Monday, 12 September 2011

Book Review: Love Story

For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions--it's her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family's racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin's college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment? 

Then, on the day she's sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He's joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin's heart with longing. Now she's not just imagining what might have been. She's writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.

When it comes to reading I adore nothing better then a perfect love story. Sure I enjoy books that focus on adventure, supernatural beings, and mystery, but there is something about a good romance that makes me sigh in happiness as I reach the last page. Jennifer Echols' newest YA novel, the well titled Love Story, was just the kind of heartwarming tale of infatuation that I needed to get me through the slump of heading back to school this past Tuesday. Ironically,  the story even begins with Erin's first day of college in New York! Perfect timing if you ask me!

There were a lot of wonderful things I truly enjoyed about this story. Jennifer Echols writing had a great flow to it, and I found myself in awe of her sentence structure and general creativeness on several occasions. The characters she created were also easy to love, although somewhat static at times. I did not, however, find her main female character annoying at all, which is a rare occurrence in a lot of YA novels! Although I didn't always agree with some of the decisions that she made, I couldn't help but root for Erin to get the happy ending that she deserved. 

My absolute favourite thing about Love Story, however, was the creative writing assignments by both Erin and Hunter which were placed throughout the novel itself. Having taken (and loved) a creative writing class in the past, I couldn't help but feel like I was sitting around discussing my fellow classmates short stories along with the rest of the characters. I really appreciated the depth and meaning that Echols put behind the stories that her characters wrote, especially the one by Hunter about the physical and emotional distance between himself and Erin in his work entitled "The Space Between." While Erin might have misinterpreted it's meaning, I'm sure most readers will quickly grasp its deeper connotations.

Nevertheless, Love Story was not without its faults. One of the things that did bug me about this novel was the fact that there was a lot of "he loves me...he hates me...he loves me" going on. I know its pretty standard in most love stories to create some conflict by having the main characters get into several arguments that potentially ruin their relationship forever, but I got tired of it after a while. The ending also wasn't as perfect as I had hoped it would be. *Small Spoiler Alert* Readers are left wondering whether or not Hunter and Erin actually will get back together...although its implied that they will. Erin's relationship with her grandmother is also left unresolved, which happened to be one of the big side stories occurring throughout the book! *End of Spoiler Alert* I suppose Jennifer Echols was assuming that the majority of her readers would be optimistic and automatically assume that only good things will come to the characters in the future.  

Overall, Love Story is a great book if you are looking for something light to give you a mental break from the grind of daily life. While Love Story wasn't perfect, the positive things in the story well overshadowed any of the negative ones I happened to come across in my reading. This is the first novel that I have read by Jennifer Echols, and I definitely plan on checking out her other books in the time to come! 

Rating: 4 Stars


Jenny said...

Sigh, even with the faults it sounds like one I'll have to read.

TG said...

I read Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols and really liked it. I don't usually like stories that are *just* romances, but she created really strong characters. This one also sounds good; I really like the short stories in class plot device - I've been there, too! Can I ask, is there a good reason the grandma gives away the main character's entire inheritance or is the grandma supposed to be an unlikeable character? That move seems like a harsh over-reaction.

Natalie said...

Well based on the narrator (who may or may not have a bias) the Grandmother's is being unreasonable. I can kind of see how that might be true, and she is definitely made out to seem like an unlikable character. The thing is we never really get to see her in the book...we only get brief snippets of conversation that Erin overhears, her memories, and a quick view of her passing by near the end. There are hints from the author that the grandmother isn't as awful as she seems, but like I said in my review...we never really get any resolution regarding the grandmother's character.

Karen @ Book Light Graveyard said...

I've been hearing mixed things about this one, but I think I want to try it. Especially if, like you say, it's a great romance and the main character isn't annoying (I agree that there's way too many annoying ones in YA). Great review!

Ikhlas said...

I just read this as well (got a copy from Chelsey hehe!) and also had the same thoughts as you.

I loved the writing assignments...they were so fun to read! I liked how the story itself started off with one of Erin's assignments.

I also had a hard time with the ending and how the book ended. It was unresolved and abrupt.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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