I received this book for free from Usborne in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2) by Holly Bourne
Published by Usborne on February 1st 2016
Genres: UKYA, young adult, contemporary
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Hive
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 love that moment when you read a book and you keep glancing at the clock, seeing how many more pages it’s possible to squeeze in because you love it so much and can’t bear to stop reading it. How Hard Can Love Be? was definitely one of those books for me. I was hooked from the moment I began and can’t stop thinking about just how brilliant it was, even a few weeks after reading it.
The sequel to Am I Normal Yet?, How Hard Can Love Be? tells Amber’s story. After not seeing her mum for two years, Amber is heading off to California to spend the summer holidays with her. However, there are a few downsides: her mum’s new husband, working with extremely excitable kids in a summer camp and she’s in a totally different country without her best friends… Great, right?
I can only think of a handful of UKYA books that are set outside of the UK, so it was so good to discover the US through How Hard Can Love Be?. It made me feel so English and it was extremely nice to read something that didn’t feel stereotypically English – not all of us sound posh and drink tea! Amber made me appreciate my little English quirky things and I’m sure US readers would feel the same about the other characters in the book. There’s something to please everyone!
One of my favourite things about How Hard Can Love Be? was of course the feminism. Despite being thousands of miles apart, not even a vast ocean can separate the Spinster Club and there was still lots and lots of Evie and Lottie, who we met in Am I Normal Yet?, in the book. You would think that because romance is quite a big plot line in the book that it might detract some of the feminism, but I found quite the opposite. How Hard Can Love Be? proves that you can be in a relationship and be a feminist at the same time and I think this is a side to a lot of feminist books that we don’t see. I LOVED it!
Where Am I Normal Yet? talked about OCD and anxiety, How Hard Can Love Be? discusses alcohol abuse and how this affects a mother-daughter relationship. We often see in YA a lack of parents, but Amber’s parents were at the forefront of How Hard Can Love Be? and this was very refreshing to read.
It’s also worth mentioning that there are LOTS of Harry Potter references in the book, which put a big smile on my face because I love Harry Potter and I know Holly does too. The enthusiasm for Harry Potter certainly came through!
I adored How Hard Can Love Be?, despite my lack of sleep after not being able to put it down. Holly Bourne is one of the most talented YA writers of the moment and I cannot wait to read the next instalment to find out what happens to the Spinster Club. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!
You’ll Love This If…
You’re a hardcore feminist who wants to read about feminism in PRACTICE.
You squeal every time you see a Harry Potter reference.
You’re a human being. It’s as simple as that. (Although I’m sure you can read it to pets and they’ll enjoy it too.)