LOVE & OTHER WORDS
BY CHRISTINA LAUREN
Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.
But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.
Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.
So I’d been putting this one off because I thought the original cover was ugly and I am an awful person that judges books by their covers. Christina Lauren’s books are very hit or miss for me. I either love them or wish I hadn’t wasted my time on them. This one though I really enjoyed. It was the perfect adult friends to lovers story that helped to cure my The Summer I Turned Pretty hangover.
I read this in less than a day and considering how hard it’s been for a book to capture my attention for any amount of time lately that’s saying something. I read the first few chapters before work and then continued to sporadically read chapters throughout the day until I could finally escape into it. This is one of the first books I’ve read that’s taken place in locations I know so well so I loved being able to connect in that way with it.
The flashbacks were so cute and innocent, spanning years or friendship and unabashed truths. Macey and Elliot go through their awkward teens years together and have some truly horny teen moments that I found hilarious. Their swapping or reading materials and favorite words was truly so heartwarming. Their current chapters left a little to be desired for me though. It just felt too fast and I understand they’d been building towards it for years, but the years long gap made it felt like they needed more? And while I loved their childhood friendship and we don’t see every moment they spent together it did feel surface level at times, like they needed more depth.
The real star of the this book for me though was Duncan. I loved that his wife left this list on how to raise their daughter without her that he dutifully followed. He tried so damn hard to do everything right and be there for her. While quiet and not the best with words, you never doubted his love for his daughter or how willing he was to do right by her.
While I definitely cried I also laughed and internally cringed at a few of those awkward teen moments. I thought overall it was a beautiful story about love and loss.