I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. This doesn’t affect my thoughts in any way.
Title: Love Is Love
Author: Mette Bach
Release: August 10th
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
My rating: 3,5 stars ★
Emmy is a high school student dealing with body issues as well as anxiety. After attempting and failing a relationship with a popular guy in school, she decides in agreement with her mother to leave Winnipeg, and start a new life with her uncle and aunt in Vancouver.
After years spending away from Vancouver, her father’s hometown – one reason among many others being the over perfectness of her cousin Paige – she is back and meets again with Paige’s trans friend Jude. Emmy is instantly attracted to him, even if both her cousin and mother warn her that he is trouble.
But Emmy finds herself spending more and more time at the café where Jude works and presents poetry and slam. And slowly, the wto of them grow closer.
I found that this book inluded a lot of body negativity and it made me sometimes really uncomfortable. It does end on a positive message, but if it is something that triggers you, you may want to stay away from it.
There are also some passages where Jude is misgendered, so again, if it’s something that triggers you, you might want to stay away. It also made me uncomfortable. I get that there are (in real life) some rude people who refuse to gender trans people correctly. But is it necessary to include something harmful like this in a book which is supposed to have a positive message? (By the way, this is an open question, if you have an answer for that, I’m interested.)
First of all, I picked up this book because I absolutely loved the concept. It is unique, and unlike anything I have read before. An overweight protagonist and a trans love interest are sadly not common in literature, though they have so much potential. And I do feel, however, that this could have been exploited a bit (a lot?) further. The book is roughly 180 pages, but it could have been so much more. It was still great though, and had many passages I greatly enjoyed. I also really enjoyed Emmy’s character development through the book, and could really relate to her anxiety and lack of self-confidence, however I did find that it sometimes became a little bit unhealthy and harmful to read. She had lots of issues with her bodies which I can understand, but she was also very self-deprecating. And yes, it felt very realistic. But some body positivity would have been nice.
Another thing I wanted to mention is that I find the cover actually quite inaccurate, so don’t be fooled by it. For some reason it doesn’t seem to mach any of the protagonists?
I also appreciated the fact that the book was set in Canada. When it is not Fantasy or Dystopia, most of the YA (and fiction in general) I read is set in the US, or sometimes in the UK (which usually comes off as a nice surprise) so it was definitely interesting to see something playing somewhere else, even if the location didn’t play such a big part in the story.
The relationship of both characters to art and poetry was a great surprise, and I really enjoyed watching Emmy learning more about her dad. Her relationship with her mom was quite messed up, but seeing this bond with her dad – even if he has passed away already at the time of the story – was beautiful to read. And through writing of all things, of course I loved it.
I really like the fact that Jude and Emmy found each other through poetry, and got to realise they had a lot in common, and really understood each other more than everyone else did. But it felt that it all happened to fast. And I couldn’t help but think in the back of my mind that yes, it’s great to find love, but love doesn’t solve everything. Maybe I’m misreading it, but it seemed all too easy sometimes.
That being said, this book has overall a very positive message of accepting others as they are, and I couldn’t help but swoon at the end. I just wish it had been longer, and more deeply explored.
Feel free to share your thoughts on this book or my review in the comments, and have a nice day!