Book Review: How Hard Can Love Be


by Holly Bourne

Amber, Evie and Lottie: three girls facing down tough issues with the combined powers of friendship, feminism and cheesy snacks. Both hilarious and heart-rending, this is Amber’s story of how painful – and exhilarating – love can be, following on from Evie’s story in Am I Normal Yet?

All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even before she moved to California, got remarried and had a personality transplant. But Amber’s hoping that spending the summer with her can change all that.

And then there’s prom king Kyle, the guy all the girls want. Can he really be interested in anti-cheerleader Amber? Even with best friends Evie and Lottie’s advice, there’s no escaping the fact: love is hard.

I thought this book was notoriously good. It very well depicted the lives of teenagers at their peak of discovering love, relationship, camaraderie, and trust. Amber, from the British Isles, flew across America to be with her mom. Amber is a so-called feminist, however, there’s a slight chance that she often contradicts herself. For someone who upholds the values of feminism, she’s quite an odd duck who has anger issues and attitude. 

There’s also her mother who was an alcoholic and left her to her dad and evil stepmother. Not that she was Cinderella, per se, but she found it hard to get along with other people – read American. At first, she was aloof with boys but soon found her footing around them, especially Kyle & Russ. She often rolled her eyes when Melody – the attention seeker- was around, and slut-shamed the poor girl, although I must admit Melody was a little irritating. Nevertheless, that was kinda rude and inappropriate of her, in my opinion. But so far, she found another new friend, Whinnie who’s so sweet, adorable, feisty, and passionate. And yeah, she did resemble the perky Winnie The Pooh kiddie character.

“Be you. It’s all you can ever be anyway. But own being you. It’s a fab thing to own.” ― Holly Bourne, How Hard Can Love Be?

In the latter part of the story, I liked how Amber became strong and appreciative of other people as she stayed in camp. Relationship-wise, she was scared that she could get hurt but she needed to do what made her happy. Her mother needed a slap across the face to wake up and realize that her daughter was reaching out to her. I liked how Amber finally told her mother everything she kept to herself after all these past years. There might have been a second when I felt sorry for her mom, but given her abandonment and uncaring issues in the past, I thought Amber was right about her. 

“Failure is never getting hurt. Because that means you’ve not done anything you cared about.”
― Holly Bourne

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