Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber
Sometimes a broken heart is all you need to set you free… Reiko loves the endless sky and electric colours of the Californian desert. It is a refuge from an increasingly claustrophobic life of family pressures and her own secrets. Then she meets Seth, a boy who shares a love of the desert and her yearning for a different kind of life. But Reiko and Seth both want something the other can’t give them. As summer ends, things begin to fall apart. But the end of love can sometimes be the beginning of you…
I struggled a little with this book. It has some really really good things, but it also has some pet peeves so it was hard to rate it highly due to them (and there were sadly a lot).
One of the topics of the book is what the concept of love is, and another is grief. Both give it really good points, and they are explored in an amazing way. Each character affected by the death of Mika grieves differently and you can see this (and as the story progresses, Rei becomes more aware of it too) which I found really good. This grief not only affects each of them and who they are, but their relationships and as I mentioned above, it is done very well. (I would even add, the grief you feel for different deaths/loses is different in itself. You think you know what grief is after one and then another one happens and it is not the same!)
However, Reiko was an extremely spoiled person and that meant low points. Life is so “easy” and she just can’t seem to think outside her circle, even when things aren’t going the way they are meant to (or that she thinks they should be going).
The homecoming party was odd, and I know that it is part of what spurred the whole book but it felt a bit empty. However, things start to get better from this point on in the book. For most of the first half, all I did was cringe a lot about almost everything going on. And there is a huge case of parents that are there when needed as plot devise but absent the rest of the time, conveniently. (I understand it is hard to make parents be part of the story, but in this particular one, they should’ve been less a plot devise and more part of it, they could’ve played a bigger better part).
Still, I liked some parts and even had to share a quote (last paragraph of page 286, UK paperback edition) with my friends, because it was just very perfect and I had to. And I found the exploration of “who do we fall in love”, and how people change (or our perception of them, or even ourselves change) a refreshing topic and it was a lot less romance than I expected it to be (which in this case is a plus).
I’d say to give this lovely book a spin. If you’re more curious on explorations about grief try Letters to the Lost and for some reason this book reminded me of Floored, so why not check that one out too?
Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that whatever the circumstances it was as good as it could be.