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Monday, September 15, 2014

YA Review: Love You Hate You Miss You

Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott

Published: May 26th, 2009 by HarperTeen
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 276 pages
Part of a series? Nope
Got via: I bought it off Amazon for like 4 dollars - great deal
Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound

Summary (from goodreads): It's been seventy-five days. Amy's sick of her parents suddenly taking an interest in her.

And she's really sick of people asking her about Julia. Julia's gone now, and she doesn't want to talk about it. They wouldn't get it, anyway. They wouldn't understand what it feels like to have your best friend ripped away from you.

They wouldn't understand what it feels like to know it's your fault.

Amy's shrink thinks it would help to start a diary. Instead, Amy starts writing letters to Julia.

But as she writes letter after letter, she begins to realize that the past wasn't as perfect as she thought it was—and the present deserves a chance too.

Review: Whooboy, this is a hard one. This is not an easy book to read. It is a very good book, but it's not an easy book. It's painful and emotional and really freaking good. I have so much trouble writing about these kinds of books because it's so hard to describe the whole emotional devastation thing.

So let's just jump into it!

Plot Talk: The summary is pretty good at describing it, really. Amy's fresh out of rehab and starts writing letters to her dead best friend. It's not an action-based plot, you know? And, no, it's not the most unique plot in the world. But I think as a character-based plot, it works well.

Characters: Speaking of characters... our main character is Amy. The book alternates between diary entries addressed at Julia and regular 1st person chapters. It makes it so it doesn't get too angry. Amy is still very broken and grieving through much of the book, but it works. Amy is not exactly likable. She's grieving and guilty and angry and sometimes she's mean. But gosh, she's a darn good character to read about. She's compelling and sympathetic (sometimes) and her voice is great.

Basically the second most important character is, obviously, Julia. She's obviously gone, but Amy is still mourning her death so strongly that she's still vivid to the point where it almost still seems like she's there. She's a tricky character since she's, you know, dead, and Amy won't hear anything bad about her. So Amy's process of grieving her, of realizing maybe she wasn't perfect, it works really well.

I did quite like the other characters, too. The thing is, the huge bad thing has already happened. So the book ends up being more about the healing and growth and the characters end up really shining. And I have to say, this is the only Elizabeth Scott book I've read so far, but I think she writes very strong characters.

Also, I really liked the romance. I loved that it was slow and gradual. They talked in a way that was wonderful and honestly, I loved the way sex was handled and talked about. Very well done, and very good romance overall.

PG-13 stuff: It's a mature book for sure. I think usually a book like this gets something like a 14+ rating when they put ages on them, but it really depends on the reader. There are definite "adult themes", language, sex is talked about a lot, there's underage drinking and drug use. Trigger warnings for non-consensual alcohol use (that's a mouthful, but basically one character turns down a guy at a party and he switched her drink with much stronger grain alcohol and she ends up in the hospital - that's actually a date rape method, by the way), suicidal thoughts, and, obviously, grief.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: I actually don't have any? The only thing I really have is that her parents take away her cell phone and then tell her she can call if she needs anything when she goes to the movies with friends. Were payphones really that common in 2009???

But that's more silly than anything. I don't have anything else I can think of.

Cover comments: I think it's really pretty. Is it super unique? Nah, but it's pretty and it works for the book. If I saw it, I'd pick it up and at the end of things, that's what a cover is supposed to do, isn't it?

Conclusion: I have to say, the more I think about it, the more I like these sort of "after the event" type stories. Addicts aren't my favourite people to read about, honestly, and the healing journey is much more interesting to me. You guys also know I like therapy in books and this one is one of the ones that show that it might not be easy, but it can definitely help - if you want it to help. This book in general just works especially well. It reminds me somewhat of Cracked Up To Be which I loved and maybe a little of Jumping Off Swings and 34 Pieces of You both of which I liked. If you like this kind of book, basically the ones that make you cry? (And yes, I did.) You'll like this one. I very much did. Four roses.

Other Notes:

- There's a character named Caro who Amy calls Corn Syrup because of, you know, Karo Corn Syrup. Which made me realize that I don't say Karo right because every single time I read her name, I read it as Cairo, like rhymes with Pyro, not Caro. My brain is weird sometimes.

Peace and cookies,

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