Monday, April 25, 2016

ARC Review: Suffer Love

Title: Suffer Love
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Source: HMH Books for Young Readers for Review

Hadley St. Clair's life changed the day she came home to a front door covered in slips of paper, each of them revealing the ugly truth about her father. Now as her family falls apart in the wake of his year-long affair, Hadley wants everyone-her dad most of all-to leave her alone.

Then she meets Sam Bennett, a cute new boy who inexplicably "feels like home" to Hadley. Hadley and Sam's connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret about his family that could ruin everything.

Funny and passionate, Suffer Love is a story about first love, family dysfunction, and the fickle hand of fate.

My Review

Ashley Herring Blake's debut, Suffer Love, is quite the emotional roller coaster ride but in such a good and satisfying way. I honestly didn't know what I would think of this novel, especially because I knew off the bat that I wouldn't be able to relate to either of the main characters situations, but I quickly became so engrossed in this book. If you're looking for a bittersweet book that will hit you in the feels, Suffer Love is your next read!

Six months ago, Hadley St. Clair came home and discovered a horrible secret about her father. Attached to her front door were little slips of paper revealing the ugly truth about her father - that he was having an affair. Her family moved from Nashville to a small suburb to try to heal, but Hadley hasn't been the same since. She's been chasing after many of the guys in her new school just to escape her new version of reality. All of that changes when Sam Bennett moves to town. She's immediately smitten with him because the two of them just have so much in common. She also just feels comfortable with him but she can't explain why. But everything is not what it seems. Sam knows a secret about Hadley's family that could ruin their new romance forever. 

Suffer Love is just one of those books that I knew I was going to like from the very first page. Ms. Herring Blake includes a quote from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and I just knew that this would be the book for me. I loved all of the references to Shakespeare and his plays in this book, and Ms. Blake really encapsulated what it is to be a star-crossed lover in Suffer Love. There is a beautiful and bittersweet romance between Hadley St. Clair and Sam Bennett, and there are secrets coming out from all sorts of different characters in the book. I honestly think that this is a book that any Shakespeare lover could get behind because of how tragic and flawed that it is.

The characters in Suffer Love were really enjoyable because of how realistic they are. Not a single one of them is perfect, and that includes the two main characters, Hadley and Sam.

I don't know how people will take to how Hadley is described in the novel by friends and classmates, but I will note that I found it to be a bit odd. I got more than a few slut shaming vibes, and it would have been nice to see people come to her defense. Hadley also has problems at home because she feels like everything is ruined. Her once great relationship with her father has faltered, and she feels like her mother doesn't care about anything anymore. I just felt so bad for the girl that I wanted to jump into my book and give her a hug.

Then there's Sam who is so consumed by a secret about Hadley's family. He's literally letting it eat away at him during much of the novel, and I'm sure readers will want to scream at him and tell him just to tell Hadley already. I could literally feel the tension that he was feeling with every turn of the page, and I just have to give kudos to Ashley Herring Blake for creating such a compelling character. This secret also affects Sam's little sister, Livy, especially once she starts to get to know and enjoy Hadley's company.

The supporting characters, especially the two best friends, Kat and Ajay, were so so throughout most of the book. I will admit that I was not a fan of Kat and how she treated Hadley. I didn't think she did a very good job at being a best friend, and I was hoping that she would come to realize that she was being crappy early on. On the other hand, Ajay was a much more enjoyable character to read about. He was funny, and I felt like he really complemented Sam. I just wish that I got to know a little bit more about him during the book. 

Ashley's book is told in dual narration format, and I'm sure that some of you know that sometimes this format doesn't work out for me. It was okay during Suffer Love, but there were a few times when I did find myself thinking that I wished that Hadley and Sam's voices were a tad less similar. I didn't have to flip back often, mostly because of who and what the characters were telling, but there were times that I needed to flip back to figure out who was narrating each chapter.

Taking everything from Suffer Love in mind (plot, characters, setting, writing style, narration, etc.), I'd have to say that the book is an excellent debut novel. I liked that the novel was both charming and serious, and I really like how Ashley focused on telling the stories of two kids who are both dealing with the effects of their parents' infidelities. I would recommend this book for fans of Sarah Dessen and William Shakespeare. 

Ashley Herring Blake is a poet, teacher, and YA novelist. Her debut novel, SUFFER LOVE, follows two teens as they attempt to wade through an intense relationship complicated by their parents' infidelities. Ashley lives in Nashville, TN.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.