Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren | Review

Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Source of my copy: publisher/Netgalley
Series: standalone
My rating:

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 was really hyped about Love and Other Words because it's by my favorite writing duo. Their book Beautiful Bastard is one of my all-time favorite contemporary romances and although I haven't read all of the books in their Beautiful Bastard and Wild Seasons series, the ones I have picked up I absolutely loved. I haven't read their newer adult standalones, but I have physical copies of them all because Christina Lauren is one of my auto-buy authors.

So, yeah, I was super hyped for Love and Other Words. And not only because it's by my favorite writing duo, but it also has one of my favorite tropes: childhood sweethearts meeting again and finding a second chance at love. 

Love and Other Words had everything going for it and it started out really good (as marked by my Instagram post). I love Christina Lauren's writing style and I find it really easy to get into their books. When I first met Macy, I really felt for her because she was telling us about losing her mom and the list she left behind to help Macy's dad raise her. I also love Macy and her dad's father-daughter relationship, how close they were, and how they navigated Macy growing up together with her mom's list as a guide. Macy and her dad were actually my favorite part of the whole novel and it just about killed me when we learned what happened that fateful New Years Eve night.

But, the main focus of the novel was Macy and Elliot's relationship. We saw them meeting and growing up in the Then chapters and we saw them meeting again after about eleven years apart in the Now chapters. The thing was, the more I got to know Macy (especially as an adult in the Now chapters) and Elliot, the more I became indifferent to them. I liked them a little more in the Then chapters as they fall into an easy friendship through their shared love of reading, falling in love, and learning about sex together. But, as adults, they were both so blah. I didn't feel any chemistry between them, and I wasn't swooning over their second chance romance. 

The thing is, I'm usually swooning over Christina Lauren's heroes--I haven't met a CLo hero I didn't swoon over even a little bit, but I wasn't swooning over Elliot in the slightest. Which was weird because he's a hot book nerd and I should've been all over that, but he was just... meh. There were more things that annoyed me, bothered me, and I eye-rolled over about him than liked about him. For instance, I didn't like how clueless he was during Thanksgiving when he invited both Macy and Rachel, his ex-girlfriend he dumped suddenly after he saw Macy again after eleven years. Seriously, you thought inviting both women couldn't end in anything but in an extremely awkward situation? And Elliot was supposed to be a smart man. *eye roll* And then that whole thing where he was so wasted he didn't know WTF he was doing that New Year's Eve where everything crash and burned? *eye roll*

It wasn't just Elliot, though. Macy, too. BOTH Macy and Elliot frustrated me. By the end I didn't care anymore whether they got their happily ever after or not.

Love and Other Words is definitely my least favorite that I've read by Christina Lauren. And it's not because Love and Other Words is "women's fiction" and all of the other books I've read by them were contemporary romance. It was the characters in this instance. Suffice to say, I will not be purchasing a physical copy of Love and Other Words, but I am still looking forward to reading CLo's upcoming releases and I'm excited to read their other books I already own this summer.

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