Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Book Review: Love and Other Words

By Sara Steven

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly teen friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco reading books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

I’m not always a big fan of alternating timelines, but it worked well for Love and Other Words. The first description that comes to mind when describing the relationship between Macy and Elliot is slow burn. It’s a slow burn from their first meeting when they’re children, to the numerous times they’ve met as friends, to the black and white borders that they feel they might be able to blend together, all gray areas, into the space that divides them when they’re adults. It’s all a slow burn, captured wonderfully between the Then and Now.

It was such a unique concept, to have these two characters begin a special bond through the usage of words. It only made their connection feel deeper, made me feel even more invested in who they are and the relationship I want them to have, and when there is agony, I felt it even more because of their words. And I really appreciated the viewpoints through the years. The voice used for Macy and Elliot felt true to life, and I could see them growing up page by page, giving me a much better sense for the adults they turn out to be, and why they feel the way they do, why things happened they way they have. There are moments of frustration on my end, where I want Macy to relent some, where I want Elliot to fight harder, but it’s beyond who they are at any given moment. It was the right thing to do, and right for who the characters are.

There are supreme highs, and severe lows, the kind that make you feel sucker punched, and it made this novel all the more worth the read. It’s that slow burn combined with everything else that really keeps you hanging on until the last word.

Thanks to Leo PR for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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1 comment:

Janine said...

Sounds really good. I enjoyed the review.