Tuesday, September 6, 2016

It's Brilliant, Really | Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Haha, my review for this book is similar to mine of The Fall of Butterflies because I had an "interesting experience" with both AKA I started out not liking either very much then ended up completely changing my mind three-quarters of the way through it.

*I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.

*Released August 5th 2014 from Atria Books*

This book was an interesting experience! And by "interesting," I really mean that I had conflicting opinions that fueled a wheel in my brain. I love it when this happens because it usually results in me peering closer at the story and how it was crafted and then attempt to analyze specific parts instead of just saying what I liked and didn't like. (Key word: attempt.)

Before I dive into some specific parts I thought a lot about, I should talk about enjoyment level. It was . . . good. I enjoyed the book much, much more in the last quarter because that's when all the emotions hit me the most. I know that's when they were the most intense, but there were emotionally charged scenes earlier in the book that didn't reach me well because I wasn't connected enough. It's my least favorite Colleen Hoover book so far (next to the Hopeless series and Confess) because I didn't enjoy it as much as the others, but I definitely really liked reading it.

The Writing 

I had a love/hate relationship with the writing.

Miles' chapters were offputting at first. All those short sentences that were supposed to go together in a beautiful, poignant way felt like they were being forced to carry emotions. Because of that, it then felt like the author was trying too hard. I had a hard time connecting to his chapters, though only mainly because of the writing. Miles himself was hard for me to warm up to, but I'll get into that later.

Tate's chapters were a bit better, though there were times when it didn't feel that different from the style in which Miles' POV was written. For the most part, though, I really liked reading from her perspective. The story was easy to get into and everything simply flowed better for me.

Later, though, I got really into Miles' chapters--even more than I was into Tate's. It was the chapter where Miles' past is fully revealed that changed everything for me. The writing style was PERFECT for all the emotions that went into that scene and I don't think it could've been written any better!

SPOILER

Plus, I absolutely LOVED how his narrative goes from centered to left justified--just like it was before he met Rachel--at the end of the scene. It was like this giant cracktore through his heart at that time. I love it when authors do stuff like this because the author didn't just show his emotions through the characters' actions and his reactions to Rachel's pain and his words, but also through a visible shift in the narrative. It was a very clever way to make that scene more powerful. I also loved how his narrative goes back to centered after he and Tate patched up things between them. It was like I could see his heart become full again. It was beautiful!

END SPOILER
The Single Large Focus 

There's an all-consuming, obsessive quality to this book, which I didn't always love, but I was able to find a way to say that it was a good thing.

So, the story is primarily focused on love. I want to say it's also about moving on from heartbreak/trauma, but that played only a small role. Is it about family? Friendship? Nope. Is it about--um, I don't know what other options there could've been in this story, but the answer is no. It's about ugly love and how the beautiful moments make the ugly bits worth every second. So, in the sense that this story is pretty much JUST about that and isn't multi-faceted when it comes to themes, there's not much to this book.

But.

It's that all-consuming, obsessive quality that makes all that focus on ONE thing feel like the point. It's not supposed to be about much else than love. The moment Miles meets Rachel, he's obsessed with her. Instalove? Er, maybe. But that's him. Miles is an obsessive guy. The woman he wants to be with becomes the center of his world (literally, if you think of how his narrative is center justified), even if he's not in love with her just yet. He feels SO MUCH. This character is one of the most passionate ones I've met in awhile. He's even passionate in the moments he didn't want to care about Tate! His emotions were loud and clear on the page. Tate, too, seemed to focus so much of her time, energy, and attention on him. They had an all-consuming relationship and when I think of that, it makes up for the absence of other themes and focuses. Even though it felt lackluster at times because of that (I personally prefer to have a lot going on in romances because it helps set them apart from other books), it felt like a good writing move to make the book as a whole as obsessed with the love as the characters were about one another. Shining a bigger light on Tate and her brother's bond or doing something similar actually could've taken away from the story instead of adding to it.

Overall, this is a beautiful book with many ugly moments and emotions. The story sometimes felt poorly done, yet when I look at it at a different angle, it felt brilliantly written. It wasn't the most enjoyable Colleen Hoover book I've read so far because of moments I disconnected from it, but it did remind me how much I love how she crafts stories.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Discussion Prompt
I don't consider myself a close or analytical reader, but some books just make me look more closely at why the book was written the way it was. Even though Ugly Love wasn't super enjoyable, the fact that it made me think more than the average book made the reading experience more enjoyable. I'm a big fan of books that do that! So, I'm wondering . . .

What besides enjoyment level turns your reading experience in a very good one?

Happy Reading! ~ Kaitlin ☺

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