Book Talk: Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Book Talk: Love and Other Words by Christina LaurenLove and Other Words by Christina Lauren
Published by Gallery on April 10, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 432
Format: eBook
Source: Scribd
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads

The heart may hide, but it never forgets.

The first women’s fiction novel from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Autoboyography, Dating You / Hating You).

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.

Of all the Christina Lauren books, Love and Other Words was the one I was least excited to read. Why? I’m shallow tbh. Most of their covers are either cute or sort of cool in an edgy, stylistic way, but this cover is maudlin and yellow. Like, I’m not really into heart covers anyway, but these hearts are torn and sad. Based on my excellent logic, I figured that meant the book itself would be maudlin and depressing, when what I came for was the shippity ship. Actually, though a bit darker than their other efforts, Love and Other Words isn’t the massive departure I expected, and there’s totally a shippity ship.

Opinions on this book seem mixed, and I know my GR friends who have read it were not impressed. Which is a nice reminder that bookish opinions are pretty much always deeply subjective. In my case, Love and Other Words totally surprised me by being one of my favorite Lauren books, despite the fact that its sadder and definitely ventures into melodrama. What can I say, the heart wants what it wants.

Of all the Christina Lauren books I’ve read, this one had the most powerful voice for me. I was immediately captured, swept into the tale. Just boom right from the very beginning. There’s something a bit more lyrical and fanciful about this one, and the vibe totally worked for me. I’m guessing, though, that if you’re not sucked in, this book could be a serious struggle, since it’s less cutesy.

So this book uses one of my least favorite tropes FYI. The whole keeping the trauma a mystery by alternating between past and present thing. I totally absolutely get why authors use this technique, because it builds suspense and sometimes also dramatic irony, but I also find it frustrating, because they keep talking about THE THING, but they never discuss what THE THING actually is, and you’re like  I KNOW YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT IT JUST TELL ME GDI. But they won’t until the denouement, and that’s just not going to change.

Though I’m not a fan of that, it didn’t bother me quite as much here. I actually guessed wrong about what the thing was, so there was at least an element of surprise, though it was fucking horrible. View Spoiler » More though it’s just that it does fit Macy’s personality to be really closed off, even to herself, about her feelings, so it did seem believable that she wouldn’t go there in her headspace.

My heart broke for Macy all the way through this book. Even before you know much of the story, you know it’s not good, and I just felt everything with her (and sometimes FOR her). There’s the trauma of THE THING, but even before that, even when she was a young teen, Macy was dealing with her grief over her mother’s passing, which made her closed off anyway, because she hated the pity and the weirdness.

Her mom left behind this list of instructions, both big and small, to help her father through single parenthood. (This list is ruiningly adorable; her mom isn’t even IN the book, but I love the fuck out of her.) One of the items leads Macy’s dad to buy them a house in wine country for weekend getaways and summer.

She meets neighbor boy Elliot when they first tour the house because he’s reading in what will become her closet/library. They immediately bond over books, and I ship them so hard in every single moment. Also, Lauren have done some other books with nerdy romances, but I think this one has the most references. Watching a ship discuss books is the purest joy there is in my world.

Obviously, from the start, we know that Elliot and Macy haven’t talked in eleven years because of THE THING. Macy’s engaged to this guy, Sean, who’s super nice and has a daughter. But they reconnect, and it’s like BAM.

Elliot immediately dumps his current girlfriend for Macy, but Macy’s super indecisive about whether to end things with Sean.  Normally, I wouldn’t be able to handle that in a romance, but Macy’s characterization is so good and it’s handled in this really mature way. (View Spoiler » All this time, she’s been emotionally numb, so it’s a little bit like she suddenly woke up to feelings, so she’s completely lost about what to do. Plus, there’s THE THING.

Despite everything, though, despite THE THING and the time and the significant other, I shipped them like burning the whole way through. I love their early friendship and the tentative one they form eleven years later. I love his willingness to wait for her to be ready to trust in love, despite her fear of loss. I love their nerdiness and banter. I love that he was willing to be her friend with zero judgment, even when he was still in love with her and ended his relationship immediately. Admittedly, they’re a bit codependent, but for them it works. There’s just something about every scene they have together; it’s like they orbit one another, and the world gets brighter.

Love and Other Words made me feel pretty much the whole gamut of feelings. I’d recommend it highly for readers who have patience for the melodrama to come at the end, which I do if I love the characters this much.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

One response to “Book Talk: Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren”

  1. UGH THAT GIF! Side note but I just watched that movie for the first time in a bazillion years so I have feelings. Isn’t it kind of fun when you end up super enjoying a book that your friends thought was so-so? It’s easy to get caught up in other people’s opinions and ratings I think. I’ve only read one other Christina Lauren book but this sounds pretty captivating!
    Morgan @ The Bookish Beagle recently posted…Mini Review Monday: Mask of Shadows and The TombMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge