May 9, 2011

but i love him by amanda grace

Picture_1Published 5/8/11

But I Love Him | Amanda Grace (Pseudonym/Mandy Hubbard)

Flux

Paperback | 264 pp.
Tonight was so much worse than anything before it. Tonight he didn't stop after the first slap.
At the beginning of senior year, Ann was a smiling, straight-A student and track star with friends and a future. Then she met a haunted young man named Connor. Only she can heal his emotional scars; only he could make her feel so loved — and needed. Ann can't recall the pivotal moment it all changed, when she surrendered everything to be with him, but by graduation, her life has become a dangerous high wire act. Just one mistake could trigger Connor's rage, a senseless storm of cruel words and violence damaging everything — and everyone — in its path.
This evocative slideshow of flashbacks reveals a heartbreaking story of love gone terribly wrong.
Brent’s opinion of the novel:
I’ve always seen positive reviews for Mandy Hubbard, and I’ve always wondered what about her writing made readers so keysmashing enthusiastic. I joined the Mandy Hubbard fan club once I finished reading her paranormal romance, RIPPLE. I loved the way she paced the story, the way she slowly built up the tension and romance and then let it explode the last 100 pages. That book got me excited for this book. And I must say: BUT I LOVE HIM is probably the better of the two.

You know how they say it’s impossible for a writer of paranormal to switch over to contemporary w/out losing quality and/or disappointing fans? COMPLETE BULL$#^%. Mandy Hubbard flow can flow freely between genres. BUT I LOVE HIM is the best book I’ve read in a long time.

BUT I LOVE HIM is the story of Ann, a girl broken in half. It’s about Ann’s abusive relationship, and how she got into the whole mess, told in reverse chronological order. (So it starts at their 1-year anniversary, and continues to jump back until we’re at the day Ann and her boyfriend meet.)

There are so many things that made me love this story, but I’ll start with the first: the reverse chronological order. Picking up a book and flipping to the first couple pages sounds like an easy, light task, right? Right?

No. As soon as you lay eyes on the first couple of lines, you meet Ann. You meet Ann on the floor, right after she’s been hurt by Connor. I’ve always thought that stories should start out with strong beginnings, but this one, it knocks the wind out of you.

Seeing Ann at her worst dragged me in. Seeing how Ann got there pulled me along. I don’t think the book would be as powerful if it weren’t told backwards.

The second thing that made me love this story: the villain. In nearly all the dating violence books I’ve read, there is one villain. And that villain is the person who does the abusing. That villain is cruel, mean, and ugly. That villain is flat. The villain is a villain, plain and simple. There’s nothing else to it.

Not in BUT I LOVE HIM. Ann isn’t the only that’s broken. Connor is, too. There’s a whole story on why Connor does the things he does, and what possibly influenced him from early on. I just could not hate him, much as I should have or wanted to. Connor wasn’t a villain, as in the ninety-nine other dating violence books I’ve read. That’s what sets BUT I LOVE HIM apart from those other stories.

The third: it beat me up. Each page was a bruise on my arm. Every time Connor unleashed himself on Ann, it felt like a knife was jabbed into my side. Cause that’s what this book makes you do: feel.

I can't even begin to describe how much I loved this book. It's intense, scary, and an addictive mix of pretty + ugly.

This is what a 5-star story looks like.

20 comments:

Zoraida Cordova said...

Great review.

I wasn't into P&P, but I am excited for RIPPLE. Now I'm excited for this one too.

~Zoraida

The Story Queen said...

See, that's what I like about your reviews. I finish reading them and I feel like "you know what? I NEED to read this book." I love that, so thank you. I actually read Alex's review of this earlier today and it's nice to see you liked the same things. I'll definitely be picking this one up - thanks!

Alexis Salcido said...

AWESOME REVIEW. I thought the exact same thing, you describe it perfectly in your review, well done. But I love him is in parts beautiful and ugly.

Melina said...

The backwards thing sounds pretty cool.

Vy (Vy's Blog) said...

Goodness Brent, I'm going to become broke pretty soon if I continue to read all of these awesome reviews. I'm not very much interested in contemporary, but I will definitely give this a shot now! Off to the bookstore...

Jessica Secret said...

What an awesome review! Wasn't sure if I wanted to read this but now you've got me convinced.

Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

Wow, great review! I've been interested in this one, but now I'll DEFINITELY have to read it. I'm usually not a fan of reverse chronological order or stories told in flashbacks, but I think you've got me sold. ;)

Liz said...

I haven't read any books by Mandy Hubbard, but I'll have to check this one out.

Audrey (holes In My brain) said...

I think your passion for this book really comes through in this review, and it's stuff like this that makes me *know* I need to read the book, just to see if I'll be as emotionally affected. Thanks for this review, I'm gonna have to get my hands on this awesome-sounding book.

Kevin said...

Definitely makes me want to read the book, Brent. Thanks for writing such an informative review. I look forward to reading the book you gave 5 to.

We Heart YA said...

Wow. I'm both (a) excited and now (b) terrified to read this book. Also, I had no idea it was Mandy Hubbard in disguise! Thanks for the reveal.

Mandy said...

I have heard so many good things about Mandy Hubbard's paranormal books, it's good to know her contemporary outings are great as well. I'll definitely put this one in my TBR pile!:)

JL said...

Great review! I've had this book on my radar for a while, but wasn't quite sure if it was for me. Now that I've read your thoughts though, I want to go out and buy it immediately. Plus, I've really enjoyed Mandy Hubbard's other novels.
Thanks!

Raquel said...

Wow, the whole backwards story telling sounds amazing. And, by the way you talked about the emotions, I'm guessing the emotions are also amazing.

ashelynn hetland said...

You made me even MORE excited for this book. oh man, i need some money like ASAP.

fantastic review!

Ashley said...

This seems to be a growing trend in YA lit- tackling the abusive relationship (I don't think that's a bad thing)

I didn't realize this was written in reverse chronological order. Great review. I'm definitely going to need to find me a copy of this one soon.

Olivia said...

After reading great reviews on this by both you and Alex I really want to check this one out!

It sounds really cool with the whole backwards thingie.

Loren Chase said...

Definitely going to check out this book as well as Ripple. I can't wait to get my hands on this book. I've heard nothing but great reviews about it! Great review!

BookChic said...

I can't wait to read this and may have to move it up in my TBR pile after this glowing review.

Mandy is good at this genre-hopping. All her books are pretty different from each other. I'm also still jealous that you've read Ripple, lol.

Cialina at Muggle-Born.net said...

Ok, fine, you convinced me. I guess I'm reading this. :P