Title: How Hard Can Love Be? (The Spinster Club #2)
Author: Holly Bourne
Publication: February 1st 2016 by Usborne Publishing
Format: Finished copy in Paperback
Source: Provided by the publisher
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 received a finished copy of this book from Usborne in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
Short review: Well worth a read.
Not-really-that-long review: Blimey! I don’t even know where to begin. How Hard Can Love Be? is the first Holly Bourne book I’ve read and I just have to say that I’m bloody impressed. And yes, I’m using brit slang. There is no question whether I’ll read her other books or not because I definitely will when I get the chance.
This is the second book in the series and it focuses on Amber, Evie’s friend from Am I Normal Yet? I haven’t read the first book when I started on this one and that’s totally fine but I think it’s way better to have read Am I Normal Yet? first considering the feminism aspect of the book.
Honestly, I expected this book to be all about some teenage summer romance with a lot of swoon + hearts flying everywhere, and heartbreak. With a title like that, what else is there to expect? But no, this is a Holly Bourne book, there’s way more to expect than a summer fling.
Basically, How Hard Can Love Be? tells the story of Amber and her struggle with love and life. All Amber wanted was more time to spend with her mom. When her parents divorced, she was left with her father and her horrible step-mother while her mother left for California. But when she finally got to be with her mother, it seems like she didn’t even miss her. She’s only expecting Amber to teach and help at the camp and doesn’t appreciate it when Amber wants to spend time with her.
On the other hand, we have Kyle. Kyle is the golden boy. Everybody likes him – definitely not the type of guy to fall for Amber. Amber believes that boys like Kyle only likes girls who are “hot” and beautiful in the society’s standard. But it seems like Kyle is into Amber. He does nice things for her, well, he is nice to everybody. Aaaaaarrrggghhh. Mixed signals much? How hard can reading Kyle be? LOL. That’s not even half of Amber’s Kyle dilemma.
Amber is a strong character. With everything that has happened to her, and everything that’s going on around her, she didn’t give up. Well, she almost did actually but her friends Evie and Lottie were always there to help her and in the end, she was even better than she already is to begin with. She is also real and totally relatable. Her emotions in the book transmit from words to actual feelings. I see myslef laughing with her whenever she’s happy and when she’s angry and sad, I feel the same too.
Anyway, let me just point out some things I noticed in the book. First, there were parts where the cultural difference between the American characters and Amber, who is a “very English” person, were shown. But, I really couldn’t tell the distinction apart unless Amber says it is a British thing to do what she is doing (or isn’t doing). Honestly, I actually didn’t know that English people wasn’t open about their “feelings” unlike Americans who are straightforward like “I feel like sh*t” in your face kind of way. I’ve always thought that those kind of things depend on people’s personality rather than culture. But anyway, like I said, the cultural difference wasn’t that elaborate (except with the fair usage of British slang) or, I’m just totally ignorant about it.
Another thing are the preface thingy called “Situations that are destined to fail” before each chapter, which is some sort of a spoiler 3-5 sentence preview of what’s about to go down. I was a bit 50/50 with that bit. What I like about it is that it’s out of the ordinary and there’s a personal approach because it shows how Amber summarizes her experience with the list, but what I don’t like about it is that I already know what to expect when I turn to the next page. But it really doesn’t make it less of a great book.
Lastly, let me just go back to the fact that I have not read Am I Normal Yet before reading How Hard Can Love Be?. Just to make it clear, both are standalone books and you can read them without having read the other BUT there is just one thing that really made me wish that I’ve read Am I Normal Yet? first. I love the whole idea of The Spinster Club and the feminism aspect but I honestly felt left out about the whole thing because they’ve established in the first book and in this one, I didn’t get enough of it. But that only means that I’m now desperate to read Book 1!
Overall, How Hard Can Love Be? is a quirky book with a lot of depth. It is well worth a read.
Amber – She’s just so real, I cannot not love her!
Harry Potter reference – C’mon, who wouldn’t love a book that has loads of Harry Potter reference? Be sorted to Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Dumbledore’s Army! Wait- Dumbledore’s Army? What happened to Slytherin? You better read to find out. XD
Quotes that speaks the truth
Women are ‘supposed’ to be sexy now – otherwise we’re prudes, or one of those hairy feminists nobody wants to sleep with. You see how we’re judged all the time? We have to be ‘hot’ now, otherwise we’ve failed at life. And if we achieve stuff and we’re not hot – it’s the first thing people lob at us to undermine everything we’ve achieved.
“I’ve always thought there’s a reverse sexism thing going on with films like that. Essentially, you can only get away doing ‘romantic’ but totally-freaky-stalkery gestures for a girl if you’re considered conventionally good-looking. It’s like girls only let you be abusive and strange if you have a six-pack and really good bone structure. I mean, like, I can obviously be as creepy as I like, because I’m so darn good-looking.”
Pretty cover – I have a thing for books with pretty covers and I would literally pick up this book solely for it’s cover. Don’t you agree with me? It’s cute and simple. What’s even awesome is that you can tell that it’s a Holly Bourne book without even looking at the author name written in the cover.