But I Love Him | Amanda Grace (Pseudonym/Mandy Hubbard)
Paperback | 264 pp.
Tonight was so much worse than anything before it. Tonight he didn't stop after the first slap.Brent’s opinion of the novel:
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.
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.