Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Review: But I Love Him by Amanda Grace

Publisher: Flux
Format: Paperback
Released: June 1st, 2011
Rating: 6/10

Amazon summary:

Tonight was so much worse than anything before it. Tonight he didn't stop after the first slap. At the beginning of senior year, Ann was a smiling, straight - A student and track star with friends and a future. Then she met a haunted young man named Connor. Only she can heal his emotional scars; only he could make her feel so loved-and needed. Ann can't recall the pivotal moment it all changed, when she surrendered everything to be with him, but by graduation, her life has become a dangerous high wire act. Just one mistake could trigger Connor's rage, a senseless storm of cruel words and violence damaging everything-and everyone-in its path. This evocative slideshow of flashbacks reveals a heartbreaking story of love gone terribly wrong.


But I Love Him is the second Amanda Grace book I've read, along with the upcoming The Truth About You and Me. This one focuses on a topic equally as serious and hard-hitting, that of domestic violence. It is by no means an easy read, especially because the story starts at the end, but it's a powerful one that stays in your mind even after finishing it.

But I Love Him isn't told chronologically, rather we get snapshots of a year-long relationship that goes horribly wrong. We start at the end, the year mark, and progress backwards. Ann and Connor are the main protagonists, completely in love and devoted to each other. Connor has a history of domestic violence in his family which stems from his father, who also seems to have passed it on to his son. Ann thinks it's something that can be worked through and overcome but, as with a lot of cases like this, she begins to notice cracks in the relationship which ultimately lead to a turning point.

This is such a serious, mature topic, one that I don't think we see a lot in YA. Amanda Grace writes with such emotion and honesty that at times it's difficult to remember that this particular story is only fiction. I had to remind myself of that a few times. Ann's blindness to what's going on is frustrating at times, but I've never found myself in that position so I can't comment on the process of denial that real-life abuse victims face.

While I think this book is important and very well written, it didn't grab me like I expected it to. I found the characters to be a bit flat; I can't say I particularly liked either of them, and I certainly didn't understand some of their choices. I would however recommend to any and all readers of young adult fiction, because I think it's a story that needs to be told and one that should be widely read. It's not the best book I've read by Amanda Grace, but I still love her work and I think she's doing a great job tackling harder, more taboo subjects.
But I Love Him

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