Title: Suffer Love
Author : Ashley Herring Blake
Genre : Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date : May 3rd, 2016
Publisher : HMH Books for Young Readers
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Hadley St. Clair’s life changed the day she came home to a front door covered in slips of paper, each of them revealing the ugly truth about her father. Now as her family falls apart in the wake of his year-long affair, Hadley wants everyone-her dad most of all-to leave her alone.
Then she meets Sam Bennett, a cute new boy who inexplicably “feels like home” to Hadley. Hadley and Sam’s connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret about his family that could ruin everything.
Funny and passionate, Suffer Love is a story about first love, family dysfunction, and the fickle hand of fate.
I liked to believe that YA Contemporary was a genre that was incapable of surprising me anymore. And of course, that’s not a turn off (nothing will ever make me stop reading YA like, ever) but after a point, you start to wait for that one elusive book that will blow your proverbial head off, leaving you stunned and absolutely incapable of functioning because of its utter brilliance. Ladies and gents, Ashley Herring Blake has managed to create that book on her first try.
Suffer Love isn’t very fancy or glamorous. From its cover to its writing to its content. It’s a simple story about a boy and girl falling in love, and having a million things thrown at them that are out of their control. And if you’re a connoisseur of slow-burn romance, then halt your horses right here. Suffer Love gives a whole new meaning to slow-burn.
The only way in which this particular piece of art was similar to others in its genre was my immediate preference for the heroine above the hero. Hadley, our leading lady, has issues. She’s not perfect, not even close, but she’s also not your average YA heroine. Here’s a girl comfortable with herself, comfortable in her body, and if that’s not mind-blowing, I don’t know what is. Obviously, there’s a whole lot going on in her head, and she’s a character you learn something more about every 10 pages or so, but I, for one, enjoyed peeling back all those layers and watching what made her tick. She had problems with her parents, and those problems affected her deeply, but Hadley had this way of weaving the good and the bad and coming out victorious, and she made me laugh and cry, and I loved her.
Sam, on the other hand, was kind of difficult to judge. He’s basically everything you want in a book boyfriend, and that made me wary. Book boyfriend perfection? Completely unheard of. But there you have it. Sam had me convinced. Sam, too, had a Pandora’s box full of issues that needed resolving, but people, if Sam dealing with his younger sister doesn’t melt your hearts, nothing will. And the slow-burn romance from Sam’s perspective? A+ No other words.
I loved that Suffer Love dealt with family and friendships, but without overwhelming or taking away from our main characters. It had the perfect mix of love and smiles, but keep that Kleenex on hand, because all the feels = tears, tears, tears. Suffer Love addressed an issue I’ve very seldom read, and maybe that made it all the more irresistible to me, but I’m willing to bet it could be the writing. Once you start reading this book, I highly doubt you’ll be able to put it down, it’s that riveting. And it’s only the author’s debut? Like how did you do that, AHB?? Am I even going to survive after reading everything else you write??? Basically, I can’t recommend this book enough. If you like your Contemporaries teeny weeny dark, your prose captivating and your main characters sexy as hell (BOTH of them), then you’ve found what you’re looking for.
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Ashley Herring Blake is a poet, teacher, and YA novelist. Her debut novel, SUFFER LOVE, follows two teens as they attempt to wade through an intense relationship complicated by their parents’ infidelities. Ashley lives in Nashville, TN.