ve read about a character with OCD that truly made me feel like I could understand. Obviously, I could never fully understand what OCD is like, because I don’t suffer from it. But Evie allowed me a glimpse into her life, and it broadened my understanding massively. The book includes updates on her medication and therapy sessions, as well as the bad thoughts she battles every day. I was so invested in Evie’s life that I felt every emotion she did. 

I was lucky enough to meet Holly Bourne at YALC in the last weekend of July. She signed my copy, and noticed the copious amounts of tabs I’d left in it. I told her I had a different color for everything, such as green for quotes, yellow for inspiring and important moments, blue for funny and pink for relationships. She was so delighted to hear it! She is honestly the kindest person, and I want to buy every single one of her books.

[talking about mental health awareness]
I can say, with some confidence, that it’s gone too far the other way. Because now mental health disorders have gone “mainstream”. And for all the good it’s brought people like me who have been given therapy and stuff, there’s a lot of bad it’s brought too.

Because now people use the phrase OCD to describe minor personality quirks. “Oooh, I like my pens in a line, I’m so OCD.” 
NO YOU’RE FUCKING NOT. 
“Oh my god, I was so nervous about that presentation, I literally had a panic attack.” 
NO YOU FUCKING DIDN’T. 
“I’m so hormonal today. I  just feel totally bipolar.”
SHUP UP, YOU IGNORANT BUMFACE. 

This is one of the best books I’ve read. It should be read in every school, by every teenager. Even if you don’t really read contemporary YA, please give this a go. It will challenge you the entire way through.