Wednesday, August 3, 2016

How Hard Can Love Be?

Title: How Hard Can Love Be?

Author: Holly Bourne

First Published: February 1st 2016

Series: Normal #2

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Available As: Hardcover, paperback, ebook

Pages: 480

My Copy: Physical Copy

My Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Goodreads Summary
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.

I remember reading Am I Normal Yet? earlier on this year, and it had blown my mind. Now comes the second book in the Normal series. When I finally found it in the bookstore, I was ecstatic. How rarely do I come upon a YA Contemporary book that deals with feminism?

This one is told from Amber's POV. After the events in the first book, it's finally summer and Amber is going to USA to visit her mother who has been MIA for 2 years. Once there, Amber's dreams and expectations are crushed rapidly. She wanted a mother who cared for her, but instead she got a woman who showed her feelings every now and then. This is a realistic portrayal of family troubles, because life isn't all rainbows and happy endings. We should now this by now. Luckily, despite everything that has happened between them, *spoiler alert* mother and daughter makes up by the end of the book. Their relationship is still strained and a bit tense, but finally, they understand each other. Which is better than nothing *spoiler over*

We don't know much about Amber from the first book, but in this one, it reveals everything. She is so filled with anger, frustration and sadness throughout the book. Anger at her mother for disregarding her for two years, anger at her father for remarrying a woman Amber loathes, frustration at her dysfunctional family, and sadness that she allows herself to be so affected by all of the above. The only way Amber copes is her two best friends, Evie and Lottie. They are like her rock and they support her no matter what. Being in the US, Amber makes a lot of new friends like Whinnie and Kyle, who are also very understanding and helpful.

Kyle and Amber! They have a really sweet relationship and I totally ship them. For 50% of the book, it is them pining for each other, but both are holding back because they respect the other person. The slow burn was worth the wait though! I really liked the day when Kyle brought Amber to Yosemite and spent the day together. That was a really cute date :) AND at the end *spoiler alert* when Kyle is fired for leaving the kids alone in the cabin, I was devastated that their relationship would be over, but Amber decides to leave with him! Go Amber! Here, she finally does something for herself and doesn't care what everyone else thinks anymore. Though I do wish there was a bit more road trip scenes. *spoiler over*

Feminism also plays a huge role in this book, obviously. Amber, Lottie and Evie still have their meetings, and what they talk about during them is really educational (did I really use the word educational? Oops) and informing. We can tell that being a feminist is not easy, as Amber struggles not to judge Melody since that would be going against her values. This book also shows us that feminism is not only limited to women, since Kyle is also involved (well, at the very end) and interested in changing. It's a common misconception that feminism is strictly limited to females, but as clearly shown in this book: IT'S NOT.

I really enjoyed this book a lot! Now that the third book has just been released, I think it's time to go searching for that one. I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants a good read! I assure you - you'll learn something new along the way as well.

My Chosen Quote
“Failure is never getting hurt. Because that means you've not done anything you cared about.”

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