book reviews · colleen hoover · new adult · ugly love · ya · young adult

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

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“Ugly love becomes you. Consumes you. Makes you hate it all. Makes you realize that all the beautiful parts aren’t even worth it. Without the beautiful, you’ll never risk feeling the ugly. So you give it all up. You give it all up. You never want love again, no matter what kind it is, because no type of love will ever be worth living through the ugly love again.”

Ugly Love is just as its title suggests: it is an ugly story about two irrecoverably different people who have nothing in common aside from an aversion to relationships. At times, this book was difficult to read and I was full sobbing for the last quarter.

Tate is a registered nurse who is completely dedicated to furthering her education. Miles is an airline pilot who is still suffering from a horrific experience as a teenager, and avoids any opportunity to fall in love again. When they meet, Tate and Miles clash and fight, but they can’t deny an intense physical attraction to one another. Neither can afford to fall in love but they realise they have the perfect setup: sex only. This could be a great arrangement, but Tate can’t stick to the two simple rules Miles has for her: never ask about his past and don’t expect a future.

I didn’t know what to expect when I began reading this novel. To be honest, the premise sounds like it was inspired by 50 Shades of Grey and that’s what I began to expect from it. I assumed there would be an over-abundant amount of sex scenes with only minimal character development. This being a Colleen Hoover novel, I should have known better.

The novel focused on Tate and Miles’ perspectives; Tate for the present and Miles from six years earlier. I really enjoyed this set up as it opened my eyes to Miles’ true personality and I don’t believe that would have worked as well from just Tate’s perspective. Miles’ character development was approached in such a mature and stable manner. I am honestly floored by Hoover’s writing ability. We see Miles grow from an affectionate, sweet teenage boy who only wishes to bring happiness to those he loves, into a joyless, hardened man who never tries to cultivate relationships with others.

“Love isn’t always pretty, Tate. Sometimes you spend all your time hoping it’ll eventually be something different. Something better. Then, before you know it, you’re back to square one, and you lost your heart somewhere along the way.”

The characters were so incredibly realistic it felt as though they were sitting right in front of me. Tate was quite naïve, but very strong and determined. She could be sassy and rude, and while this annoyed me at times, it was still fantastic to see because she was real. There are so many authors out there who try hard to make their female protagonists likeable. I felt this was a great change of pace – we don’t always have to like the protagonist, but they do need to be interesting and that was definitely the case here. However, her older brother, Corbin, got on my nerves and his personality got dry very quickly. His over-protectiveness was realistic, but still angered me. He continually threatened people if they so much as looked at his sister, despite the fact that Tate could clearly look after herself. At the beginning, his personality was tolerable, but as the novel progressed, I was tempted to skip the pages that featured Corbin.

The relationship between Tate and Miles was a central part of the novel, very complicated but fascinating and it spurred me to read on. There were a lot of sex scenes spread throughout the text, but they were not overwhelming. Those scenes, while steamy, were also imbued with emotional and passionate tension. When Miles and Tate conversed before and after such scenes, it occurred naturally and effortlessly – you could practically feel the romance between the two developing right in front of you.

I thought I knew where this story was going and, while I correctly guessed a few plotlines, I was so wrong about the rest. It had the markings of a cliché romance: girl and boy hate each other, fall in love, but something is keeping them apart until they find a way to be together permanently. And while those clichés framed the foundation of the story, the novel was about so much more too. When the climax hit, I was not prepared for it at all. I did not see, nor expect, such a heartbreaking and devastating thing to occur. I thought this story was about Tate, but it was Miles’ story through and through. Reading the final few chapters of Ugly Love made me an emotional mess. I thought this novel was going to be a fun, sex-filled read, but it was a beautiful, tragic romance.

“That’s how it is when a person develops an attraction toward someone. He’s nowhere, then suddenly, he’s everywhere, whether you want him to be or not.”

The writing was, at times, over-the-top, but mainly lovely. Tate’s perspective was to be expected – she is a twenty-something woman and it definitely read like that, which I enjoyed. However, Miles’ perspective followed a strange, poetic style where the format of the text was in the centre of the page, and most of the sentences were on individual lines as opposed to being organised in paragraphs. I really enjoyed this at the beginning of the novel, but as the book progressed, it got quite old and felt dramatic. Miles also droned on and on about a girl he fell in love with as a teenager and, as a result, I was starting to hate the name ‘Rachel’ due to how over-used it was (and that’s quite unfortunate because it is also my sister’s name).

Despite a few annoyances on my part, the novel was beautifully developed and truly wonderful to experience. Everything comes together and no plotline is left unanswered. If you are looking for a novel to make you cry buckets of tears, pick up Ugly Love as soon as you get the chance.

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4 stars
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