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How Hard Can Love Be?

Book Review UKYA

REVIEW: How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne


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.)

Who would you invite to your Spinster Club if you had one? Have you read How Hard Can Love Be or Am I Normal Yet?


February in YA : Ones to Watch


When looking through the pile of books being released in February that have been staring at me from my desk longingly for what seems like a very long time, there were a few that really stood out to me. So I thought I’d make it into a little feature each month, where I share a few of the releases that I think are ones to watch out for.

How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne

After staying up way past my bedtime reading How Hard Can Love Be?, I can tell you for definite that it is a book you must add to your reading pile immediately. It’s the sequel to Am I Normal Yet?, although I’m sure you could read it before without getting too confused, and whilst I loved Am I Normal Yet?, I loved How Hard Can Love Be? even more.

It’s set in America and follows Amber, who is visiting her mum for the first time in two years. There’s drama, cute romance and (most importantly) FEMINISM. That’s right, the Spinster Club is back and better than ever!


Needlework by Deirdre Sullivan

Needlework first caught my eye when I saw author extraordinaire Louise O’Neill praise it, so I had to check it out. It doesn’t sound like an easy read – it discusses child abuse amongst other things – but sometimes it’s good to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and discover the lives of people who lead, or have lead, very different lives to yourself – that’s part of the reason I read.

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

13 Minutes is my current read and I am loving it. It’s not my typical read and something I’d usually shy away from, but I knew from the moment it popped through my letterbox and I opened it up that I’d love it.

The book opens with a man discovering a body in the river of a girl. After jumping in to save her, she’s resuscitated after being clinically dead for 13 minutes (hence the title), but she has no recollection of the events that lead up to her being in the river. All she can remember is the panic, the rush of water, and the cold…

It’s a thrilling mystery and has me hooked. I can’t wait to read on to find out what happens!

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

I have to admit that I haven’t Red Queen yet, but I’m looking forward to marathoning both books this month. Glass Sword is the sequel to Red Queen and the books have taken the YA world by storm – they’ve been optioned for a film to be adapted by Elizabeth Banks, star of The Hunger Games, and I see people raving about them all the time. Definitely a must-read in February!

What are you excited to read in February?