All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Love And Other Words by Christina Lauren

on July 28, 2021

Love And Other Words
Christina Lauren
Gallery Books
2018, 406p
Read via my local library

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}: The story of the heart can never be unwritten. 

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 bookish 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 devouring 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.

I’ve read a couple of Christina Lauren books before but I haven’t really gelled with them. One was not my style and the other I listened to on audiobook and the narration didn’t really work for me. However people keep recommending various titles of hers to me and I hear and see others talking about them and reviewing them and so many of them sound like they’d be something I’d love. I have their newest one, The Soulmate Equation on reserve at my local library and when I was last in there picking up a book and knowing we’d be going into lockdown again, I grabbed a few titles from the display shelves and this book was one of them.

And I’m so glad I did because I loved this story. Pretty much everything about it. The characters, the way it was told, all of it.

Macy is a doctor working in paediatrics. se’s having lunch with her old college friend when she sees Elliot, her first love – and a person she hasn’t seen in eleven years, since the night he broke her heart. Seeing Elliot again is a shock and Macy’s first instinct is to run away but Elliot comes after her. The two of them spent years being best friends, being more than that, being everything, so it’s hard for Macy to continue to ignore him because a desperate part of her wants Elliot too. Despite the fact that she’s engaged, despite everything that happened that last night they spoke.

I loved the back and forth way this was told, with chapters in the present alternating with chapters from the past that showed how Elliot and Macy built a friendship basically just as she spent weekends and summers at her family’s holiday house, which was next door to where Elliot lived. They both had reading in common which was another thing I loved, because when books have characters that are readers and reference a lot of books, it’s always a big plus for me. I thought they worked well together too, Elliot is quite an open personality and Macy is more closed off, her tragic loss has definitely shaped her. Elliot can ask questions and sometimes make her talk but other times he’s content to be silent with her, both of them reading in her room. And as they get a bit older, the friendship gets another, more complicated layer that has excellent amounts of sexual tension: two teenagers experiencing attraction but on Macy’s part, not wanting to ruin the friendship they have, which really keeps things simmering. I thought that exploration when they were teens was really well done as was the balance with the close friendship.

Macy has experienced a lot in her life and her adult self seems to have been going through the motions for years. The return of Elliot into her life definitely complicates things because with Elliot, she can’t maintain that sort of emotional distance that she’s been able to do with other people. It sort off forces her to address things, although it does take a long while for the incident that ruined their friendship/burgeoning relationship to be revealed as the flashbacks are told in chronological order. Both Elliot and Macy have clear ideas of what they thought happened and both of them need to share those ideas with each other so they can actually complete the whole picture. I understand why Macy didn’t give Elliot a chance but he never has and he needs to know why.

I think if this book had really explored what happened to Elliot that night properly as well as Macy, it would’ve been a five star read for me. But I think it glossed over it a bit – like it was explained enough for Macy to understand and also for the reader to see how Elliot was affected by it but the act itself wasn’t named for what it truly was. And I think there was an opportunity to say more about it, rather than just drop it as a reason and move on. But that was really my only gripe with this story. I loved it and absolutely tore through it, reading wise. So now I have found a title by these authors that does work for me and I’m eager to read more.

8/10

Book #127 of 2021


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