Genre: Young-Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Knopf Books
Majorly unpopular opinion ahead!
From what I’ve heard, it seems that everyone and their mother is in love with this book. It’s so bad (or good; for the book) that while reading, I was constantly wondering if I was somehow reading the wrong book, or maybe just not reading it the right way. I even took a little break to watch some vlogbrothers videos (recent obsession) hoping that they would put me in a good mood and I’d start liking the novel.
The good mood thing worked. But did I start to like the book? Check the rating I’ve given.
I just couldn’t, for the life of me, get over how stupid it was. The protagonist, Rachel, was leaving town with her family. Before she left, she confessed her feelings to her best friend in a letter that she left in his favourite book. For the next few months, Henry wrote her tons of emails and letters, all of which she basically ignored because he didn’t mention Rachel’s letter and what she wrote. She didn’t ask him about the letter herself, just ignored him. And in three years, never once did it occur to her that maybe he didn’t get the fucking letter!
And now that she’s come back (three years later), she’s still mad at him while also trying to cope with the death her brother which occurred ten months ago. Henry just got dumped by his bitch of a girlfriend so he’s very busy pining after her. In all that, the only interesting subplot is that Henry’s family owns a used book store which, due to lack of profits, they might have to sell. Both Henry and Rachel work at the store.
There’s another subplot with Henry’s sister and an anonymous guy she exchanges letters with via the Letter Library in the book store. They’re supposedly falling in love via the letters and there’s this other guy who likes her but she treats him horribly because of the letter dude. With all these storylines, the grieving, the misunderstanding, the romance, the other romance, the two love-triangles, and the store, it’s no wonder that the author didn’t manage to give any of them the attention they needed. It’s a huge mess that I couldn’t wait to be done with.
Also, Henry is a complete and utter moron. From the start of his relationship with Amy (the ex), she only ever came to him when she didn’t have some “better” guy to go to. Then she dumped him and immediately hooked up with someone else. She also humiliated him and never once showed that she cared about him.
It was like (and I can’t not make this comparison) Pip and Estella. Except that Pip had a deeper reason for wanting Estella whereas Henry was just a moron who would not get it. I wanted to hit him on the head. With a brick.
But moving on from the stupid plot and the stupider characters, I didn’t like the writing. There were a few quotable lines which made me think that it was good but the prose had little emotion and next to no imagery. I couldn’t picture anything playing out in my head, nor did I feel a connection to anyone so the entire plot with Rachel’s brother was wasted on me because I couldn’t bring myself to care about either of them; and that’s if it had been done well, which I didn’t think it was.
Overall, hugely disappointed with this novel. It wasn’t even one I was planning to read, not until I saw the rave reviews. If there was one thing I liked, it was the letters that were sprinkled throughout the novel. And like I said, a few quotable lines were there. But other than that, I’m just glad it’s over. Do not recommend.
P.S. It was also very, very predictable.